Metal and ceramic injection moulding: A guide for designers and end-users

This article is based on ‘Designing for Metal Injection Moulding: A Guide for  Designers and End-Users’, by Professor Randall German, published in the December 2008 issue of PIM International. Professor German is Associate Dean of Engineering at the College of Engineering, San Diego State University, USA and a Consulting Editor of PIM International.


Presented on the following pages are some effective guidelines that end-users need to consider when looking to use the Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) route for the production of components.

As this online feature clearly demonstrates, the greater the understanding of the MIM process that a designer has, the greater the chances of successful adoption of MIM technology.

Although prepared with Metal Injection Moulding in mind, the design considerations presented are also applicable to Ceramic Injection Mouling (CIM).



Assuming the reader has some prior knowledge about Metal Injection Moulding, this article deals with the design factors that improve production.

MIM & CIM: A guide for designers and end-users - mobile phone parts

Fig. 1 An example of a high production volume MIM success. These mobile phone parts weigh 2.3 g each

It is during the design phase that changes can be made to avoid later difficulties that might interrupt or delay production schedules.

With experience, a trained designer will envision the MIM process from the start, enabling higher process yields, lower costs, and faster processing.

Whole books have been written on the design aspects of Metal Injection Moulding [1], so here the effort is to outline some of the important principles.

More than anything, early involvement by a MIM vendor helps the most. Costs incurred during design have little impact on the final product price, but decisions made during design have major implications on the production costs. Vendor consultation before a design becomes fixed will save agony and cost during production [2].


The first questions

MIM & CIM: A guide for designers and end-users - Two MIM copper refrigerator couplings with combined external and internal features

Fig. 2 Two MIM copper refrigerator couplings with combined external and internal features

The Metal Injection Moulding process allows for complex net-shape components from a variety of compositions. Cost in Metal Injection Moulding depends on the material and several other factors, including the component mass, tooling complexity, mould cycle time, debinding and sintering times and other factors.

Because Metal Injection Moulding is similar to plastic molding, certain shapes are more attractive while other shapes prove difficult. The following page poses the some initial questions that help determine if MIM is viable.


Continue to next page: When is a part suitable for Metal or Ceramic Injection Moulding?


In the latest issue of PIM International…

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

  • Visottica Group: Integrated workflows and the value of Metal Injection Moulding in eyewear and beyond
  • In MIM’s post-smartphone era, where is China’s Metal Injection Moulding industry going?
  • Ceramic AM at scale: The story of how Steinbach AG scaled production to 12,000 parts a year for Da Vinci Surgical Systems
  • MIM F75 (Co-Cr-Mo) for high-volume production: The impact of sintering conditions on microstructure and properties
  • World PM2022: Research into the Binder Jetting of aluminium, Ni-free stainless steel, hardmetals and metallic glass

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