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The MIM process is used by most of the industry including aerospace, medical, consumer electronics, automotive, hardware and firearms. It is 98% dense and can be made as tough as wrought iron.
Sensors and electronic components within vehicles require small parts with complex geometries and specialized materials. MIM allows for the use of strong metal alloys that can withstand high stresses, which are essential to vehicle safety.
Defense components have always been among the largest markets for metal injection molding, making up almost 30% of the overall MIM industry. This is largely due to the need for lightweight weapons that can be carried easily, with high-precision features that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional.
In general, MIM parts are able to achieve tight tolerances and high strength without the need for extensive post-processing. This allows gunmakers to save money on tooling, welding, and machining costs and still deliver the quality demanded by customers.
When compared to other processing methods, MIM can reduce cost by up to 50% per part. This makes it an attractive choice for large volume production. It’s also possible to use design freedom in the initial phases of development to reduce the number of components, thereby further reducing assembly cost. When selecting a MIM Parts supplier, look for one that uses US sourced and made powders to further lower the per part cost.
The MIM process produces parts that are resistant to corrosion, tough against fracture, and extremely durable. The process also makes parts that can withstand high fatigue loads and that are highly magnetic. However, the MIM process can’t make parts as tight as a machined/forged part can.
When a firearm manufacturer like Smith & Wesson chooses to make a part using MIM, it’s usually the result of a careful examination of all possible methods and materials. It’s a serious investment, and the company wouldn’t go through that expense if it weren’t certain that MIM would provide better performance than other processes.
MIM is a powder metallurgy process, which injects binder and metal powder into a mold or cavity to obtain the green part. Then the part is sintered with heat and pressure to bake off the binder and compact the metal into a solid mass without melting it. The MIM part can then be treated just like any other metal for annealing, plating, passivating, or nitriding.
Modern weapon systems are designed to be lightweight, powerful and multifunctional. They require components with high dimensional accuracy, and MIM parts are an excellent choice. MIM parts are also conductive, magnetic and strong, and they can withstand temperature far above the melting point of polymers.
MIM can be used for smaller, lighter parts, and it can eliminate the need for screws, soldering or welding. In addition, MIM allows for a combination of parts to reduce weight and cost. This can help aerospace designers meet their performance and reliability goals.
MIM is a metal injection molding process that uses heat and pressure to bake off the binder and compact the metallic powder into a solid mass without melting it. This solid hunk of metal is then injected into a mold to create a part. When working with a USA based MIM supplier, the per-part cost can be even lower. This is because of the supplier’s part and mold design experience.
Ease of Assembly
MIM parts are a good choice for military hardware and firearms because of their strength and ease of assembly. They can withstand harsh conditions, and they are more cost-effective than machining parts made of metal stock. MIM parts can also be produced to tight tolerances and with surface finishes that do not need polishing.
MIM is also very scalable from low to high volumes, from prototypes to millions of pieces per year. It can produce large and small, thin to thick walls, complex and simple geometries, and features like pockets and recesses.
The most common materials used for MIM include low and high alloy steels, soft magnetic materials and tungsten. These metals deliver value added strength, density and corrosion resistance.