AMT MIM - Feedstock Formulation

Feedstock Formulation

A quality Metal Injection Molding (MIM) product is achieved not just by using high quality raw materials, but also requires quality and robust process control. Being a pioneer in the MIM industry, AMT pays great attention to feedstock formulation during the mixing process as it is the first of the four basic processes.

Mixing is the process where very fine metal powder is mixed with thermoplastic (known as the “binder”) to form a homogeneous mixture of ingredients that is pelletized and directly fed into the injection molding machine. This pelletized powder-polymer mixture is known as the feedstock.

Great care is needed to govern the quality of the feedstock. Factors that determine the attributes of the feedstock includes the quality powder characteristics, binder composition, powder to binder ratio and mixing and pelletization technique. Having accumulated more than 30 years of experience and knowledge in metal processing technology, and with our state-of-the-art equipment, AMT is capable of producing homogenous feedstock using pre-alloyed powder as well as customized alloyed powder.

Quality of the feedstock is always our top concern. One of the most critical factors to successful MIM production is to reliably deliver absolute batch-to-batch consistency in our feedstock. We ensure this via strict quality control of the density and viscosity of our proprietary feedstock.

With our proprietary feedback formulation, AMT is constantly developing and increasing our material portfolio to better serve the needs and requirements of our customers and partners. At the same time, AMT also invests in resources to work closely with leading feedstock specialist suppliers for ready-to-use feedstock. We recognize that each has its’ own strengths and weaknesses, and with this option, we are able to utilize each option to its fullest advantage.

AMT also has the capability to process BASF feedstock using our catalytic debinding systems and sintering furnaces. This allows us to support customers who have specific requirements for using BASF feedstock.

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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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