Market leader Indo-US MIM relies on Wittmann Battenfeld for metal injection molding
The PIM process (powder injection molding) is used to produce complex geometries with high dimensional accuracy in large quantities and at low cost. With its special advantages of high precision and repeatability, this process is optimally suited for cost-efficient mass production.
Description of the process
Metal injection molding (MIM) is one of two powder injection molding (PIM)applications. The other is ceramic injection molding (CIM).
With the benefits of injection molding, a process proven in plastics processing for many decades, the advantage of powder injection molding over mechanical forming processes lies in the fact that additional complexity of the manufactured parts does not cause any additional costs.
It allows the implementation of an efficient manufacturing process with excellent tolerances for large quantities and/or technically advanced, complex parts (including micro parts).
Although the shrinkage in powder injection molding is about 15 - 20 % (depending on the binder content and the grit size distribution of the powder), it is still possible to produce high-precision filigree parts thanks to the high repeatability of this process.
Molds for the production of "PIM parts" must be manufactured according to special design guidelines and from wear-resistant tool steel.
This allows the production of highly integrated molded components, which, in turn, contributes to minimizing the overall costs. This process even has the edge over precision casting in meeting the rising demand for complexity, large quantities and high quality standards, together with falling prices.
How the process works
The entire process consists of four steps:The first step is blending the powder with a binder to obtain the "feedstock". The powder content is normally the maximum possible or close to the maximum, i.e.about 60 % of the total volume. Some parameters such as shrinkage can be influenced by varying the powder and the binder. Ready-mixed feedstocks are commercially available.
The second step is the production of molded parts on an injection molding machine, a process similar to injection molding of thermoplastic materials. The resulting parts are so-called "green parts".
The third step is removal of the binder - normally by a thermal or chemo catalytic process - to obtain the so-called "brown parts".
The "brown parts" are then sintered to produce the finished components.
Indo-US MIM, the market leader in PIM Indo-US MIM is one of the leading manufacturers of metal injection molding applications, specializing in the production of highly complex precision parts. Its main customer base is in the automotive, aviation, telecommunication and medical technology industries.
With sales and service subsidiaries in Europe, America and Asia, Indo-US MIM offers worldwide customer support, from product design and construction to comprehensive after-sales service.
With more than 25.000 m² of production floor, Indo-US MIM has the largest and most modern metal injection molding facility worldwide. Its R&D department develops about 200 injection-molded parts every year.
A vital success factor for Indo-US MIM is its modern equipment, consisting of more than 40 injection molding machines from Wittmann Battenfeld's hydraulic HM series.
Indo-US MIM operates machinery with clamping forces ranging from 80 to 100 tons.Due to the company's rapid growth, about 10 new machines are added each year.
Equipment package for PIM injection molding machines
Wittmann Battenfeld supplies customized plasticizing systems and screws for powder injection molding and other special applications.
Due to the special attributes of the feedstock used, the machines are fitted with the following special equipment:
- Barrels and screws made of highly wear-resistant materials. The material specification depends on the type of powder to be processed. A set of barrel and screw made of hard metal is necessary for processing hard metal powders.
- Optimized screw geometry for processing metallic and ceramic compounds
- High injection speed for extra dimensional accuracy in forming the part geometry
- Temperature-controlled feed zone
- Special hopper
- Special ejector function with open safety gate
- SPC quality monitoring
- Customized automation as required
Depending on the application, there are other options available in addition to the basic PIM equipment package, which allow the preparation of appropriate machine specifications for any conceivable application.
Wittmann Battenfeld - the pioneer
The particularly outstanding features of the hydraulic machine series from Wittmann Battenfeld are their modular diversity, ultimate precision and extensive range of options. Thanks to their compact design, the machines from the HM series are extremely short with a reduced overall footprint.
Wittmann Battenfeld offers its customers competent access to PIM technology.Through cooperation with expert partners, Battenfeld is in a position to support its customers from counseling to pilot-run production.
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