Innovative new designs continue to lead steady growth for the traditional metal injection molding (MIM) industry. The medical market is a strong performer, while firearms—the traditional leader—is down significantly so far this year. That’s according to the new annual report from the Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF), which also released its design winners.
A MIM surgical keel punch made for Paragon Medical that functions as a broach to remove bone during knee surgery won the Grand Prize in the Medical/Dental. The part is molded net shape from 17-4 PH stainless steel The molder is the ARC Group Worldwide, Longmont, Colorado.
U.S. MIM sales rose 10 percent in 2016 to an estimated range of $350 million to $400 million, according to the MPIF. That adds up to 3–3.85 million pounds of metal powder.
Stainless steels and low-alloy steel represent an estimated 83 percent of powders consumed. Other MIM materials include also used are titanium, tool steels, Inconel 625 and 718, and tungsten carbide.
The industry includes about 25–30 commercial job-shop parts makers and 15–18 captive operations making medical & dental and firearms for their own products.