BASF: Feedstock for Powder Injection Moulding
BASF has an unique background in plastic technology, metal powder production and new materials research. Thanks to this experience, BASF has become a solution provider for powder injection molding (PIM), making a substantial contribution to the performance improvement of this innovative manufacturing technology.
PIM allows molding metals with same ease and design freedom as for plastics. It has found application in the automotive field for turbocharger, valve train, gearbox, seat-adjustment, fuel injection and sensor systems parts.
BASF’s revolutionary catalytic debinding technology can be implemented as a fully continuous process. This provides the link between the highly automated molding machines as used in plastic and the large throughput continuous sintering furnaces as known in powder metallurgy. For this reason BASF powder injection-molding technology is naturally suitable for the mass production requirements of automotive applications.
BASF aims to be the preferred partner for the automotive industry when it comes to investigate and implement applications of powder injection molding for the manufacturing of car parts.
Product and services
BASF offers a comprehensive product line for powder injection molding, marketed under the name of Catamold®. These products are sold to many customers worldwide, all operating according to the same technology.
BASF’s customers mold Catamold® ready-to-use granules – a selected blend of fine metal or ceramic powders and a polyacetal-based plastic binder – in conventional injection molding machines. The further processing consists of the removal of the plastic binder, according to the revolutionary principles of catalytic debinding, and the sintering of the powder compact to achieve very high densities.
The catalytic process allows debinding times up to 10 times shorter than conventional technology, combining also high accuracy, excellent composition and dimensional control after sintering.
Catamold® is available in numerous grades ranging from low-alloy steels to stainless steels, from soft magnetic alloys to tool steels, from Ni-super alloys to titanium, from tungsten to ceramics.
Catamold® is however much more than a granule: it is an all-round technical package. BASF offers its customers and end-users support in the material selection, consulting for part and mold design, feasibility studies, simulation of the molding process, pilot runs, assistance during start-up and regular production, training.
Research and development
BASF’s extensive know-how in plastics, powder technology and materials allows tackling the challenges of the market, which constantly requests the development of new alloys for new emerging applications.
BASF puts its expertise at the service of its customers and end-users in its best-class molding, debinding, sintering and analytical facilities of the Catamold® Application Technology Department, located next to the production plant. In these premises BASF leads multiple projects related to new materials, feedstock development and mold design in close cooperation with its customers.
Every single production lot of BASF Catamold® is subjected to a severe validation process, consisting of molding, debinding and sintering of test parts according to the same process that BASF’s customers run, in order to ensure long-term consistency and the conformance to product specifications (e.g. flowability, final density and dimensional tolerance after sintering). BASF Catamold® development, production, quality control and marketing are certified according to DIN EN ISO9001.
GBU Inorganic Specialties
Powder Injection Molding, G-CAS/BP – J513
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