Statistics of Metal Injection Molding

Metal Injection Molding (MIM) has experienced significant growth and transformation over the years. This report explores various parameters and statistics that provide insights into the evolution and current state of the MIM industry.

Key Statistics Overview

PatentsOver 300 patents generated by 2000, now around 200 active patents.
Powder SalesIn 2010, over 8000 tons of metal powder consumed with a 20% annual growth rate in tonnage but 14% annual increase in value.
Feedstock Purchase71% of top firms self-mix feedstock, suggesting equal merit for purchased feedstock but greater manufacturing flexibility with self-mixing.
MixingIn 2011, firms mixing their own feedstock generated $1.8 million in sales per mixer, while the top 20 firms achieved $7 million per mixer per year.
Sales Per MolderAverage sales per molder in many countries is at least $1 million per year; the industry average is $536,000, with leading firms at $1.5 million per molder per year.
Sales Per FurnaceIndustry average of $1 million per furnace per year, increasing to $3.2 million for top MIM operations with continuous furnaces.
Continuous FurnacesIn 2011, 4500 tons of products processed by high-volume continuous sintering furnaces, with 38% in Asia, 47% in Europe, and 15% in North America.
Captive vs. Custom ProductionAbout a third of firms are captive, with 21% having over 50% of sales internally; 17% of production value in 2011 is for internal use.
Sales Per KilogramAverage sales per kilogram of powder consumed is around $125, with varying values across different applications.
Sales Per PartTypical part sale prices range from $1 to $2 each, with variations from a few cents to $400 for specific components.
Component SizeMost typical MIM parts weigh 6-10 grams, but sizes can range from less than 0.02 grams to over 300 grams, with microminiature components reaching $68 million in sales in 2010.
Employment in MIM IndustryGlobally, nearly 7000 people are employed in MIM out of around 8000 in PIM; an average of 21 employees per MIM operation with larger firms employing up to 300-800 people.
Material Distribution by ValueStainless steel and steel collectively make up 80% of materials used in MIM, followed by tungsten alloys, iron-nickel alloys, titanium alloys, copper, cobalt-chromium, tool steels, nickel alloys, and electronic alloys.
Statistics by RegionAsia’s dominance in the metal injection molding (MIM) industry is underscored by its substantial market share, accounting for an impressive 49% of the global sales.

1. Patents and Innovation

Since the inception of MIM, the industry has witnessed substantial innovation, leading to the generation of over 300 patents by the year 2000. However, in recent years, the pace of patent generation has slowed, and there are currently around 200 active patents. This indicates a mature but still evolving industry, with a focus on refining existing technologies and processes.

2. Powder Sales

MIM heavily relies on metal powders, and in 2010, the global consumption of metal powder for MIM exceeded 8000 tons. This segment has shown impressive growth, with an annual increase in powder tonnage use of approximately 20%. Despite this, due to price reductions, the value of powder sales has been rising at a rate of about 14% per year. This trend suggests a competitive market with cost-conscious consumers.

3. Feedstock Purchase

MIM manufacturers have the option to either self-mix their feedstock or purchase it. Interestingly, 71% of the top MIM firms opt to create their feedstock, a trend that remains consistent across companies of varying sizes. This suggests that while purchased feedstock is not necessarily a disadvantage, self-mixing offers greater manufacturing flexibility.

4. Mixing Efficiency

For companies mixing their own feedstock in 2011, each mixer generated $1.8 million in sales on average. However, the top 20 firms that mix their own feedstock achieved an impressive $7 million in sales per mixer per year. This emphasizes the importance of efficient mixing processes in maximizing profitability.

5. Sales Per Molder

In high-utilization operations, a molding machine can generate at least $1 million in sales per year. Across the MIM industry, the mean sales per molder is $536,000. However, leading firms manage to achieve significantly higher sales, averaging $1.5 million per molder per year. This highlights the potential for increased efficiency and profitability in MIM operations.

6. Sales Per Furnace

Furnaces come in various sizes and designs, but on average, they contribute about $1 million in sales per furnace per year to the industry. Larger and continuous furnaces utilized by top MIM operations show even higher performance, with an average of $3.2 million in sales per furnace per year.

7. Captive vs. Custom Production

Approximately a third of MIM firms operate on a captive production model, with only 21% of firms generating more than 50% of their sales internally. An estimated 17% of production value in 2011 was for internal use, reflecting the diverse customer base that MIM serves.

8. Sales Per Kilogram

Across the MIM industry, the average sales per kilogram of powder consumed is approximately $125. This value varies widely, from $10,000 per kilogram for specialized applications like jewelry and precision tools to $16 per kilogram for casting refractories. The aerospace sector’s typical sales price hovers around $1000 per kilogram, while stainless steel orthodontic brackets contribute significantly, with an average of nearly $650 per kilogram.

9. Sales Per Part and Component Size

Typical MIM parts are sold in the range of $1 to $2 each, but the pricing varies significantly. Some components, such as cell phone vibrator weights, can sell for as low as 5 cents, while more complex parts like solenoid bodies and knee implants command prices of $35 to $400. In terms of size, the most common MIM parts weigh between 6 and 10 grams, with a mean mass of under 10 grams. However, there are exceptions, with larger components like heat dissipaters for hybrid electric vehicles reaching 1.3 kilograms and aerospace superalloy bodies approaching 200mm in dimensions. Additionally, the microminiature components segment, with features in the micrometer range, generated approximately $68 million in sales in 2010, showcasing a growing niche within the MIM market.

10. Employment in the MIM Industry

Globally, the MIM industry employs nearly 7000 people out of the approximately 8000 individuals employed in Powder Injection Molding (PIM) as a whole. On average, there are 21 employees per MIM operation, with a median of 16 employees per facility. Larger firms can have significantly larger workforces, ranging from 300 to 800 employees. This demonstrates that the MIM industry offers diverse employment opportunities, from smaller, specialized operations to larger manufacturing facilities.

11. Material Distribution by Value

Stainless steel and steel jointly account for a substantial 80% of the materials used in Metal Injection Molding (MIM) on a global scale. These two materials are the cornerstone of MIM, forming the bedrock upon which the industry’s versatility and applications are built.

12. Regional Statistics

Asia’s dominance in the MIM industry is underscored by its substantial market share, accounting for an impressive 49% of the global sales, a testament to its pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of this innovative manufacturing technology.


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