Ceramic & Metal Injection Molding for Automotive Applications 2001-01-3844
Traditional application for metal injection molding or ceramic injection molding have been small net shaped parts exhibiting design and economic benefit over wrought or cast components. A new water based agar binder system for metal and ceramic injection molding has been developed that offers the ability to produce large thick parts in range of 1 to 2 kg which are competitive with those produced by investment casting. Other significant advantages of this system are a clean and rapid debind and the ability to mold into soft tooling. As a result, savings are achieved not only by eliminating machining and other processing steps but also by reduced development and inventory costs. This technology is applied to a variety of automotive applications such as; EGR System, Exhaust System, Oxygen Sensors, Electrical Components, Engine Components, etc. Many of these applications require demanding mechanical properties. For an example the average tensile properties of the 17-4PH stainless steel alloy is compared against wrought and cast properties, tensile properties were essentially equivalent to wrought and exceed typical cast properties. Due to the relative low molding pressure and temperature required for water based agar binder, soft tooling may be employed in place of hardened tools for production runs less than 10,000 parts. Primary materials using water based agar binding systems are; Stainless Steel, Alumina, Zirconia, Steatite and other metal alloys. This injection molding process allows to economically compete with large net shaped process techniques such as Investment Casting. Additionally, Ceramics and Metal Alloy Injection Molding can combine several machined or cast components into one cost-effective product eliminating several manufacturing steps.
The importance of this paper is that it allows designers and engineers to utilize Ceramics and Metal Alloys Injection Molding Technology to create new high performance systems for the automotive industry.