ARC Group Worldwide also announced that its 3D Material Technologies division (3DMT) has increased capacity for its rapid Metal Injection Molding technology, known as RapidMIM. RapidMIM, which 3DMT launched in late 2013, dramatically reduces the lead time necessary to produce production quality Metal Injection Moulded (MIM) components from the typical six to eight week process to less than two weeks.
This shortened lead-time, stated the company, provides designers and engineers with the ability to validate form, fit and function prior to final design freeze. Notably, the compressed validation time also provides for additional design optimisation, thereby improving the final device performance and user experience. Further, by optimising the design for manufacturability, customers ultimately reduce final device cost.
The RapidMIM process is designed for short run volumes, providing customers with the ability to produce parts from the single digits into the thousands without requiring a tooling investment. “Our proprietary technology provides for the design flexibility and material choices available in MIM for low volume production projects that aren’t otherwise possible due to the cost of tooling,” stated Ashley Nichols, General Manager of 3DMT.
The RapidMIM process uses the same feedstock and materials as conventional MIM parts. Alloys available include low alloy steels, such as MIM-4605 and 4140, stainless steel alloys such as 17-4PH and 316L, and superalloys such as Inconel 718 and MAR-M-247. RapidMIM also utilises the same debinding and sintering processes, therefore mechanical properties and surface finishes are comparable to traditional MIM components.
“For higher production volumes, customers can also use RapidMIM to validate their design and process on an expedited time line. While launching production with RapidMIM, customers can complete MIM tooling in parallel, thereby enabling projects to move into full production in less than a month,” commented Nichols. “RapidMIM is a unique, efficient process that works symbiotically with the conventional MIM process offered by 3DMT’s sister company, ARCMIM. The combination of these services and our 3D printing capabilities makes ARC a one-stop shop to our customers by offering a spectrum of highly advanced products, processes, and services across a variety of generic and proprietary base materials.”
“We have received significant traction since the introduction of our RapidMIM technology and are excited to now launch our online quoting and increased capacity for this revolutionary process,” commented Jason Young. “We remain committed to bringing cutting edge technology and software solutions to the manufacturing industry. The automation of our proprietary online quoting software, which we have been developing since 2013, will help streamline and accelerate the quoting process. ARC’s business model remains focused on helping our customers improve speed-to-market, by providing high quality, holistic manufacturing solutions. Further, we are uniquely positioned to seamlessly offer rapid prototyping, short run fabrication, and full run production capabilities to our customers.”