Q & A
Frequently asked questions
Q, Do you have experience in precious metal materials such as platinum?
A, Certainly. We have developed feedstocks from the binder development, and also produced prototypes of iridium, palladium, gold, and silver alloys in addition to platinum parts.
Q, What materials are often employed in MIM?
A,The most applied material is stainless steel series. Titanium-based alloys are coming in next which MIM is advantageous in many cases as they are difficult-to-cut materials.
Q, We are interested in metals other than the material selection you provide.
A,We are able to start from the investigation of materials. This will take time for the development period and it will cost for sintering examination, evaluation and inspection in such cases.
Q, Can MIM use aluminium or aluminium alloy?
A,Aluminium is one of the difficult materials for MIM due to its low melting point. We have a trial production record, but no mass production experience.
Size and dimension
Q, How thin could a component be?
A,It depends on the shape of components, therefore we have to examine the production possibility according to your drawing. We have produced components with wall thickness of less than 0.1mm, while the conventional MIM normally achieves only 0.5mm.
Q, Can you produce metal components that are larger than 30mm?
A,We would like to consider the whole design such as wall thickness and the shape etc. according to your drawings.
Q, I am interested in the dimensional accuracy you can achieve. Do you definitely have to have the post processing to achieve tight tolerances?
A,In general, the conventional MIM realises tolerances of ± 0.5% for each dimension, but we can reach half of this record or sometimes even tighter. It depends on the shape of components as they could deform during the sintering process. Therefore, we need to review your drawings and we would propose tolerance relaxation at some point(s) of the components, if necessary.
Q, To what extent has the grade of micro gears been proven?
A,We have produced gears equivalent to grade 3. The size of our extreme-small gear is outside the JIS standard. How small the gears could be depends on design and material, so please consult with us.
Q, What is the surface roughness feasible by μ-MIM®?
A,Ra = 0.2 -1.6, depending on the type of metal and the particle size of the powder.
Q, How many components are you able to produce per month?
A,We have produced one million pieces of the components per month, but the maximum production quantity varies depending on its size and shape of the part. We are capable of production with more numbers. In such cases, it might require additional initial cost because of the increase in the number of cavities.
Q, Do you set the minimum lot?
A,Not really, but MIM technology is a serial production technology, which means it is suitable for a larger quantity. Especially because you have to invest in the mould, it will not make sense if you would like to have only a few hundred to thousands parts.
Q, Are moulds created in your facility?
A,We design the mould ourselves in consultation with our mould partner and order mould manufacturing to our reliable partner companies depending on what type of components they are, how complicated the design of the mould should be and so on.
Q, Can you inform an average cost for a MIM mould?
A,The mould cost varies depending on the shape of your components. A slide should be added for the complicated design, which costs more than the other one without this function.
Q, How long is the standard delivery date?
A,First, we need 1 - 1.5 month(s) for mould manufacturing. After that, the first sample parts are dispatched to you in the next 2-4 weeks (depending on whether we need any secondary process etc.).
The on-time delivery would be feasible if you order mass production about a month before the desired delivery date on condition that you give us the 6 months forecast beforehand.
Q, How do you measure the MIM components?
A,We carry out measurement of components upon discussion with our customers. Normally, we pick a few components randomly from a production lot and examine their quality.