Metal Injection Molding Process

MIM Process In a Nutshell

Metal injection molding is more than just a manufacturing process; it’s a crossroads where modern technology meets ancient metallurgy. By infusing cutting-edge plastic injection molding techniques into the realm of powder metallurgy, MIM emerges as a game-changing approach to crafting metal components. It marries the flexibility of molding with the durability of metals, offering an economical solution for crafting complex parts with intricate shapes.

The MIM process unfolds in four distinctive steps – from the ingenious blend of feedstock compounds to the meticulous injection molding, followed by the debinding and sintering stages, and concluding with the refined touch of secondary operations. This process is a symphony of innovation and precision, orchestrated to deliver the final product you envision.

1. Feedstock Compunding

In the first step, we blend super tiny metal powders with special polymers using a special machine. It’s like mixing flour and water to make dough, but with much smaller particles. We heat this mix until the polymers become gooey and stick to the metal powders. This makes little pellets about the size of a pea.

These pellets are like building blocks for our process. They’re ready to be used in the next step, where they’ll turn into fantastic parts. This step is like getting all the tools and materials ready before you start building something amazing.

Think of the feedstock compounding as the backstage preparation before a big show. It might not be flashy, but it’s essential for creating incredible performances – in this case, intricate metal parts that are strong and precise.

feedstock compounding

2. Injection Modling

Just like how people make plastic toys with injection molding, MIM uses a similar technique. Imagine putting special beads into a machine, and this machine warms up the beads until they become gooey. Then, this gooey mixture is pushed into a special mold using high pressure. Think of the mold as a cookie cutter that shapes the gooey stuff into something cool. Once the mold is filled, we have what’s called a “green part,” like the start of a masterpiece.

Here’s a cool thing to know: because we added some special stuff at the beginning, this green part is a bit bigger (around 20%) than it will be in the end. It’s like if you made a big ice cube that would melt and become a smaller ice cube. This is because, later on, the green part will go through more steps to become super strong and precise.

Imagine this step like creating the first draft of a story. It’s not perfect yet, but it holds the promise of something amazing. The green part might be a bit rough around the edges, but it’s ready for the next steps that will turn it into a true work of art.

injection molding process

3. Debinding Process

After our “green parts” are shaped in the injection molding step, they’re ready for a special process called debinding. Imagine it as if our masterpiece is wearing a temporary costume that needs to be removed to show its true form.

The binder that helped hold our parts together during molding needs to go. But it’s a two-step process, kind of like taking off two layers of clothing. MIM experts use two main methods for this. One is like a magic potion made from special acids that carefully dissolve some of the binder. The other is like giving our parts a bath that lasts several hours. This bath doesn’t remove all the binder but gets rid of most of it. After this step, our creation gets a new name: “brown part.”

debinding process of mim

4. MIM Sintering

After the “brown parts” have been unveiled through debinding, they’re ready for a remarkable metamorphosis. This step is like sending our parts into a special high-temperature furnace, almost like a cocoon where they’ll emerge as powerful and precise creations.

The brown parts are carefully placed in this furnace and the temperature rises, bringing them close to their melting point. As this happens, all the remaining binder that held them together disappears, leaving behind only the metal particles. Just like how a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, our parts undergo a remarkable change. They shrink a bit, become denser, and their true strength and shape come to life.


5. Secondary Operations

After the sintering process works its magic, our metal parts emerge with a solid foundation. But there’s more to be done to refine and enhance them. Imagine these parts as sculptures that are nearly complete but are yet to be perfected.

Secondary operations come into play at this stage. These are like the finishing touches that make our parts shine. Some parts might need extra steps to ensure they have the exact size and shape we want. Others could benefit from processes that make them even stronger or give them a specific appearance.

Think of these secondary operations as a sculptor fine-tuning the details of a statue. These steps can involve heat treating to increase strength, applying coatings for protection or a certain look, and other special treatments. Some operations might happen right where our journey started, in-house, while others could be handled by skilled experts we’ve partnered with.

secondary operations


We’re one-step away to get an instant quote from us. Tell us more about your requirements and we will get back to you within one business days.