The giant double-decker Airbus A380 airliner went into commercial service with Singapore Airlines in October 2007 flying from Singapore to Sydney, Australia.
The first Metal Injection Moulded (MIM) parts to be used in the Airbus family, including the A380, are tiny microswitch arm parts produced from 316L stainless steel by Metal Injection Mouldings Ltd located in Altrincham, near Manchester, UK. A pair of these MIM components replace 22 existing parts on a de-icing valve, previously made for the A320 aircraft.
Metal Injection Moulding Ltd states that the original Microswitch units were assembled from 11 items, including pressings, small shafts, nuts, washers etc., compared to the one-piece MIM parts. Furthermore, the 2 pillars incorporate recessed rivet features, enabling the very quick fitting of a plastic micro-switch.
The use of MIM parts considerably reduced the cost of purchasing, stocking, controlling and assembling these units at Airbus.