IFAM develops miniature Metal Injection Moulded (MIM) bone implants

November 7, 2007

000434Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Materials Research IFAM in Bremen, northern Germany, have succeeded in developing a miniature MIM demonstration part weighing only 5.4 milligrams and having a wall thickness of only 0.3mm. The demonstration part is a stirrup – a small bone in the human ear – and by using MIM this delicate bone structure can be replicated for tiny implants using very fine titanium powder.

Until now, the production of tiny metal parts using techniques such as etching or milling has been a very complex and time-consuming process, and not suitable for many types of metal. With micro-MIM, however, the researchers have been able to combine and shape different small, delicate components out of biocompatible materials such as titanium and titanium alloys.

“We are now ready to start series production with the micro-MIM process,” stated IFAM researcher Philipp Imgrund. “Using the stirrup as an example, we are demonstrating the limits and possibilities of the process and of the new materials.” The injection mould for the demonstrator was designed and built by Krämer Engineering in Rendsburg, Germany.

Further information www.ifam.fraunhofer.de

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