Powder injection moulding (PIM) has been identified as one of the top growth technologies in which Austria is seeking to gain a leading position, and the Lower Austrian Government has funded the establishment of a ‘virtual company’ called the ‘Austrian PIM Group’ (APG) as a vehicle for marketing and promoting PIM technology, and aims to provide a technology platform not only in Austria but also to the wider world.
The outlined objectives of the APG are to develop the required base to be able to support potential end-users to assess the suitability of PIM for specific applications through feasibility studies.
A number of specialised partners representing PIM (metal and ceramic parts) producers, feedstock suppliers, injection moulding machine manufacture, and research centres now make up the network in APG. End-user clients can therefore call upon support for all or only some of the stages necessary for assessing the feasibility of PIM parts for specific applications.
It has been stated that the first step in achieving the network’s objectives is to build prototypes of test parts in cooperation with the Austrian-based research centres. The first PIM parts were injection moulded at the Wiener Neustadt (Fotec) technical college, and were debinderised and sintered at the Powder Technology Centre at Austrian Research Centre Seibersdorf (see March 2007 issue PIM International, page 6).
From this success APG can now offer end-users a complete prototyping production from rapid tooling to the sintered PIM part including quality control. One example is the contract to develop PIM parts for the leading lock system manufacturer EVVA. APG was able to produce dimensionally stable prototypes at very short notice (four weeks after placement of order), and three different parts of a bold lock were produced (Figs. 1-3).
Other examples include the cooperation of moulding machine manufacturer – Battenfeld – with other APG partners Montan University Leoben, Austrian Research Centre Seibersdorf, and Fotec GmbH to produce prototype PIM parts such as a rotary grinder with internal cooling channels and high precision micro parts. A highly sophisticated PIM copper computer chip cooling device was also developed and patented by Fotec GmbH.
Austrian PIM Group Partners
- ARC Seibersdorf Research GmbH Materials Research
- Battenfeld Kunststoffmaschinen Ges.m.b.H.
- Böhlerstahl Vertriebsges.m.b.
- Ernst Wittner GesmbH
- Fiel Handels GesmbH
- FOTEC Forschungs und Technologietransfer GmbH
- Fuchs Joh and Sohn Ges m.b.H FUSO
- Gabriel-Chemie GesmbH
- Ing. Gerhard Fildan GesmbH
- LKT-TGM Laboratorium f. Kunststofftechnik GesmbH
- Miraplast Kunststoffverarbeitungs Ges.m.b.H.
- Montanuniversitat Leoben,
- Rath Aktiengesellschaft
- UddeholmWerkzeug- Formenbau und Kunststoffproduktions GesmbH
Further information available from: [email protected]