History of Metal Injection Molding and Future Trend


Metal Injection Molding (MIM) can be traced back to the earliest MIM preparation of ceramic spark plug in 1920s。In the following decades, powder injection molding mainly focuses on ceramic injection molding.

Powder injection molding gradually transformed to metal injection molding oriented until 1979 Parmatech established by Wiech achieved two awards for MIM products, and Wiech and Rivers acquired patents. MIM companies were set up one after another, after Parmatech transferred out several patents. In 1980, Wiech established Witec, however, it was acquired by Brunswich which entered into MIM industry in 1982. Subsequently, Brunswick registered subsidiaries like Omark,Remington and Rocky. In 1986, a Japanese company Nippon Seison brought in Witec technology. Four years later, An Israeli company Metalor2000 and Parmatech brought in Wiech technology and built MIM production line.

Through two decades of development, total market value of global MIM products reached one billion US Dollar in 2003. According to regional division, United States occupied 55%, Europe and Japan followed next. Now there are more than 500 companies engaged in manufacturing and sales of MIM, about 40 suppliers for MIM powder and 20 feedstock suppliers. Statistically, global forming capability has gone beyond 700 sets of injection machines, 500 sets of furnaces and 300 sets of mixing mills. Marko Maetzig specifically analyzed European market, there were 120 companies, 30 research agencies engaged in MIM and 250 injection machines consuming 1100 tonnes of feedings per year. 38% of European MIM companies transformed from traditional ceramic industry, 27% from plastic industry, 8% from traditional powder metallurgy and metal cutting, 5% from casting industry and new company about 14%. Now there are 20-30 MIM companies in Japan and its MIM market is steadily rising in recent years. Although it dropped from 2000 to 2001, total sales in aggregate showed a stable upward trend.

MIM technology is experiencing a fast expanding situation, so there is more attention focusing on MIM industry. However, its scale remains in the early stage in comparing to the traditional manufacturing businesses, it therefore leads to an enormous potential of future development. We need to draft commercial standard, to accelerate commercialization, to improve practitioner ethic, R&D, to develop markets and such hardworking to grow the newborn MIM field. As technology is developing, MIM is showing its advantage, hence, it is foreseeable that MIM is accepted by different industries and various customers. One thing leads to another, market share for MIM production is increasing quickly. Thanks to tremendous potential, many venture investments have started to enter into MIM industry. MIM is forecasted to be one of the brightest future parts manufacturing techniques.

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