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The CIM Process

CIM Process Description - Ceramic Injection Molding 

 

CIM is a combination of particulate materials, injection molding, and sintering sciences. Complex shapes are achievable in ultra-hard materials that are difficult, costly, or impossible to form through traditional processes. CIM is also able to combine multiple components that previously required assembly.

The CIM Proces (Ceramic Injection Molding)

View CIM Process Movie (4.35MB)

1. Moldmaking

In house mold design and mold building with CAD-CAM technology, building the CIM product to the exact CAD drawing.

2. Feedstock Preparation

Ceramic powder is selected based on our customer's requirements, along with careful attention to particle size, shape, and distribution. Under carefully monitored conditions, these powders are blended with proprietary binders and additives to enable the mixture to flow. Resulting feedstock properties are monitored as part of SPT's commitment to quality and lot traceability.

3. Molding

Specially tailored injection molding machines are used to inject the feedstock into a mold, which is similar to plastic injection molding design. However, the tooling requires very tight tolerances and wear-resistant components to stand up to the abrasive powders being molded. Fully automated molding ensures consistency and automates Statistical Process Control (SPC) data collection.

4. On-Line Inspection

SPT has developed innovative monitoring techniques, allowing inspection of internal features, even in opaque materials. This in-process inspection provides real-time feedback, reducing costs and improving quality.

5. Debind

Next, the binders are removed via evaporation and exothermic reaction, leaving a fraction of binder material behind. Elimination of solvents in debinding is evidence of SPT's commitment to environmental stewardship.

6. Sintering

Depending on the material, parts are next sintered in either an oxidizing atmosphere, a reducing atmosphere, or in vacuum.

7. Densification

For certain applications, CIM parts undergo hot isostatic pressing (HIP) in order to increase density and strength.

8. Post Manufacturing 

For applications demanding surface finish or precision beyond as-sintered capabilities, finishing operations are available. Having the opportunity to utilize our highly skilled workforce in Singapore, Philippines, and China, SPT is able to deliver exceptional tolerances at economical prices.

9. Final Inspection

SPT works with our customers early in the development process to define inspection and reporting requirements. Using the latest metrology equipment, we ensure components conform to specification.

 
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