Metal injection molding is a powder metallurgy process used for manufacturing metal parts. Although metal injection molding uses powder metal, it is nothing like conventional powder metal processing. The metal powders used in metal injection molding are 10-100 times smaller than in powder metal processes. Also, the end product of metal injection molding is much higher in density. Metal injection molding offers the same benefits and features as plastic and rubber molding, but produces a much stronger end product. Applications for metal injection molding parts include surgical tools, automotive locks and actuators, firearm components, computer hard disk drives and electrical connectors.Process of Metal Injection Molding metal stamping dies
Metal injection molding is a fast growing manufacturing method that bridges the gap between the technology up gradation and costs involved. The metal injection molding process involves five steps, mixing, injection molding, de binding, sintering, and part finishing.
In the mixing step, metallic powders, selected for their strengths and inherent abilities such as impact strength, high and low temperature characteristics, wear resistance characteristics, machine ability, and hardness, are mixed, often with a binding agent. By mixing powders, the goal is to create a composite with the strengths and benefits of all the incorporated metals, while offsetting the independent weaknesses.
Once the powders are mixed, a “feedstock” is produced. This feedstock is injected into molds in the same way that plastic or rubber injection molding is performed. The part that emerges from the injection molding stage is referred to as a “green” part.
In the de binding stage of metal injection molding, the green part is immersed in a water bath to remove the binder, which has entered into the part matrix. In cross-linking, the de bound green part is exposed to ultraviolet light which thermo sets the binding agents used with the metal powders.
Once the de binding stage has been completed, the part is placed into a furnace and heated to over 2000 degree Fahrenheit. This process, called sintering, fuses the metal parts into a solid shape. Finally, the sintered piece is sent to a finished stage where burrs and surface imperfections are removed and the finished part can be shipped.
Drawing liquids through different hoses, pipes and other devices requires the forming of metal connectors and couplings. These parts create a solid attachment between different materials while funneling the liquid to its destination.
Mass production techniques of these connectors and couplings rely on metal-forming methods that can produce high quality shapes in a fast amount of time while reducing the amount of wasted materials. One such method that is popular among manufacturers is deep drawn stamping.
Deep Drawn Stamping Overview
Deep drawn stamping requires the use of metal dice that form regular and irregular metal shapes in sheet metal blanks. The term “deep drawn” refers to when the depth of the created metal shape is equal to or greater than its overall diameter. The metal blank is placed on a plug as it is moved and elongated across the die using constant pressure until the desired shape becomes stamped into the metal blank.
A big reason many manufacturers prefer the deep drawn process is that the single-created part is seamless and can replace parts that have multiple components. This method cuts down on time and money spent on subpart assembly and numerous metal forming operations to put together the overall part for use in commercial and residential applications. A wide range of different metals can be used in the deep drawn process: