Frequently Asked Questions

Questions?

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Primarily steels and stainless steels, however, copper, heavy alloys, tool steels, and even titanium are possible

Conventional MIM requires a higher cost and longer lead-time tool. ProtoMIM is the quickest most economical method to get real MIM parts.

Aluminum has been metal injection molded, however, it has never been significantly commercialized.

ProtoMIM is best used when you are not 100% sure on your design and also when you need to be first to market with a new product launch.

Titanium is extremely reactive and can pick-up oxygen and carbon during MIM if the proper precautions are not used.

Yes, APP can manufacture both internal and external threads on MIM components. The threads can either be done as a secondary or incorporated into the tool. The use of as-molded threads will depend upon the volume of components to be manufactured and the tolerance requirements of the threads.

MIM components are typically 10-20 grams, but can be as small as a few milligrams or as large as 250 grams. MIM components typically fit in your hand.

APP likes to have a flat surface to set the part for sintering. When a flat surface is available the client avoids extra sintering fixture expenses. APP does manufacture many MIM parts that do not have a flat surface. In this case, APP builds some form of ceramic support to limit distortion during sintering.

MIM components typically have a wall thickness of 0.050”
to 0.400”. Wall thickness less than 0.010” and larger than 0.600” should be avoided.

Yes, APP parts have a good density and microstructure which makes them ideal for sintering.

Yes, MIM components can be heat treated to similar hardnesses as wrought materials; however, MIM components can have porosity which could show hardness readings less than true levels. In this case, micro hardness measurements should be used.

Yes, APP has developed over 300 different alloy mixtures over its 15 year life. Only about 30 of these alloys are in production, but we have developed different alloy systems for many different applications.

Yes, MIM components can be plated the same as other metal processes. The concern with plating is that the MIM material must have a density of at least 94% density to eliminate any porosity that can trap plating solutions that will later cause undesirable corrosion response.

APP can develop and manufacture components more quickly than any other MIM company. Further, APP prides itself on its alloy fabrication capabilities.

Yes, MIM titanium alloys and ASTM F2886 (Co-Cr) alloys are known to be implantable. If wrought stainless steel is used in implantable applications, 316L stainless steel can be used in implantable applications.

Yes, APP has multiple components that are in production for over molding. The key to overmolding MIM components is to limit parting lines in the area that the overmolding tool will shut off.

MIM properties are typically slightly inferior to wrought properties, but show superiority to most cast alloy properties. MIM properties are typically 90-95% of wrought. Properties can be made equivalent or in some cases superior to wrought properties if the parts are hot isostatic pressed.

Yes, APP does manufacture components from multiple alloys in the same tool. This is highly successful for prototyping to define the proper alloy for an application. This is done with production tools too, but the tool may require special inserts in critical dimension areas.

316L and MP35N alloys are strengthened by work hardening. When these alloys are processed using conventional methods, they are machined or worked, and this causes them to strengthen. MIMed 316L and MP35N are solution annealed after sintering, thus they are softer than their wrought counterparts.

APP tooling shrink ranges from 1.17 to 1.25. This depends upon the alloy and the starting raw material.

Yes, APP not only metal injection molds components, we also machine, heat treat, and surface coat according to our clients requirements.

Yes, APP is unique in that we manufacture our own MIM feedstock and have the ability to process Catamold tools.