The international Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) industry accounted for a significant proportion of the winning parts in the Metal Powder Industry Federation’s (MPIF) 2018 Powder Metallurgy Design Excellence Awards competition.
The winners were announced during POWDERMET2018 International Conference on Powder Metallurgy and Particulate Materials, San Antonio, Texas, USA, June 17-20, 2018.
The parts showcase the ability of MIM to deliver complex, high-performance and cost-saving solutions for end-users in a diverse range of end-user sectors, from automotive and aerospace, to medical devices and firearms.
Aerospace/Military/Firearms: Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd.
The Grand Prize in the Aerospace/Military/Firearms Category was won by Indo-MIM Pvt. Ltd., India, for three MIM stainless steel parts: a rear insert, a slide stop and a trigger lever.
Together, the three parts form an assembly that goes into the P10 9 mm pistol. All three parts have extremely complex geometries that would be extremely difficult to achieve by machining.
Hardware/Appliance: AMT Pte, Ltd
The Grand Prize in the Hardware/Appliance Category went to AMT Pte, Ltd, Singapore, for a MIM stainless steel EPR flow block single sensor. The component, part of the specimen inlet module of gas chromatography analytical equipment, includes two dedicated internal channels to manage gas in and out of the five ports without permitting leakages.
Forming these 90-degree internal channels required the use of a hydraulic core-pull slider system. By integrating multiple, formerly cast- and-machined parts into one MIM component, the complex geometry proved challenging for tool design as well as for the MIM process. The sensor is processed close to net-shape, with the tapping of threads in the pre-formed holes being the only secondary operation performed.
Medical/Dental: ARC Group Worldwide
The Grand Prize in the Medical/Dental Category was awarded to ARC Group Worldwide for a MIM 17-4 PH size 5 cutting block made for Smith & Nephew. The block goes into the recently launched Visionaire FastPak Single Use Instruments used in knee-replacement surgery. The extreme complexity created by the overall size of the component, which weighs in at nearly 450 g (1 lb), combined with non-uniform wall thicknesses and the need for stress mitigation for finished machining operations, makes this a highly challenging part to process via MIM. The MIM component is estimated to save 60% in cost over traditional manufacturing methods.
Electronic/Electrical: ARC Group Worldwide
The Grand Prize in the Electronic/Electrical Category went to ARC Group Worldwide for a MIM stainless steel shaft grounding guide section made for Cutsforth, Inc. The guide section is part of the customer’s Shaft Grounding System used in brush excitation maintenance on turbine generators in the nuclear, gas, coal, wind and hydro industries.
Although the part design has many undercuts due to the nature of the sliding track features, its design still allows for a two-plate mould without any slides. By controlling features such as gate location, fill time, hold pressure and barrel temperature, the MIM process was optimised to produce aesthetically pleasing near net-shape components.