The firearms industry is a major consumer of Metal Injection Moulded (MIM) parts, accounting for significant levels of production not only in North America but also Europe and Asia. As an industry that encompasses both civilian, law enforcement and military markets it is a sector that is subject not only to consumer trends, but to national and international political events.
A new 17 page report published in the December 2014 issue of Powder Injection Moulding International magazine reviews trends in the use of MIM components in firearms, looks at regional variations and considers opportunities for the future. Whilst most attention has traditionally been given to the use of MIM in the North American firearms industry, as this report shows the use of MIM technology in this sector is truly global.
MIM’s ability to provide high volumes of net shape components at competitive prices from a wide range of alloys to very tight tolerances, whilst at the same time offering excellent mechanical and corrosion resistance properties, has played an important role in transforming the way firearms companies are now able to design and manufacture components.
In many cases, converting to MIM can save up to 40% on machined or investment cast equivalents. A trend towards more compact firearm designs with smaller, more intricate parts also plays to MIM’s advantages of high part complexity and thinner walled sections.
Almost all major firearms manufacturers around the world have already adopted MIM and many of those who have not yet adopted the technology are now scrambling to catch up. What is clear is that when new firearms projects are planned by manufacturers, MIM parts are high on the wish list due to their competitive cost and the consistency of the process.
From a stabilising domestic US firearms market to a European industry hit by political sanctions and government regulation, MIM suppliers to this sector are currently having to navigate uncertain territory. What is clear, however, is that the industry is firmly established as a valued partner for gun manufacturers and that there is no doubt that the use of MIM parts in firearms is set to increase as new guns are developed.
- An introduction to the MIM process
- MIM material grades used in the firearms industry
- North America
- South America
- Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP) in the manufacture of MIM firearms components
- MIM versus Investment Casting
- Case studies