Investment casting is the oldest metal molding process. The method entails using a wax pattern to create a ceramic mould as molten metal is poured into the mold to create the part. For steel injection molding (MIM), binder materials are placed into finely powdered steel to form feedstock. Then injection molding equipment takes the feedstock to structure and harden it into parts.
MIM first started in the Eighties and is still considered new technology. Investment casting continues to be sought after for many production lines. Figuring which strategies to use will depend on various factors.
Investment casting works with a broad variety of materials and can face up to higher temperatures. So metals can melt definitely as the ceramic does not quickly cool off in the course of the pour. This advantage allows clients to have more options when deciding on the metal that would be appropriate for their applications.
MIM is only suitable for metals that possess greater melting temperatures and for those that do not structure strong oxides. Metals such as titanium, zinc, or aluminum would not be appropriate with this process.
Size and Volume
Both MIM and investment casting can be used for small parts manufacturing for easy and complex geometries. They both work properly for parts with very tight tolerances. In the case of MIM, this method is appropriate for parts that require very thin wall sections, weigh much less than 20 grams, or have a length that is less than 100mm.
MIM is suitable for production extent runs that have 5000 pieces or more in a batch. As for funding casting, this process also works nicely for parts of varying weights and sizes, inclusive of ones that weigh less than 20 grams. Investment casting is versatile for low to high manufacturing volumes.
Tooling costs for MIM are more high priced than for investment casting. That’s why MIM is used for high batch runs. Customers may pick investment casting when requiring more reasonably-priced tooling costs for low production runs and when needing prototyping work.
Both investment casting and MIM affords exceptional surface finishes with minimal or none secondary machining required.