Metal Injection For Healthier Car Components

April 01, 1999

Metallic components found in car gear boxes, sun roofs and handbrake mechanisms are stronger, more reliable and much cheaper to produce thanks to increasing use of metal injection moulding. This new technology is set to grow at a rate of 20-30% per year and will revolutionise the way metallic components are made by allowing manufacturers to easily produce complex shapes out of high strength and high performance metals and alloys.

The new technology involves injecting powdered metals mixed with thermoplastic binders and plasticisers into a mould. Once set the binder and plasticiser is removed and the component is sintered in a vacuum furnace. The component can then be treated or coated to improve the mechanical properties. The result is a high quality product that has much better strength and fatigue properties than traditionally forged or cast components that are much easier and cheaper to produce.

Dr Henri Cohrt, writing in Materials World says, "Metal injected moulded parts are finding use in an ever-increasing number of industries, ranging from office equipment to industrial machines, from medical appliances to household goods. The annual growth rate for Europe has been predicted at 20-30% - a figure that seems likely to be exceeded as industry becomes more aware of MIM."

Institute of Materials

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