Metal Injection Molding (MIM) has been in production since the 1970s. Over the last decade, the market has expanded significantly to include a broad array of applications such as automotive, consumer electronics, medical and firearms, among others.
Powder injection molding (PIM) is the broader mechanism that has been generally used for plastic production, whereas the metal injection molding process is done using an inorganic material and a polymer as feedstock. However, in case of MIM, a metal is used as feedstock.
Metal injection molding fabrication results from the application of plastic injection molding technology to powder metallurgy. The process is used to make small and complex-shaped parts from metal or alloy powders as the starting raw material.
This manufacturing process is capable of producing small parts with the properties of wrought, machined metal. The process is useful in reducing the labor costs that are characteristic of machining from cast products as well as investment cast products. The process is competitive with the press and sinter manufacturing technology typically used to make parts from metal and alloy powders. The competitive advantage comes from the ability of MIM to redesign parts and components and to manufacture complex parts at high production rates, which results in high yield savings, especially in parts and components made from expensive raw materials.
Conventional production processes are being increasingly being replaced by MIM. Machining, lost-wax casting and press sintering are some of the conventional processes that have been replaced by MIM.
The production of feedstock is the primary process of MIM: it is followed by shaping and solidifying using injection molding. The metal-working process is where a powdered metal is added with a binder material to produce feedstock.
The feedstock is then conditioned for removing the binder where powders are densified in certain dices or mold cavities, and the final components ultimately have their variety of applications in different industries. Materials such as alloy and low-carbon steels, nickel alloys,
copper alloys, titanium alloys, tungsten alloys and ceramics are suitable for MIM parts.
The global metal injection molding market is expected to expand at a significant pace owing to growth in the steel materials market. MIM processes that use stainless steel have their majority of uses in healthcare industries for producing the tiny materials used in medical cameras and other diagnostic equipment such as MRI and X-ray machines, intensive care unit appliances and surgical tools.
Automotive fuel-injectors are expected to be another major factor leading to an increase in demand for MIM products. Demand for MIM products in sealable housing for shot gun trigger guards, police pistols, rotors for stepper motors, and computer peripherals are further expected drive the global metal injection molding market during the forecast period of 2018-2023.
In 2018, the market for metal injection molding fabrication was around REDACTED. The global market is expected to grow at a CAGR of REDACTED in the coming five years and is expected to reach REDACTED by 2023. The global market for metal injection molding should grow from $3.1 billion in 2018 to $4.5 billion by 2023, increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5% from 2018 through 2023.
The growth of the metal injection molding fabrication market is expected to rise owing to the rising demand during the forecast period for small and complex metal parts manufactured by the MIM method for industries such as automotive, electrical and electronics, consumer products, medical and orthodontics and firearms and defense.