Metal injection moulding in Europe: ten facts that you need to know
Feature article: PIM International, Vol.1 No. 2 June 2007, pages 23-28, 3582 words
Deputy Director, Fraunhofer IFAM, Wiener Str. 12, 28359 Bremen, Germany
Dr Frank Petzoldt reports that Europe has a strong and dynamic MIM industry. Through ten key points he takes you on a tour that will leave you with a clear understanding of the history and outlook for a region that accounts for around 30% of world MIM sales.
The history of MIM in Europe spans more than 25 years. The first MIM parts producer started business in Germany with the mass production of dental brackets in the 1980’s. MIM technology in Europe has greatly matured since these early days and its acceptance by end-users is constantly growing. Today MIM parts producers can be found throughout Europe. Most of these companies have a background in metallurgy and some of the larger MIM producers were originally traditional powder metallurgy (PM) companies. Others have parallel investment casting production lines whilst some smaller companies are purely dedicated to MIM. Until recently only a few plastic injection moulding companies in Europe have started MIM production.
Although the total MIM market is still small in comparison to conventional PM the MIM industry in Europe has enjoyed healthy growth in recent years.
Fact 1: The MIM industry in Europe has enjoyed double digit growth over the last five years
Until recently the MIM industry in Europe was rather secretive with information on turnover and other business related data. Neutral organisations such as the European Powder Metallurgy Association (EPMA) and national trade associations in Europe collect this type of information for traditional PM on a quarterly basis. Unfortunately they are not in the position to collect reliable market data for MIM in Europe because there is currently insufficient support from MIM companies. The information therefore given in this feature is based on our own market studies and the views of other individuals in the European MIM industry.
In Table 1 the number of companies producing MIM components, either as suppliers of parts to third party customers or for in-house use, is shown by country. The total number of MIM parts producers in Europe is between 50 and 60. It is clear that there is a focal point in .....
Further sections of this article include:
- Fact 2: Nearly 80% of MIM parts producers rate the business situation in 2007 as very positive - Fact 3: A major challenge for the European parts producers is global price competition
- Fact 4: European equipment and feedstock suppliers are in a leading position in the global market
- Fact 5: The growth of European MIM parts producers is based on automotive components, medical applications and consumer goods
- Fact 6: There is a growing interest amongst European MIM companies to exchange information
- Fact 7: Europe has strong R and D activities
- Fact 8: There is an increasing end-user awareness of MIM technology in Europe
- Fact 9: There are new obligations under European chemical policy REACH
- Fact 10: European producers are continuously widening the scope of MIM
Figures and Tables:
Fig. 1 Applications for MIM parts in Europe
Fig. 2 Breakdown of MIM materials in Europe
Fig. 3 European MIM companies business outlook
Fig. 4 Rocker arm shown in the BMW engine (Courtesy: Schunk/BMW)
Fig. 5 The housing of a long-term implant port system for drug administration showing different surface treatments (Courtesy: TiJet)
Fig. 6 Spring hinge from a glasses frame for TAGHeuer (Courtesy: OBE Ohnmacht & Baumgärtner GmbH & Co. KG)
Fig. 7 New diamond bead with a double bulge profile (Courtesy: MIMITALIA)
Fig. 8 Market and Technology development (Courtesy: MIMITALIA)
For a detailed report of the global powder metallurgy industry please view the IPMD Global Market Review. The 13 page report reviews key statistics in regional and global shipments relating to ferrous and non-ferrous PM products, hardmetals, diamond tools, and powder-based magnets. Additionally, two special insets review PM’s special relationship with the automotive industry and the accelerating global growth in the powder injection moulding sector. ____________________________________