Medical Design Briefs - June 2022 - 32

What Medical
Device OEMs
Should Know About
Outsourced MIM
T
32
Cov
MDB MICRO Directory Feature 0622-CC_1.indd 32
he basis of metal injection molding
(MIM) technology involves fi ne
metal powders, which are combined
with thermoplastic binders
and surfactants, allowing injection in a
plastic injection molding machine. The
MIM process is similar to plastic injection
molding, but with metal feedstock to effi -
ciently produce small, complex parts at
high volumes, using high temperature
and pressure. It's an advanced metal
forming technique that uses injection
molding equipment for manufacturing
both simple and complex metal parts to
tight tolerances. The MIM process combines
the design fl exibility of plastic injection
molding with the strength and integrity
of wrought metals.
MIM is a net-shaping process in which
metal powder is mixed with a thermoplastic
binder and surfactants that are
then fed into a cavity. The metal powder/organic
mixture is commonly called
feedstock. Feedstock starts as metal powders
with an approximate average particle
size of 10 ┬Ám. There are two strategies:
Alloy powders can be used in which
each particle has all the elements making
up the alloy. Or, a master alloy powder
can be mixed with a carbonyl powder
(100 percent iron) to make up the
alloy. Usually, a ribbon blender is used
under vacuum with the surfactant added
fi rst then the binders. After molding,
the parts are in the green state. The
green-state parts are then subjected to a
binder removal process.
Binder removal is usually a two-step
process. The fi rst step is organic debinding,
followed by thermal debinding. After
organic debinding, the parts are then
loaded on the furnace furniture as the
brown-state parts. At this stage, the parts
are too fragile to touch. These brownwww.medicaldesignbriefs.com
ToC
5/25/22
2:52 PM
state parts from the furnace furniture are
then loaded into the sintering furnace.
Depending upon the overall organic content,
the parts shrink between 12 and 15
percent. The result is a net shape part;
however, further postprocessing may be
needed to arrive at the fi nal part.
MIM versus Machining
MIM does not replace machining, but
the process offers distinct advantages for
certain high-volume, high-precision projects
where parts may be small and in a
device requiring articulations, as well as
needing strong mechanical properties.
MIM is advantageous when considering
large volumes, a wide variety of materials,
small high-performing precision products
with tight tolerances and consistent
dimensions, and complex designs. MIM
is versatile, low risk, highly scalable, and
cost-effective.
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Medical Design Briefs - June 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Medical Design Briefs - June 2022

Medical Design Briefs - June 2022 - Intro
Medical Design Briefs - June 2022 - Cov4
Medical Design Briefs - June 2022 - Cov1a
Medical Design Briefs - June 2022 - Cov1b
Medical Design Briefs - June 2022 - Cov1
Medical Design Briefs - June 2022 - Cov2
Medical Design Briefs - June 2022 - 1
Medical Design Briefs - June 2022 - 2
Medical Design Briefs - June 2022 - 3
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Medical Design Briefs - June 2022 - Cov3
Medical Design Briefs - June 2022 - Cov4a
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