MIM VS Machining

Metal Injection Molding VS. Machining

 

Machining is a process of changing the shape or performance of the parts (such as machining centers, lathes, etc.). it commonly be divided into cutting processing and pressure processing.

MIM Metal Injection Molding is a new process combining powder metallurgy technology and plastic injection molding technology. For mass production of precision, complex metal parts and some metals that cannot be produced by die casting (such as stainless steel and other low alloy steels)

Commonalities and Differences From MIM to Machining

MIM parts and machining parts are widely used in arms, aerospace, machinery manufacturing, medical and other industries. However, the MIM process offers many advantages for machining unsolvable precision components. Especially if the parts are likely to be smaller and require more maneuverability. Material selection, geometric design, purchase quantities, tolerances, and tooling costs are all important factors in the decision-making process.

Material

MIM materials are processed under high temperatures and pressure, which can efficiently mass-produce small, precise, and high-performance parts. It can ensure that MIM parts have good mechanical properties, excellent strength, and ductility. Can be customized according to the customer’s material composition. Such as low alloy steel, carbon steel, stainless steel, nickel alloy, tool steel, tungsten alloy, titanium alloy, etc. Especially for surgical instruments, artificial joints, cardiac pacemakers, etc.

Unique geometry

Many unique geometric shapes can be designed for MIM parts, and even several related parts can be designed into a complex part. Machining is often difficult to machine complex components. Also, as a component becomes more complex, the more machining time it takes to manufacture it, the more expensive the machining.

Quantity of parts

MIM is a high-quantity manufacturing product, especially a product with an annual purchase quantity greater than 50,000 pcs. Since the Machining process time is fixed, theoretically, from 5,000 pcs to 10,000 pcs, processing equipment needs to be doubled. But for the powder metallurgy process, it is only to increase the injection time of the product, increase the number of caves in the mold, and sinter several times. Therefore the quantity is larger because it can be machined at a much lower cost than comparable machined parts.

Tolerance 

The tolerance in the case of MIM +/-0.3% (ie 1.000” +/-.003”). And these tolerances increase in proportion to the size of the features. Machining tolerances can be as low as +/-0.005, with capabilities as low as +/-0.001. As a result, CNC machines can produce fewer error-prone parts.

Mold Cost

The need for MIM parts is based on mold production. This means that there must be an upfront cost of tooling production, but this cost can be quickly recouped when amortized for high-volume production. Therefore, it is recommended that products with a quantity of less than 5000 pcs, be machined. Of course, it should be considered according to the actual product structure and processing cost.

Therefore, the MIM process is very suitable for the production of products that meet the following requirements:

  1. Unique geometry;
  2. Large purchase volume;
  3. Miniaturized products;
  4. High precision;
  5. Stable product quality.

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Tags   Metal Injection Molding  |  MIM Materials  | Design

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