3D Metal Printing (Additive Manufacturing) is a process by which a 3D design file is transformed into a physical metal object by selectively fusing the metal powder in successive layers. One key benefit of this process is the elimination of any tooling, thereby reducing the cost of development.

Another benefit is the ability to manufacture complex shapes which would otherwise be "impossible" to manufacture. An example is the direct integration of conformal cooling channels into mold inserts for application in plastic injection molding manufacturing, resulting in increased productivity and shorter cycle time.

The advantages of 3D Metal Printing (Additive Manufacturing) can be summarized as:
  • Increased design innovation - Create new ideas and shapes with quick turnaround for a physical part to gauge, test, look and feel.
  • Shorter time to market - Make idea-to-prototype cycles much quicker. Necessary adjustments made more rapidly. Design iteration can be tested easily.
  • Reduced development cost - Use less materials. No requirement for tooling. Multiple design concepts can be manufactured at the same time.
  • Reverse-engineering - Obsolete parts without drawing can now be scanned and reproduced easily.
  • Allows smaller batch production - Low volume production (less than 1,000pcs per year) can be manufactured.
If you would like to find out more details regarding 3D Metal Printing (Additive Manufacturing), please check out these white papers and guides here.


Conformal Cooling
Hybrid 3D Printing

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Step 1 – Mixing

Very fine metal or ceramic powder is mixed with a thermoplastic polymer (known as the binder) to form a homogeneous mixture of ingredients. The mixture or feedstock is made into granulated pellets and directly fed into the injection machine.

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Step 2 – Injection

During injection, the feedstock is heated and injected into the cavity of the mold. This allows the desired shapes and geometries to be formed. The molded part is known as the green part.

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Step 3 – Debinding

The polymeric binder is removed thermally via the debinding process. The green part is subjected to the debinding process at a high temperature while maintaining its relative size and shape. The brown part consists of a powder skeleton that is brittle and porous.

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Step 4 – Sintering

The final stage of the PIM process is sintering. During sintering, the brown part is heated to below its melting temperature. As sintering progresses, density increases, pores are eliminated and the part shrinks to achieve a dense and near-net shape component.

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