The winners of the EPMA’s ‘Excellence in PM Awards’ for 2007 were honoured at a special Awards Luncheon during the Euro PM2007 congress in Toulouse on October 16. Included among the award entries in the ‘Component Category – Metal Injection Moulding – MIM’ were three metal injection moulded components which impressed the judges, not only for the components’ abilities to provide cost savings for the end-user, but also for their potential to stimulate further usage of MIM technology.
Double bulge diamond bead
The ‘Award of Merit’ was presented by the EPMA’s President – Ingo Cremer, to MIMItalia of Vado Ligure, Savona, Italy, for a totally new and patented concept for metal injection moulding of a diamond bead with a double bulge profile.
The fabrication of the beads for diamond wires for stone cutting is commonly performed by means of hot pressing, both uniaxially and isostatically, but more and more often by means of the press-and-sinter route. In the former processes the densification of the powders is aided by a pressure applied by a graphite ram or by a inert gas; on the contrary, in the press-and-sinter process densification occurs at low pressure (or vacuum) only because of the effect of temperature. In all cases a preforming of the green bead by means of uniaxial cold pressing is required. A totally new system based on metal injection moulding (MIM) technology has been developed and patented, and a trade mark has been deposited. A new diamond bead with a double bulge profile has been fabricated and subjected to full scale testing.
MIM guitar tuner
This part from a guitar tuner was ‘Highly Commended’ by the EPMA’s judges. Fulfilling the very challenging requirements of the customer, an automatic tuner for electric guitars has been developed and produced by Maxon Motor GmbH, Germany.This device helps guitarists to keep their guitars perfectly tuned and reduces the re-tuning time of a guitar to 1.5 seconds. An experienced technician would normally take 30 seconds. The guitar tuner’s stainless steel body shows the high level of complexity achievable by MIM as a one-piece part. Complex shapes can be economically produced by investing only once in a single mould, giving a short ‘pay back’ time. www.maxonmotor.com
MIM cold plate
Again ‘Highly Commended’ by the awards judges, this MIM copper cold plate design, produced by Acelent Technologies, Singapore, leverages on the full benefits of the MIM process. It has shape complexity capability that gives the designer the maximum flexibility in design concept such as the intricate oval shaped pin geometry which provides optimal thermal performance. The sheer number of small pins, at 279, to be packed within a small confined space, maximises the overall surface area and hence optimises the thermal efficiency. In this aspect, it provides the thermal performance of the MIM cold plate with an added competitive edge when compared with other manufacturing processes.
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