cost-cutting designs are fueling continued growth for metal injection molded (MIM)
parts, albeit at a slower rates than previous years, and two examples are grand
prize winners in the 2011 Design Excellence Awards sponsored by the Metal
Powder Industries Federation (MPIF).Parmatech Corp.
earned the grand prize in the hand tools/recreation category for a large-game
420 stainless steel hunting arrowhead. Made for Optek Precision Tooling Ltd.,
the part features a critical straightness necessary for accuracy. Showing the
versatility of the molding process, the external thread for attachment to the
arrow shaft is molded in the design.
The part is formed to a final density of 7.7 g/cm3
and has a
48-52 HRC (Rockwell scale) hardness range.
Optek saved 50 percent of the cost of machining the broadhead from
stainless steel bar through use of metal injection molding. The customer
sharpens the arrow head edge, the only secondary operation performed.
earned a grand prize for
a housing cup and lid used in an audio device with magnetic shielding
capabilities. The MPIF judges described it as the first application is of its
kind in the high-power audio device sector.
The anti-magnetic MIM material with high-nickel content provides electromagnetic
The lid must fit securely into the cup opening to prevent moisture and particulates
from entering the housing, as well as maintaining the EMI shielding capability.
Manufactured to 8.30 g/cm3
density, the parts have an
ultimate tensile strength of 84,000 psi, yield strength of 32,000 psi and a 40
Combining these multiple components through the MIM process provided
significant cost savings, in addition to eliminating up to 40 percent scrap
The North American powder metallurgy industry, which includes MIM, was
up 35 percent in 2010 compared to 2009, according to the MPIF
"We are back on the growth track, regaining momentum in nearly every
quarter," says Michael E. Lutheran, president of the MPIF.
The most important MIM markets are medical, firearms, electronics,
dental, automotive, and telecommunications. It's estimated that about 40
companies in the United States make MIM parts with an estimated $200 million in
annual sales. Captive production at large firearms and medical parts producers
account for about 30 percent of total production of MIM parts in the United