From Chassis to Powertrain: Metal Injection Molding's Future 2005-01-0631
Metal Injection Molding displaces traditional methods of machining, casting, and forming due to its unique ability to produce precision, complex shapes at lower cost without sacrificing engineering properties. Yet in the automotive industry this technology is underutilized. By the same token, whether the application is in a door or an engine, processes must have evolved to the point where their efficacy can be proven in the areas of Design for Manufacturing (DFM), preproduction approval (PPAP), statistical process control (SPC), material standards and properties, component precision, and cost control to name a few. We present several case studies showing the current state of the art in MIM best practices and how MIM is providing the automotive engineer with a new set of net-shape solutions to meet the latest design challenges. Components that have replaced plastic parts, machined gear assemblies, housings, and castings will be shown with emphasis on rules, robustness, and repeatability of the processing steps. Lastly, we will look to the future and how current R&D thrusts will lead the MIM industry to greater use in power trains over the next ten years.