Key Features and Components of High-Performance Vacuum MIM Sintering Furnaces
By Jerald Balinnang, Craig Moller and Geoffrey Somary, Ipsen
Throughout the last two to three decades, the use of increasingly complex MIM parts has expanded into a wide range of diverse applications and industries. The growing demand for high-quality components with tighter geometrical tolerances, as well as more powerful material properties, has continuously triggered the integration of the MIM process into the production lines of various industries, including Automotive, Medical and Consumer Goods manufacturing. Higher power densities in modern car engines, power trains or mechanical machineries require the miniaturization of mechanical systems that offer large potential for innovative and cost-efficient production technologies. Furthermore, the enhanced functionality of intricate MIM parts can also lead to reduced assembly costs when mass-producing products such as premium-designed notebook computers or mobile phones. However, to meet the increasing number of technical specifications and requirements of the industry, the potential for further improvements to the accuracy and efficiency of the MIM process equipment must be explored.
Modern vacuum furnaces with innovative solutions for binder removal and process management systems help further improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the industrial MIM process. For its economic success, the capital and operational costs of specialized MIM furnaces must be kept within reasonable limits. The latest developments in furnace technology - which were presented in this paper - will help to fulfill the technical and commercial requirements of MIM manufacturers who directly compete with other part production methods, such as investment casting and machining. Additionally, manufacturing cost per part in larger vacuum MIM furnaces can be significantly reduced and are now comparable to those realized in continuous atmosphere MIM furnaces.For more information on debinding and sintering furnaces, contact Mark Heninger.