Material Technical Innovation Group (MTIG) was established in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, in September 2006 by Mr Young-Seok Park as the first Korean company to exploit new patented technology for the production of complex components from pure titanium powder using conventional PM and powder injection moulding (PIM) manufacturing techniques. The technology developed by MTIG is said to negate the need for specialised equipment normally needed to produce titanium components, thereby drastically cutting manufacturing costs. The company reports that it has already developed a number of applications for PIM titanium over the past five years including mobile phone parts such as side keys, hinges, keyboard buttons, MP3 and GPS cases, earphone cases, and titanium electrodes for ionising water purifiers.
MTIG completed construction of its Hwaseong factory in June 2009 where PM and PIM production is undertaken. The company is also exploiting its unique titanium powder process for the thermal spraying of coatings in air as opposed to having to use a vacuum. Coatings ranging in thickness from 51 to 300 microns can be produced. Some key applications include the Ti powder coating of wind turbine parts, solar panels, and corrosion resistant coatings for the marine sector. MTIG titanium raw materials are also finding applications in allergy-free 3D jewellery and in coloured titanium buttons produced by atomic and molecular vacuum sputtering and anodic oxidation technologies.
The heart of MTIG technology is a method for preparing a titanium hydrogen compound powder which can be used to produce PM and PIM components having low levels of impurities. According to the patent application*, the titanium hydrogen compound powder can be prepared using various methods. For example, pure sponge titanium can be heated in a hydrogen atmosphere to form TiH2, and the TiH2 is then dehydrogenated to form the TiHx powder compound used in the PIM feedstock. This TiHx powder can range in particle size from 225 mesh to less than 625 mesh.
In PIM the titanium hydrogen compound powder is mixed with a binder, for example low density or high density polyethylene, polyethylene glycol (PEG), and paraffin wax, with powder loading ranging from 40 to 60 vol%. The resulting feedstock can be injection moulded in the normal way. During the debinding or sintering process the titanium hydrogen compound is decomposed into titanium and hydrogen, and the hydrogen reacts with the oxygen, carbon and nitrogen to minimise impurities in the sintered product. MTIG has also developed PM titanium nuts, bolts, and washers for marine applications as well as titanium rivets and screws for aerospace and communication equipment
*WIPO Patent Application WO/2010/010993