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Home,News,News & information,MIM materials facing the 5G era


MIM materials facing the 5G era

2021.07.175gmim material

Deloitte’s "Connectivity and Mobility Trend Report" shows that 67% of the surveyed users said they would choose to buy a mobile phone compatible with 5G networks, and 16% of the surveyed users said that their next mobile phone would choose to have 5G capabilities.

According to data from China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, domestic 5G mobile phone shipments were 63.597 million units in 1H20, with a penetration rate of 41.5%.

Ring metal protection frame, connector interface and other parts.

What is MIM?

MIM (Metal Injection Molding), that is, metal powder injection molding, is a molding method in which a plasticized mixture of metal powder and its binder is injected into a model, with a high technical content. To put it simply, MIM is to mix metal powder and binder uniformly and process them into various shapes of metal devices. It is suitable for mass production of small, precise, three-dimensional metal parts with complex shapes and special performance requirements.

MIM is a typical cross-border product of disciplines, which integrates two completely different processing technologies (plastic injection molding and powder metallurgy). It enables designers to get rid of the traditional shackles and obtain low-priced and special-shaped stainless steel, nickel, iron, copper, titanium and other metal parts by plastic molding, thus having greater design freedom than many other production processes.

Compared with traditional metal forming technology (such as machining, precision casting, traditional powder metallurgy), MIM has higher economy, higher product complexity, wider range of material selection, higher product density, higher dimensional accuracy, and volume. With seven major advantages such as more flexible production capacity and higher raw material utilization rate, MIM is quickly promoted in specific application scenarios (high requirements for shape complexity, high material performance requirements, etc.).

MIM process

1) Evaluation

First, it is necessary to determine whether the product to be processed is suitable for MIM manufacturing in terms of cost, material, and manufacturing feasibility. At the same time, the company will also give suggestions to change the design in order to achieve optimization effects through MIM.

2) Raw materials

The special metal powder (micron level) is mixed with high-quality high molecular polymer, and the MIM special feed is formed through a precisely controlled preparation process. Compared with traditional powder metallurgy, the particle size of metal powder (micron level) and extremely low impurity content ensure that the MIM sintered density reaches 98% of the theoretical density; and a variety of specially formulated polymers can provide good injection performance The fluidity can also ensure efficient degreasing ability.

3) Injection

Use the injection machine to heat the MIM feed and evenly fill it into the mold cavity. After cooling, the MIM injection blank is obtained. The matching of molds that meet the characteristics of MIM and reasonable process is the key to this process.

4) Degreasing

A professional degreasing furnace is used to gradually and efficiently remove the main body binder in the injection blank, and the remaining skeleton binder maintains the shape of the product so that the degreased parts can be moved into the firing stage.

5) Sintering

In the MIM vacuum furnace or atmosphere furnace, the framework binder is removed, and the metal powder is densified into a complete metal body at a temperature close to the melting point, and a sintered part with a nearly finished shape is obtained after cooling.

MIM advantage

1) Extremely high degree of design freedom

Compared with other metal forming methods, MIM can manufacture more complicated parts. Basically all the structures that can be realized by injection molds can be applied to MIM.

2) More material choices

Almost all metal materials can be used for MIM. Considering economy, the main application materials include iron-based, nickel-based, copper-based, and titanium-based metals or alloys.

3) Excellent physical and chemical properties

Because the sintered density of MIM is very close to the theoretical density, its physical and chemical properties are also very good, such as mechanical strength, which greatly surpasses traditional powder metallurgy.

4) Exquisite appearance

The surface roughness (Ra) of MIM sintered blanks can reach 1μm, and the dazzling appearance can be obtained through various surface treatment methods.

5) Higher dimensional accuracy

MIM can generally achieve tolerance accuracy of ± 0.5%, and with other processing methods, higher dimensional accuracy can be obtained.

6) Powerful and flexible mass production capacity

MIM can flexibly adjust and rapidly increase the output, from a few hundred pieces per day to more than hundreds of thousands per day and can respond quickly.

7) Environmental protection processing concept

The raw material utilization rate is close to 100%, which is a near-net forming technology, which can effectively avoid material waste.

Application division of domestic MIM market

MIM has outstanding advantages in the application of camera brackets. It is estimated that the potential market size of MIM multi-camera brackets will exceed 7 billion yuan. In recent years, the penetration rate of rear-mounted three-camera and four-camera has gradually increased. With the increase in the number of cameras, the internal structure of the module has become denser and more complicated. The MIM camera bracket has higher economic efficiency, higher product complexity, and higher dimensional accuracy. With high advantages, it is expected that the penetration rate of the MIM process in the three-camera and four-camera stents will increase rapidly in the future.

With the increasing volume of folding screen mobile phones, folding screen hinges are expected to become the next new growth point of the MIM process. 2019 is the first year of folding screen mobile phones. Many smart phone companies have launched folding screen phones. Samsung launched Galaxy Fold and Huawei launched Mate X. There are still less than one million folding mobile phones in the world in 2019, and it is expected to exceed 10 million in 2021.

Since the hinge hinge supports the folding function, it is a key component of the folding screen mobile phone, which almost determines the success or failure of the folding screen. It must be light and thin, and more than a hundred components such as connection and heat dissipation must be embedded, and reliability must be ensured.

Compared with the bearing technology of notebook computers, folding mobile phone hinges have higher requirements for precision, durability, strength, and lightness, and are more technically difficult. MIM has the advantages of a wider selection of materials and higher product complexity, which perfectly meets the needs of folding mobile phone hinges. It is expected that the MIM market will grow in the future as the volume of folding screen mobile phones increases.

The current domestic MIM is less used in the automobile market, while North America and Europe are more used in the automobile market. The amount of powder metallurgy parts in North America, Europe, and Japan is 18.6kg, 7.2kg, 8kg, and China is only 4.5kg. Considering that MIM meets the development trend of "miniaturization, integration, and light weight" of auto parts, the future market space is broad.

MIM market size

The MIM market has grown steadily in recent years. According to MPIF, the global MIM market reached US$2.6 billion in 2018, with a compound growth rate of 7% from 2015 to 2018. According to BCC Research, the global MIM market compound growth rate from 2018 to 2023 is expected to be 7.5%;

According to the Powder Metallurgy Branch of the China Iron and Steel Association, the size of China's (excluding Taiwan) MIM market in 2018 was approximately 6 billion yuan, with a compound growth rate of 6% from 2015 to 2018.

At present, China's MIM market accounts for 40% of the global market and is the world's largest market. North America and Europe MIM markets account for 17% of the global market, and they are also important markets in the world. China's MIM market applications mainly focus on consumer electronics industries such as mobile phones, with mobile phone applications accounting for 66%.

Seeing this, do you suddenly feel the power of MIM! ?

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