Metal Injection Moulding (MIM)

Metal injection moulding (MIM) is a competitive manufacturing process for small precision components to tight tolerances.MIM has a competitive edge over other manufacturing processes when components with complex geometries are required at high volume.

MIM is capable of producing in both large and small volumes, complex shapes from almost all types of materials including metals, ceramics, intermetallic compounds, and composites.

What is MIM

The basic principle of operation is that the metal powders are mixed with a binder material, typically polymers and wax, to form a feedstock.

The feedstock is processed as conventional plastic injection moulding (PIM), where it is heated up to a temperature high enough to make it melt and flow.

The molten feedstock is injected into a mould cavity under pressure, where the lower-temperature mould causes the feedstock to cool and freeze into the cavity shape. The shaped ‘green’ component is then ejected and thermally treated to remove the binder material, forming a ‘brown’ component.

Sintering is then used to densify the component into full density. The main advantage of MIM is the use of plastic injection moulding principles to form components with properties not possible from plastics.

MIM Applications

MIM applicable for a wide range of industrial applications, where the costs of other manufacturing routes, such as machining, becomes economically prohibitive.

MIM aerospace
MIM aerospace
Several MIM components have been made for aerospace applications, mostly for non-load-bearing components, such as levers, fasteners and rivets.

Advantages of MIM

The advantages of MIM have made it a choice for many applications across different industrial sectors. These include automotive, consumer products, industrial tools, medical equipment, firearms, portable electronics and aerospace.
  • Net-shape forming. MIM in general offers high material utilisation, where probably 97% of the powder is delivered in final components.
  • Suitable for small and complex components.
  • Applicable to several material functional classes.
  • Cost-effective for mass production relative to other net-shape techniques (typically between 5,000 up to 200,000 per year).
  • Repeatbility - MIM is a repeatable process for complex components made from high-temperature alloys.
  • Tight tolerances and good surface finish.
  • MIM parts are near fully dense, which provides excellent mechanical, magnetic, corrosion, and hermetic sealing properties, and allows secondary operations like plating, heat treating, and machining to be easily performed.
Warehouse - Righton Blackburns

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Righton Blackburns Powder Metals

Building 38,
Second Avenue,
The Pensnett Estate,
West Midlands, DY6 7UN
+44 (0)1384 276 400