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April 1, 2002

3 Min Read
Application Showcase

This sampling of the wide variety of parts that are now being injection molded out of metals or ceramics shows process capability as well as end markets for future growth.

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Large demands are made on these high-precision ceramic ferrules, which are used to link fiber-optic cables together. Ferrule production is often complicated and expensive, demanding extreme precision to maintain conductivity and data transfer. PIM represents a manufacturing alternative that is both cost and time effective. These parts are made of zirconium oxide supplied by Inmatec. The material is said to provide high bending strength with minimal thermal expansion. It's predicted that the switch from injection molding plastics to ceramics will result in a noticeable reduction in the cost of finishing work and therefore production costs as a whole, which in turn should have a positive effect on the price of ferrules for the consumer. Photo: Arburg GmbH & Co.


This magnesium wheel disk represents a new step in the development of TXM technology from Thixomat Inc. (Ann Arbor, MI). A magnesium preform was molded on a 650-ton JSW TXM press, taking advantage of the low porosity and fine microstructure the process imparts to products. The preform was then forged to achieve higher mechanical properties in the finished part. The current worldwide average for magnesium content in automobiles is 2 kg per vehicle. Citing recent studies by major automotive OEMs, Thixomat sources say more than 100 kg of vehicle components have been identified for potential conversion to magnesium. Photo: Thixomat Inc.

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These metal injection molded boxes are displacing wrought metal boxes used in electronics and fiber-optic packages. Although the chemistry of wrought and MIM materials are equivalent, the structure of the metals is different. There is a difference, for example, in pore size. The use of MIM improved the hermeticity of the boxes, which are used to amplify (clean up) signals and information transmitted over long distances. Boxes have been produced using 316-L stainless, 49 percent Ni-Fe, and ASTM F-15 (Kovar), which is pictured. The boxes measure 2 by 1 by .5 inch; wall thickness is .08 inch; weight is 40g. Photo: Flomet LLC


Handheld computers and scanners call for strength and stiffness to protect the fragile LCD screens from breaking or cracking. HHP's dolphin 7300, 7400, and 7450 computers and scanners are manufactured by Phillips Plastics Corp. (Prescott, WI) using TXM. Magnesium was chosen for its stiffness, which protects the screens against torsion and enables the units to withstand abuse (tests included multiple 5-ft drops onto concrete). Magnesium and plastics also have similar weight characteristics. Photo: Phillips Plastics Corp.

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As a cost-effective alternative to the casting and machining of nickel-base superalloy IN718, which is difficult and expensive to process, Polymer Technologies Inc. (Clifton NJ) chose a water-based metal injection molding binder to mold and sinter aerospace flow bodies. These parts bleed hot air from jet engines and are used throughout an aircraft. They must withstand operating temperatures and environments that exceed the capabilities of plastics or stainless steel. The flow bodies weigh approximately 4 lb and have an inner diameter of 3.5 inches after sintering. Photo: Polymer Technologies Inc.



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