Metal Molding Machines

Table of Contents

Metal molding machines produce precision net shape components from metallic powders via powder injection molding (PIM) for automotive, aerospace, medical and other demanding applications. This guide provides an overview of PIM equipment types, process steps, key specifications, leading manufacturers and comparative assessment.

metal molding machine Overview

Metal molding machines facilitate powder injection molding – a near net shape forming process providing complexity and precision at high volumes:

ProcessThermoplastic injection molding of fine metal powders followed by debinding and sintering
MetalsStainless steels, tool steels, titanium, tungsten heavy alloys, nickel superalloys etc.
AttributesComplexity, Accuracy, Productivity, Automation
ApplicationsAuto, Aerospace, Medical, Electronics
ScaleSmall, medium and high volume production

Cost-effectively combining design freedom and mechanical properties between plastic molding and machining makes PIM suitable for small intricate components like turbocharger rotors and skull plates.

metal molding machine

metal molding machine Types

Machine TypeDescription
Injection moldingPrecision molding machinery for first stage metal powder compaction at low pressures
DebindingThermal or solvent equipment removing binder before sintering
Sintering furnaceDensity consolidation of brown parts via heating below melting point

Complete PIM lines integrate these primary stations with supplementary equipment like mixers, feeders, robots and post-processing machines.

Process Steps

  1. Mixing – Fine metal powder is homogenously blended with thermoplastic binders
  2. Injection molding – Feedstock compounds into precision tool cavities through molding machines
  3. Debinding – Binder removal via thermal or chemical solvent techniques
  4. Sintering – Brown parts densified into final components reaching 95-99% solid metal densities
  5. Post processing – Secondary machining, joining or surface enhancement

Correct sequencing and optimized parameters are critical to cost-effectively maximizing mechanical properties.

Machine Specifications

ModuleKey Parameters
Injection moldingShot capacity, clamping force, injection rate, Homogeneity, precision
DebindingAtmosphere control, temperature uniformity, contamination prevention
SinteringTemperature, atmosphere, dwell times, quench rates
Post processingTolerancing, surface finish requirements

Medical or aerospace components demand tighter specifications and standards compliance verification than commercial fittings.

Leading Manufacturers

CompanyModelsCost Range
ARBURGAllrounder range$150,000-$750,000
MilacronRoboshot, Elektron, Magna$100,000-$650,000
NisseiPS,PN, Hyelectric series$250,000-$800,000
ToshibaEC,ET,EV Series$200,000-$700,000

Larger shot capacities, special platens, clean room or robotic automation increase costs. Consider overall production volumes when investing.

Comparative Assessment

Injection MoldingDebindingSintering
Cycle timeMinutesHoursDays
Operating costsMediumLowHigh
Capital costsHighMediumVery high for large scale
Design flexibilityHighMediumLow

Key Takeaways

  • Total powder injection molding production cost dictate equipment investments scaled to volume
  • Overall part complexity and quality targets drive specifications
  • Integrated modeling and process monitoring enables defect reduction
metal molding machine


Q: What size press is optimal for 10000 parts per year?

A: 50-80 ton presses with <100g shot capacities facilitate suitable medium volumes cost-effectively. Integrate automation for optimal productivity.

Q: Are there material limitations for sintering furnaces?

A: Beyond 1900°C, options narrow significantly. Vacuum, protective atmospheres or inert environments may be necessary for reactive alloys. Continuous belt furnaces offer very large sintering scales.

Q: What determines injection molding machine productivity in PIM?

A: Shot capacity, dry cycle time and automation level primarily dictate hourly part output. Secondary factors include changeover, maintenance, mold design and heating/cooling rates.

Q: How tall can PIM parts be practically molded?

A: Keep height below 25mm for metals like stainless steel. For materials like tungsten alloys with high shrinkage, 15mm height is recommended maximum. Optimize gate positioning and mold venting.

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