Powder injection moulding

Powder injection moulding
Cost-effective solutions for
metal or ceramic parts
At a glance
Example: burner for HID bulbs. Ceramic injection moulding enables the efficient production of smaller parts with equal performance.
The need for highly resilient and precise
components is growing in virtually all
industrial sectors. With the injection
moulding of powdered materials (PIM)
you have access to a technology that
offers new design options for highly
complex components made from metal
(MIM) or ceramics (CIM). Consistently
high-quality parts with details down to
the micrometer range can be produced
in high volumes.
The great advantage: freedom of shape.
Like no other process, powder injection
moulding enables near-final-contour
part production, including internal
threads, difficult undercuts, gearings
and free-form surfaces. PIM parts display mechanical and material properties
which are comparable to those of conventional metal and ceramic parts. Technology of the future with high added
value – so why not benefit?
Expert consulting throughout the entire process chain
Unique ARBURG service range
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Example: laptop catches. Through the use of metal injection moulding, highly resilient components can be produced in any shape
for high-volume production.
Exploiting injection moulding potential
PIM technology enables the production of
complex parts in high unit volumes. The
production process can be highly automated, production can be quickly converted
to other products. ARBURG injection
moulding technology is equally flexible:
• with the modular range of hydraulic and
electric ALLROUNDERs
• with application-specific equipment
versions, e.g. for multi-component
• with the appropriate PIM-specific adaptation of the injection units in terms of geo­
metry and wear resistance
As a result and through close co-operation
with the leading material, mould and furnace technology manufacturers, ARBURG
develops optimum, customised, user-specific solutions.
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Reliably achieving quality
With the freely-programmable SELOGICA
control system on each ALLOUNDER, PIM
processing can be implemented for maximum quality long-term. This is ensured, not
only thanks to the position-regulated screw,
but also to the fully integrated robotic technology for gentle handling of the fragile
moulded parts, the so-called “green compacts”. Functions such as compression injection moulding and evacuation also ensure a high level of process stability and repeat accuracy.
The graphic symbols as well as the direct
plausibility checking during sequence programming permit a good overview, and ensure simple setup of even complex production processes. Moreover, numerous options
are available for optimising, monitoring and
documenting production processes.
Reliance on comprehensive support
ARBURG is also a pioneer on the market for
powder processing. Customers can rely on
the corresponding comprehensive consulting, technology and service offerings
throughout the process chain This is ensured by a cross-departmental team of PIM
specialists who have already set up several
hundred systems world-wide.
The support offerings range from material
selection and preparation, moulded partcompatible design, individual machine and
mould configuration, through to the
debinding and sintering process. Whether
for process optimisation, material or mould
testing: At ARBURG’s in-house powder laboratory, customer-specific tests can be performed and sample parts produced. Indepth training courses complete the unique
range of services.
Multi-stage: the manufacturing process
Nominal dim. mm
Tolerance +/- mm+/-
of nominal dimension
Extremely precise: meeting the strictest tolerances
Perfect preparation: powder properties decisive
Precise contours: injection moulding key to subse-
with powder injection moulding.
for process and component.
quent part quality.
Machining technology? Stamping
technology? Your product ideas can no
longer be implemented cost-effectively
in high unit volumes using conventional
production methods. It therefore makes
sense to take a closer look at powder
injection moulding. With this alternative method, you have almost unlimited
design freedom with regard to your
components, generate virtually no
waste and achieve a high degree of surface quality as well as dimensional stability. Time and cost-intensive reworking of parts is dispensed with. Your
production becomes highly economical
and efficient through the comprehensive linkage of all process steps. You
thus produce your PIM parts just as you
always expect to: reliably, flawlessly
and smoothly.
Feedstock preparation: mixing powder
with binder
In principle, all fine-grained, sinterable powders can be mixed with a suitable polymerbased binder and then processed on injection moulding machines. During mixing, the
binder and powder are mixed to a homogeneous compound, the feedstock. The selection of powder materials is extensive: In addition to the oxide ceramics and steels, hard
and precious metals as well as cermets can
also be used. Material manufacturers supply
a steadily growing selection of injectable
feedstocks for metals and ceramics, including magnetic versions, for example. Furthermore, customer-specific feedstocks can also
be developed and produced.
Injection moulding: moulded
part manufacture
For the injection moulding of powder materials, similar mould and process technology
is used as that for plastics processing. The
binder content of the feedstock is melted in
the plasticising unit through heat before being injected into the mould at high pressure. Robotic systems are generally used to
remove the hardened moulded part, the socalled “green compact”, from the mould
without damage.
Material and mould changes can be performed in a short time. “Just in time” production can be easily implemented, as can
unmanned volume production using the appropriate automation solutions.
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PIM laboratory
In order to demonstrate the complete
powder processing procedure to interested parties in practice, ARBURG has a
unique PIM laboratory.
Individually debinded: in suitable atmosphere,
High-quality sintering: moulded parts shrink iso-
dependent on binder and moulded part.
tropically, i.e. equally in all directions.
Debinding: removing polymer
During debinding, the polymer component
is removed from the green compact using
either a catalytic process, dissolving (e.g.
with water or acetone), or
thermal decomposition.
This process can be effectively supported by suitable
process control measures.
When the binder is removed,
the moulded part becomes what
is known as a “brown compact”.
In this condition, the parts are porous, fragile and relatively unstable. The
debinding system must be adapted to the
specific binder system employed.
Sintering: mechanically stable bonding
In order to securely bond the particles of
the brown compact, the part is sintered by
further heating. For this purpose, a certain
furnace atmosphere and temperature-time profile must
be maintained. The final
moulded part, which
becomes denser by 15 to
25 %, is produced by diffusion
and/or the formation of liquid phases
and grain growth. Injection moulded,
sintered parts are characterised by great
homogeneity and high material density.
Fine powders and suitable mould technology ensure outstanding surface qualities
and minimal tolerances.
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Here, all the steps from feedstock mixture,
preparation and injection moulding through
to debinding and sintering of the moulded
parts can be carried out under laboratory
conditions. In-depth consulting by experienced specialists is also available – on suitable powder/binder mixtures, for example, on
green compact production, on downstream
processes, as well as on machine and mould
design. A variety of test parts can be injection moulded on in-house moulds.
ARBURG also develops and tests feedstock
mixtures for customers. In order to optimise
the feed characteristics, the feedstock can be
processed into a homogeneous granulate.
Finally, the PIM laboratory is equipped with
the necessary facilities in order to perform
all the debinding processes currently available on the market.
Unlimited: the possibilities of modular machine tec
Effective savings: short sprues thanks to extended nozzle length.
Highly wear-resistant: powder-compatible nonreturn valves.
The injection moulding of ceramic or
metal powders does not differ significantly from the processing of filled
plastics. This especially applies to consistently high quality during volume
production. Faults in the moulded part
such as cracks, for example, can no
longer be remedied during subsequent
debinding and sintering.
We consequently place great value on
reproducible, flawless injection moulding production. Only then can you as a
PIM producer be on the safe side and
smooth-running production be ensured.
Basis: repeat accuracy
Thanks to three-platen technology, clamping
units with four tie-bar guidance and central
force application, as well as servo-regulated
mould movements, the clamping units ensure precise moulding, protection of the
mould and precise positioning. The high-precision technology effectively counteracts
burring. Depending on the requirements, hydraulic or electric machine options can be
used. Reproducible mould filling and particularly high moulded part quality are achieved
by means of the unique position regulation
of the screws. This minimises rejects.
Important: adapted plastification
With ARBURG, the non-return valve can
be configured according to the relevant
particle size of the powder, ensuring a high
degree of process stability, even in the case
of coarse powders. The geometry of the
PIM screws is always designed for the necessary low compression. Overheating and
decomposition of the feedstock is thus reliably prevented.
Effective powder processing
Sprues are kept short through extension of
the PIM nozzle length. The expensive feedstock is optimally utilized and the moulded
parts are always perfectly compressed. Owing to the abrasive properties of the powder/binder melt, the injection unit is designed to be extremely wear resistant.
Cost-effective operation with short setup
times is also important in the case of complex production processes. On the ALLROUNDERs, this is achieved through the
simple replacement of the cylinder module
and screw via the swivelling injection unit
and the central coupling of all the supply
connections for the cylinder module.
Further information:
Hydraulic ALLROUNDERs brochure
Electric ALLROUNDERs brochure
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PIM package
ARBURG has combined the necessary
basic equipment for optimum processing
of powder materials into one package.
As standard this includes:
• MIM or CIM cylinder module with specific
configuration of the non-return valve
• Extended PIM nozzle length
• Position-regulated screw
• Additional nozzle heater circuit
• Interfaces for vacuum devices
• SELOGICA functional expansions
Custom adapted: mould venting with modular
Careful handling: gentle part removal with
vacuum technology.
robotic system.
Wide variety of options
In principle, all ALLROUNDERs are suitable
for powder processing. The machines can
be individually adapted with a
• variety of hydraulic expansion stages
• flexible combination of injection and
clamping units
• various injection unit arrangement
options – e.g. for multi-component
injection moulding
• task-specific equipment packages – e.g.
for gas injection moulding technology or
in-mould lamination of green sheets.
Complete solutions precisely adapted to the
applications are created by means of integra­
ted peripherals and automation solutions,
for part removal and set-down, for example.
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There are also additional expansion options.
These include:
• Vacuum devices
• Robotic systems with various kinematics
• Universal compression injection moulding
via ejector or core pull
Suitable for all requirements: the SELOGICA control
Reliable evacuation
One important technique for powder processing is venting of the mould prior to injection. This prevents air inclusions, joint
line problems and binder migration, as well
as ensuring complete mould filling with
uniform filling characteristics. Venting can
be programmed with great flexibility via
dedicated symbols, whereby integration of
all common vacuum concepts is possible.
Moreover, SELOGICA also utilises signals
from vacuum devices for process and quality control. This ultimately results in the
transparent control and documentation of
the entire venting process directly on the
control screen.
User-friendly: simultaneous monitoring of robot
and machine sequence.
Maintaining control over sophisticated
machine, mould and robotic technology
is the domain of SELOGICA. With this
setting and monitoring system, you can
quickly set up both simple and complex
injection moulding processes, operate
them intuitively and perform reliable
optimisation. In other words: central
management. All technical features
of the SELOGICA control system, such
as the graphical sequence editor, are
also ideally suited for the processing of
powder materials and aimed at making
operation quicker, more reliable and
more convenient. Here too, ARBURG
provides you decisive application
advantages: because we have already
integrated all the necessary functions
for high-quality and cost-effective part
production in the SELOGICA system.
Further information:
SELOGICA control system brochure
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Universal compression
injection moulding
One important function for directed mould
filling without the formation of open jets is
compression injection moulding. Here, the
ejector or core pulls are actively moved during injection. The compression
sequence is both controlled
and freely-programmable via
SELOGICA, for example
through individual selection of
the starting conditions.
Fully integrated
Fully integrated peripherals
The SELOGICA central control system integrates all the necessary peripherals, for example robotic systems. To ensure particularly gentle part handling, all processes can
be programmed as a function of and synchronously with machine movements. As
part of the overall sequence, they appear
with dedicated symbols in the sequence
editor and can be centrally monitored.
• Control centre for the entire injection moulding technology
• Convenient sequence programming
with graphic symbols
• Immediate plausibility checks
• Freely programmable production
• Common data record for the entire
production unit
• Water-cooling for continuous
temperature control in the
control cabinet
injection moulding
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Application examples
Dependability: stable and reliable volume production with PIM system solutions from ARBURG.
Utmost precision: injection moulding of ceramic
ferrules to meet the sharpest of tolerances.
Due to the high degree of design
freedom with regard to the parts, the
wide range and combination of different materials and, above all, the costeffectiveness of the production process,
powder injection moulding is an ideal
process for reliably and effectively manufacturing complex components from
metal (MIM) or ceramics (CIM). Furthermore, technologies such as multicomponent injection moulding extend
the range of possible applications. In
addition to our innovative and sophisticated technology, from the standard
solution to the system solution, you can
also rely on our extensive expertise in
applications technology. Whenever you
need it. However you need it – for the
best, most cost-effective solutions.
MIM for combustion engines
One example of the high performance now
achieved in the injection moulding of metallic powder materials is demonstrated by the
high-toughness, high-strength intermediate
lever arm used for valve actuation (Valvetronic) in a six-cylinder BMW engine. This particular production example very clearly illustrates the benefits of the ALLROUNDER injection moulding technology. The production process runs extremely smoothly and
very reliably, even during shift operation.
This enables high-quality zero-faults production. The injection unit is adapted to the
specific requirements of the MIM process.
A highly competent Service department,
which is available at short notice, completes
ARBURG’s service offerings.
CIM with minimal tolerances
Ceramic ferrules are used for connecting
optical fibre bundles for data transmission.
The concentricity and the highly accurate
drilling of the through-hole measuring just
0.125 mm is a decisive factor with respect
to the quality of the components. In comparison to other production processes, the
ferrule can be manufactured with a higher
degree of precision when powder injection
moulding with a hydraulic ALLROUNDER is
used. This application allows ARBURG’s position-controlled screw to demonstrate its
full potential. Tolerances of ±10 μm are possible for concentricity, whereby the finishing
work is reduced to a minimum. Part removal via the MULTILIFT H robotic system
delivers additional process reliability.
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Three-fold combination: several materials can also
Great freedom: feedstocks can be individually
Red hot: the material properties are only achieved
be processed simultaneously.
developed and injection moulded.
during sintering.
Articulated metal joint
Multi-component injection moulding also
enables the combination of different powder materials in a single component. Here,
the different shrinkage characteristics of the
materials during sintering are exploited in
order to produce permanent, moveable connections that could not be manufactured by
conventional means. The ball joint is produced on a three-component ALLROUNDER.
Here, the third component only serves to
support the green compact and is removed
following sintering. The three injection
units, as well as all mould and robotic sequences can be fully integrated into the
central SELOGICA control system.
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Ceramic grinding disc
The efficient production of technical ceramic parts, grinding mechanisms for example, can be implemented using powder injection moulding. More stringent tolerances
can be met with regard to the injection
moulded parts, reducing the amount of coffee required for each cup. In order to produce the ceramic grinding discs, the melted
feedstock is injected into the mould using a
staged injection profile. The parameters are
specially adapted to the component being
produced. A MULTILIFT robotic system removes the grinding discs and sets then
down onto the debinder and sintering trays
in a specified pattern. The total cycle time is
between only 15 and 25 seconds.
Hard alloy radius milling cutter
Only with powder processing can hard alloy
cutting tools be produced without restrictions in terms of moulded part geometry.
Injection moulding enables the trouble-free
production of hard alloy cutters, including
simultaneous demoulding of an internal
thread for screwing the “disposable tips”
onto a shaft. Fully automatic production is
possible, saving time and expense. Owing
to the very short sprues, considerable material savings are also achieved. A wide variety of cutting geometries can be produced in the mould by simply changing replaceable inserts. Thanks to the PIM process, only regrinding of the seats and cutting edges is necessary.
Distances between tie bars from 170 x 170 to 920 x 920 mm | Clamping forces from 125 to 5,000 kN |
Injection units from size 30 to 4600 (according to EUROMAP)
With locations in Europe: Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Slovakia,
Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Hungary | Asia: People’s Republic of China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, United Arab Emirates | America: Brazil, Mexico, USA
For more information, please go to www.arburg.com.
© 2016 ARBURG GmbH + Co KG
The brochure is protected by copyright. Any utilisation, which is not expressly permitted under copyright legislation, requires the previous approval of ARBURG.
All data and technical information have been compiled with great care. However we accept no responsibility for correctness. Individual illustrations and information may deviate from the actual
delivery condition of the machine. The relevant valid operating instructions are applicable for the installation and operation of the machine.
DIN EN ISO 9001 + 14001 + 50001 certified
522785_EN_GB_012016 · Subject to alterations
Printed in Germany
Postfach 11 09 · 72286 Lossburg · Tel.: +49(0)7446 33-0 · Fax: +49(0)7446 33-3365 · www.arburg.com · e-mail: contact@arburg.com