MOLDING - MIM
ALTERNATIVE TO HIGH VOLUME CNC MACHINING
METAL INJECTION MOLDING AT ASH
MIM works similarly to the plastic injection molding process but instead of plastic pellets we use finely ground metal powders, typically ranging from 5 to 50 micrometers in size.
We then add a non-metallic additive to help the powder blend flow smoothly and hold it's shape during mold filling. The binder choice is crucial for maintaining good detail resolution and preventing shrinkage during sintering.
The green part is placed in a high-temperature furnace (typically above 1400°C) for sintering. This process bonds the metal particles together, transforming the part into a solid, dense metal object. During sintering, the binder completely burns off, and the metal particles shrink slightly. We accurately predict shrinkage with advanced software to factor it into the initial mold design to achieve the final net dimensions.
The end result is a metal part that competes with a machined part.
IF YOU'RE MACHINING YOUR SMALL COMPLEX PARTS...
THINK ABOUT THIS.
MIM VS MACHINING
COMPLEXITY OF THE PART
Each CNC part that is machined has some limitations that cost you money to overcome. CNC struggles with highly intricate details and thin walls, which are easily achievable with MIM.
Machining makes chips. Machining generates significant material waste during the machining process, especially for complex shapes. MIM uses just the amount needed to fill the mold.
Production time can be time-consuming, especially for intricate parts or large batches and machining requires skilled operators and expertise in programming and machine operation.
METAL INJECTION MOLDING REMOVES ALL THE ABOVE COST
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IF YOU EVER BUY CNC MACHINED PARTS...watch
ARE your CNC machined metal parts expensive?
Here is a way to make PRODUCTION VOLUME complex geometries without machining.
ASH Industries is a specialist in Metal Injection Molding (MIM), sometimes called Powdered Injection Molding (PIM). MIM uses injection molding equipment for manufacturing both simple and complex metal parts to tight tolerances in various metals from stainless steel and titanium to alloys. MIM is ideal for high-volume mass production, offering cost-effectiveness and consistency. A real timesaver vs CNC machining each part individually.
While MIM is very economical for long-run production of metal parts, especially those that are smaller in size and more detailed in terms of properties, We have found a way to make MIM affordable for short run parts also. It's called SUPERMOLD.
DESIGNING FOR MANUFACTURING
Designing for Manufacturing (DFM) in plastic injection molding optimizes efficiency by minimizing material waste and simplifying part geometries which can lower tooling costs and ensure product quality.
Collaboration between design engineers and manufacturing experts addresses material selection and regulatory compliance, guaranteeing successful outcomes in plastic injection molding.
Our skilled toolmakers use computer-aided design (CAD) to develop the mold's intricate details, including parting lines, gating, and cooling channels.
The quality and precision of the mold directly impact the final product's consistency, efficiency, and overall manufacturing success.
See below to learn more about the mold building process...
We work closely with you to select your part's material based on the specific requirements of the project.
Considerations include: Mechanical Properties, Thermal Properties, Chemical resistance, Functionality, Appearance, Regulatory Compliance & more...
Prototyping and testing are then conducted to validate material choices and ensure that the final product meets performance expectations.
INSERT + OVERMOLDING
Insert molding and overmolding are specialized plastic injection molding techniques that involve molding additional components or materials onto or around an existing substrate.
Common applications of insert molding include adding metal inserts for increased strength or incorporating electronic components, such as connectors or sensors, directly into a plastic part.
THE ADVANTAGES OF METAL INJECTION MOLDING
Best for small parts, typically those that weigh between 0.1 and 250 grams
Able to create fully dense or near fully dense metal parts
Cost-effective for medium to high production volumes
Allows for the production of intricate and complex metal parts
MIM opens your mind
If you're satisfied with the design freedom you get from plastic injection molding but want metal parts, think MIM.
MIM excels at creating highly complex and detailed parts with thin walls and delicate features. It's particularly beneficial for parts that are too small or too detailed to machine out of bar stock. This makes it ideal for applications where traditional metalworking methods like casting or machining struggle, such as medical instruments, watch components, or intricate automotive parts.
With MIM, cross holes, angle holes, splines, undercuts, side holes and grooves are all possible. Additionally, with MIM, you can create whole parts that would often have to be created separately and assembled in post-production.
SUPERIOR DIMENSIONAL CONSISTENCY
MIM parts have exceptional dimensional accuracy and repeatability, thanks to the precision molds and controlled sintering process. This eliminates the need for post-processing adjustments and ensures consistent quality in high-volume production.
LESS SCRAP METAL
MIM produces near-net-shape parts with minimal material waste. This translates to cost savings and reduced environmental impact for high-volume production compared to methods generating significant scrap material.
Sintered metal parts produced by MIM are strong and durable, offering excellent wear resistance and mechanical properties that meet demanding engineering requirements. This makes them suitable for applications where structural integrity and reliability are crucial.
Same mold - different metals
MIM offers flexibility in material selection with a diverse range of metal powders available. This allows you to choose the ideal properties for your part, such as stainless steel for corrosion resistance, titanium for lightness, or alloys with specific mechanical characteristics
MIM can be a very cost-effective injection molding process, but only if the right number of parts are needed (not to mention if parts are the right size, as noted in the above point). Typically, the cost benefits are most noticeable and most worth when part runs are between 10,000 and 20,000. Anything fewer than 10,000 and the potential cost savings from using MIM might not be evident at all.
MIM is able to create fully dense or near fully dense metal parts when the process is complete, if the process is carried out correctly. It's particularly beneficial for parts that are too small or too detailed to machine out of bar stock. For comparison's sake, it's estimated that the part density is 98 percent via MIM, compared to 100 percent via conventional machining processes.