Ceramic Injection Molding Process

The CIM-Process - Ceramic Injection Molding

The CIM process combines solids through injection molding and sintering techniques. In this way, very hard materials can be used to produce complex shapes that would be too difficult, too expensive or impossible to produce using conventional methods. The ceramic injection molding process can also be used to connect components that previously had to be assembled.

1. Injection Molding Tool

The injection molding tool is designed and built in-house with CAD/CAM technology. This means that the ceramic part can be manufactured exactly according to the CAD drawings.

2. Raw Material Preparation

The ceramic powder is selected based on the customer's requirements and taking into account the grain size, shape and distribution. Under carefully monitored conditions, the various types of powder are mixed with special binders and additives to obtain a mixture that is ready for injection molding. The properties of the resulting raw material are recorded precisely by SPT as part of quality control and for batch tracing.

3.  Injection Molding

Purpose-built injection molding machines are used to fill the raw material into the molds, which are similar to the molds for the plastic injection molding process. The machine configuration requires very tight tolerances and wear-resistant components that must be able to withstand the abrasive powders. The fully automatic molding process guarantees uniform consistency and ensures the automation of statistical process data collection (Statistical Process Control/SPC).

4. In Process Control

SPT has developed innovative monitoring techniques that make it possible to monitor the internal properties of opaque materials. This monitoring during the molding process provides data in real time, which can reduce costs and increase quality.

5. Thermal Post-Treatment

Binder removal: Next, the binder is removed from the so-called preform through evaporation and an exothermic reaction, leaving only a fraction of the binder behind. The way solvents are disposed of during the binder removal stage demonstrates SPT's commitment to environmental protection.

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

Subsequent compression (HIP): For certain applications, the injection molded parts can be treated again using hot isostatic pressing (HIP) in order to increase their density and strength.

6. Post-Processing

Various processing methods are available for applications that require a certain surface quality or precision that exceed the quality achieved through sintering. Thanks to the possibility to fall back on our highly qualified employees in Singapore, China and the Philippines, SPT is able to adhere to exceptional tolerances and to deliver goods at economical prices.

7. Final Inspection

SPT works closely with the customer to define control and evaluation criteria as early as during the design phase. State-of-the-art measuring technology is used to ensure that the manufactured parts comply with the technical specifications.