Shin Zu Shing (SZS), a notebook hinge maker based in Shulin, Taiwan, has installed two new continuous Metal Injection Moulding furnaces at its production plant, reports Digitimes. The expansion, which is thought to come in response to increasing demand for MIM 3C (computer, communication, and consumer electronics) components, will boost the company’s capacity by more than 40% as of 2018.
SZS has been supplying notebook hinges for up to twenty years, but Digitimes reports that it has recently seen sales for traditionally-produced hinges slow, driving the company to explore new opportunities in the field of 3C products.
While traditional notebook sales have declined somewhat, sales of hybrid devices such as tablets have continued to rise. These devices often have multi-function hinge mechanisms that allow, for example, the removal or rotation of the screen. The MIM process is ideally suited to this type of product, which demands complex, light, thin and small-scale designs to be produced in large quantities to net-shape.
Apple MacBooks are also reported to incorporate SZS’s MIM hinges. In 2017, up to 60-70% of SZS’s MIM hinges were produced for notebooks assembled in Taiwan and China, the report states, while the remaining 30-40% were shipped to other countries; a dramatic shift from 2016, when a reported 30% of hinges remained in Taiwan/China and 70% were shipped overseas. This sales ratio change is believed to be due to Apple having fully incorporated the hinges into the MacBook Pro or new 12-inch MacBook.
According to Digitimes, the MIM furnaces installed by SZS can process materials such as copper, tungsten and titanium alloy in addition to the original iron, nickel alloy and stainless steel. This could potentially allow SZS to produce mechanical parts for non-notebook applications, such as medical equipment and automotive electronics.