Metal Injection Molding in the automotive industry

Automotive Metal Injection Molding applications

The automotive sector has become a major consumer of Metal Injection Molded parts. High strength, high complexity parts are used in engines, gearboxes, turbochargers, locking mechanisms, steering systems and electronic systems, to name just a few.

Rocker arms for BMW engines

Applications for MIM: The Automotive Industry - Rocker_arm
MIM rocker arms produced by Schunk Sintermetalltechnik GmbH, Germany

A good example of a MIM rocker arm is the roller following type arm shown.

This rocker arm was used for engines with a variable valve stroke and was made from low alloy steel. It featured a hollow configuration, saving weight, which is difficult to achieve by other processes.

The variable valve lift enhanced engine performance and reduced fuel consumption. Around 4.5 million parts were produced annually using a hardenable 50NiCrMo2.2 steel powder alloy.

Shift lever transmission component

Applications for MIM: The Automotive Industry - GKN
Fig. 21 Shift lever, from right to left, as moulded, sintered, hardened, and assembled with shaft. (Courtesy GKN Sinter Metals, Germany)

This extremely high volume Metal Injection Molded component was part of a passenger car’s manual transmission.

The component is shown in the various manufacturing stages: moulded, sintered, hardened, and assembled with a shaft.

The material is Fe-2% Ni. The part is case hardened after sintering.


Vanes for variable nozzle turbochargers

Applications for MIM: The Automotive Industry - Fine_sinter
MIM turbocharger vane for automotive applications, manufactured by Fine Sinter Co., Japan

Metal Injection Molded variable nozzle turbocharger vanes are produced in very high volumes for automotive turbochargers. The parts meet strict dimensional tolerance requirements, as close as ±0.015 mm on the wing profile, which is achieved with machining.

The part shown is produced using a special tool that has a unique sliding function when opening, reducing deformation during ejection. Metal Injection Moulding production offered a 20% cost saving.

The production of Metal Injection Moulded superalloy components is now far advanced, with an ever increasing market share. Materials such as Inconel 713 are readily available as MIM feedstocks.

Metal Injection Molding, thanks to the finely dispersed powders used, delivers parts with a very homogeneous microstructure, which improves significantly on the microstructures of investment cast products.

Suggested reading
Metal Injection Moulding: Past successes and future opportunities in the automotive industry

As published in Vol. 9 No. 5, December 2015 (download PDF here)

Metal Injection Moulding has made tremendous advances over the last decade in penetrating a host of important global markets, from the aerospace and 3C industries to the automotive, medical and firearms sectors. Despite suffering from a general lack of awareness amongst automotive designers and engineers, the number of MIM automotive applications continues to rise at an impressive rate. In this report, Nick Williams, Managing Editor of PIM International, reviews the development of MIM automotive applications and the future outlook for this important end-user sector.

Next page: Applications: IT, Electronics and Telecomms

In the latest issue of PIM International…

Download PDF

Extensive MIM, CIM industry and sinter-based AM industry news, plus the following exclusive deep-dive articles and reports:

  • Global Markets for Metal Injection Moulding: Data and insight from World PM2022 and beyond
  • HP Metal Jet: Growing momentum and new applications as Binder Jetting comes of age
  • Sintex: Exploring the full flexibility of metal powder-based processes for corrosion-resistant applications
  • Tritone’s MoldJet: The definition-defying AM technology advancing steadily toward commercialisation
  • The metal powder-based processing of titanium: MIM and AM-related highlights from the PMTi2022 conference
  • Opening the door to MIM parts: A case study on the conversion of die cast door hinges

The latest news from the MIM, CIM and sinter-based AM industries

Don't miss any new issue of PIM International, and stay up to date with the latest industry news. Sign up to our fortnightly newsletter.

Sign up

News from the industry…

    Discover our magazine archive…

    The free-to-access PIM International magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of MIM, CIM and sinter-based AM from a commercial and technological perspective through:

    • Reports on visits to leading part manufacturers and industry suppliers
    • Articles on technology and application trends
    • Information on materials developments
    • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
    • International industry news

    All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.


    Browse the archive


    Looking for suppliers of materials, production equipment and finished MIM, CIM or sinter-based AM parts?

    Discover suppliers of these and more in our advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of PIM International.

    • Metal powders
    • MIM, CIM & AM parts producers
    • Binders & feedstocks
    • Feedstock mixers
    • Furnaces & furnace supplies
    • Atmospheres & gas generation
    • HIP systems & services
    • Injection moulding machines
    • AM technology
    • Debinding systems
    Download PDF
    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap