Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) company MIMtechnik GmbH, Schmalkalden, Germany, is reducing the lead time for prototype MIM products to as little as one week using Binder Jet Additive Manufacturing. The company selected an Innovent+TM Binder Jet AM system produced by The ExOne Company, North Huntington, Pennsylvania, USA, to develop prototype fasteners for building hardware for customer evaluation.
Tooling for MIM is traditionally expensive and the lead time for new moulds is usually from ten to fourteen weeks. The use of Binder Jet AM reduced lead time for the prototype product to just one week after the initial customer inquiry, while eliminating prototype tooling costs (typically in the range of €10,000–20,000).
In addition, because the Innovent+ produces parts using the same 316L high density single alloy powders as used in its MIM products, MIMtechnik was able to use its current sintering process on the prototyped parts. This meant that the prototype’s properties matched what the customer could expect from final MIM parts.
The successful delivery of the prototypes to the customer resulted in an order for approximately 600,000 MIM parts in the first year of production, expected to increase to 1.2 million parts in the following years.