All eyes on Non-Automotive: GKN Sinter Metals explores the wider opportunities for MIM
Feature article: PIM International, Vol.4 No.3 September 2010, pages 45-49, 2332 words
The term ‘non-automotive’ remains a closed book for many of the world’s larger MIM producers, particularly those located in Europe where the automotive industry was quick to embrace MIM technology. GKN Sinter Metals is one such producer that is now re-evaluating the potential of the non-automotive market. In the following report, the company presents an insight into the opportunities ahead and explains, based on its own experiences, what it believes is important when dealing with non-automotive customers.
GKN PLC is one of the most well known technology suppliers to the global automotive industry and the group’s PM division, GKN Sinter Metals, is one of the industry’s largest producers. Within GKN Sinter Metals, the Bad Langensalza plant in Germany is one of the highest capacity MIM operations in the world.
Although Bad Langensalza was originally established in 1967 as a producer of press and sintered components for the East German typewriter industry, the business has in recent decades been dominated by the automotive industry.
The term ‘non-automotive’ has, therefore, only gradually become adopted to define a specific part of the MIM business at GKN Sinter Metals, and it is a description that market participants themselves introduced as a simple way of identifying all products that are not directly related to the automotive industry. This sector includes, of course, innumerable sub-markets, since there are many more opportunities for applications of MIM products outside the automotive industry than there are inside.....
Further sections of this article include:
- Non-automotive markets need new ideas to develop further
- Medical technology: A market segment with a bright future
- A typical customer discovering MIM technology
- Otto Bock Health Care GmbH
- The story of GKN Sinter Metals GmbH
Figures and Tables:
Fig. 1 Regional distribution of MIM market segments as seen by GKN Sinter Metals
Fig. 2 New artificial limb "3R93" by Otto Bock with integrated brake and blocking function
Fig. 3 Detail of 3R93, a prosthetic knee joint
Fig. 4 Stretching unit with twin connecting plate
Fig. 5 GKN Sinter Metals MIM parts for Otto Bocks prosthetic knee joint (blocking plate, blocking hook and twin connecting plate)
Fig. 6 Otto Bock Health Care GmbH is a global market leader in the manufacture of solutions that restore patient mobility and protect the mobility functions they have retained
Fig. 7 A view of GKN’s Bad Lagensalza MIM facility showing continuous debinding and sintering furnaces
Fig. 8 Dr.-Ing. Rainer Link, GKN Sinter Metals, Senior Vice President, Engineering, Sales & Marketing