Injection molding machine manufacturer Engel Austria GmbH, Schwertberg, Austria, and the technology company Heraeus, Hanau, Germany, have partnered on the production and processing of amorphous metals by injection moulding. Heraeus reports that it has developed a new range of amorphous metal alloys under the name ‘Amloy’, and is using an Engel injection moulding machine to process them.
By injection moulding amorphous metals, cycle times are said to have been reduced by up to 70%, making possible the fully automated large series production of finished products with characteristics not previously achievable. As a result, the companies stated that amorphous metal parts could see application in new fields such as the automotive, aerospace, medical technology, industry, lifestyle and electronics sectors.
In contrast to pure metals and conventional alloys, amorphous metals are characterised by an irregular, non-crystalline structure. This makes them both extremely hard and highly elastic. They are also exceptionally resilient, corrosion-resistant and biocompatible according to ISO 10993-5.
Heraeus’s new Amloy product range consists of zirconium-based alloys and copper-based materials, with the use of copper allowing for low unit prices and a broad spectrum of potential applications. The company stated that it is currently developing Amloy alloys based on titanium, iron and platinum.
Engel stated that it has developed a new hydraulic injection molding machine specifically for the processing of Amloy. Especially in terms of the injection process, this machine is said to differ from a conventional injection moulding machine for plastic or MIM processing.
A special focus of its development was on the even heating of the Amloy blanks. Depending on size and geometry, in a single work step, one or more ready-to-use parts with a very high surface quality is produced within 60–120 seconds, with no manual post-processing required.
The companies believe that this makes the injection moulding of Amloy superior to both conventional Metal Injection Moulding and CNC machining. The material composition and the fully automated production process from melting to the dynamically regulated injection procedure result not only in significantly reduced cycle times, but also reduce the required heating power by 40–60%, making injection moulding with amorphous metals more cost efficient.
Amloy alloys are said to be particularly suitable for precision components subject to heavy mechanical use, and for very high-quality decorative elements in the automotive, aerospace, medical technology, industry, lifestyle and electronics sectors.
In these applications, they can be used as a substitute for steel, titanium or technical plastics, which are chromium-plated in an additional work step after injection moulding. All Amloy materials and the injection moulding machines are offered free of licenses.