PIM International, Vol. 4 No. 2 June 2010


 

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In addition to 20 pages of news from the metal and ceramic injection moulding industry, the 72 page June 2010 issue of Powder Injection Moulding International (Vol.4 No.2) includes the following articles and special features:

 

Parmatech: The MIM industry’s first commercial producer, and still going strong

In the not too distant future Parmatech will be celebrating 40 years of powder injection moulding, a fact that may come as a surprise to many who believed that PIM was a far more recent technological innovation.

We recently visited the company which is widely accepted to be the first commercial producer of MIM parts, now located in the picturesque surrounds of California’s Sonoma Valley.

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Alternatives to Powder Injection Molding: variants on almost the same theme

The initial demonstrations on powder injection moulding date from the 1930’s while metal variants have been in production since 1975.

The core process is well known, supported by a wide variety of powder, feedstock, and equipment firms. Although there is much focus on the core technology, based on high-pressure moulding and high-temperature sintering, many variants have emerged with shifts in binders, shaping, or other processing steps.

In this article Prof. Randall German introduces several variants to illustrate how core principles, similar powders and binders, and other parallel aspects spill over to a wide range of alternative approaches that share many of the same concepts used in PIM.

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Singapore’s Advanced Materials Technologies celebrates 20 years of MIM excellence

Singapore, with its modern skyscraper skyline, epitomises the rapid ascendance of the Asian Tigers into highly developed economies.

Metal injection moulding has benefited from this growth, particularly in relation to the dominant consumer electronics sector. In Singapore’s case, the success of MIM is due in no small measure to the standards set by Advanced Materials Technologies (AMT).

We report on our recent visit to the company that was one of the first MIM producers in the region, and which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary.

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The processing of biomaterials for implant applications by Powder Injection Moulding

Powder Injection Moulding is an established process for the manufacture of medical products from biocompatible materials. Processing innovations have, however, enabled a wider range of functional products to be considered than ever before.

Philipp Imgrund and colleagues from IFAM, Bremen, Germany, present current work that includes degradable PIM implants, surface structured PIM products for implant applications, and implants with controlled porosity.

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New methodology of resonant inspection applied to Metal Injection Moulded (MIM) parts

Metal injection moulded parts are widely used in a number of safety-critical applications, from medical instruments through to automotive, firearms and aerospace products.

Richard W. Bono and colleagues from The Modal Shop Inc. explain how the ‘Resonant Acoustic Method’ of Non-Destructive Testing (RAM NDT) has been adapted to provide MIM producers with an effective in-line system to check 100% of parts for cracks and other flaws.

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Sintering process of M2 HSS feedstock reinforced with carbides

Gemma Herranz, Gloria Patricia Rodríguez, Rubén Alonso, Grzegorz Matula

Metal matrix composites (MMCs) based on M2 HSS (High Speed Steel) are processed using a metal injection moulding route. Different types of reinforcement are added to the mixture and the effect in the sintering behaviour has been analysed.

An optimised feedstock of M2 with carbides based on polyethylene and paraffin wax has been designed. The mixing procedure and the moulding conditions have been optimised to obtain parts without defects. A debinding schedule of thermal treatment has been established to partially eliminate the binder in order to promote the presence of some residual carbon into the parts.

Finally, the sintering was studied under N2-H2 atmosphere. Density and microhardness measurements and SEM microstructures were used to determine the optimum sintering temperature and the sintering window of each system. This research has demonstrated that the addition of carbides produces an important reduction in the sintering temperature. Grain growth and coarsening of the grains are inhibited by the effect of the addition of the reinforcements.

Although the addition of carbides reveals some general secondary effects in both cases, the addition of different reinforcement shows particular effects depending on which reinforcement is used. The mixture of carbides (WC+TiC+TaC+NbC) produces an important enlargement of the sintering window and the addition of VC produces an important reduction in the optimum sintering temperature.

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Mechanical properties and corrosion resistance of vacuum sintered MIM 316L stainless steel containing delta ferrite

Palloma Muterlle, Matteo Perina, Alberto Molinari

A decrease in tensile ductility and axial fatigue strength was measured on increasing the content of delta ferrite in the metal injection moulding processed AISI 316L stainless steel. However, since delta ferrite activates densification, these effects can be compensated by an increase in the sintered density.

No features attributable to delta ferrite were observed on the fracture surfaces in both tensile and fatigue loading. Only a slight increase in the passivation current density due to delta ferrite was observed in potentiodynamic tests in sulphuric acid solution, correlated to a selective corrosion of this secondary constituent.

Despite these effects, all these properties remain comparable up to 8% of delta ferrite.

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