Global Metal and Ceramic Injection Molding Market: Emergence of New Alternative Products to Retrain Market Growth
Metal and ceramic injection molding have emerged as the key technologies used to manufacture end-components such as medical equipment, automotive components, and electronic gadgets. These power injection molding techniques let metals including titanium alloys, soft magnetic alloys, stainless steel, and low-alloy steels as well as ceramic to be machined with high precision and accuracy to manufacture components for a number of industries. The global metal and ceramic injection molding market is estimated to be worth US$3.5 bn by 2020. The overall market stood at a valuation of US$1.6 bn in 2013 and is anticipated to expand robustly at a CAGR of 11.50% during the period between 2014 and 2020.
The key end-user industries in the global metal and ceramic injection molding market include industrial machinery, medical and healthcare, aerospace, automotives, industrial machinery, consumer products, and others including defence and electronics. Automotive sector has been the biggest end-user segment in the overall market. In 2013, the sector accounted for more than 20% in the global metal and ceramic injection molding market.
In the automotive industry, metal alloys are the most common materials used for gears owing to their high strength values and wear resistance properties. Metal alloys are heat-treated to gain the appropriate combination of toughness required for gears. Lately, ceramic and metal injected materials have become popular choices while choosing an alternative material for gears. Ceramic and metal injection pieces can be manufactured in large numbers and are easy to produce than steel alloys. Gears produced with the help of ceramic and metal injection molding offer higher durability. Metal alloys tend to break down during wear. Zirconia oxide, a common ceramic used for injection molding, is wear- and heat-resistant compared to alloy steels. This has led automotive manufacturers to prefer gears manufactured through ceramic injection molding technique.
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Metal injection molding or MIM technology helps to create massive steel parts with complex features, without the need for secondary machining processes. The high surface quality parts manufactured through this technology requires little or no reworking.
Bulk Metallic Glass: The Future Replacement for Metal and Ceramic Injection Molding
However, both metal and ceramic injection molding technologies have their own drawbacks. Metal and ceramic injection molding suffer from low fracture toughness. The high melting point of ceramics leads to high cost of final shaping process. The size of ceramic parts also contributes to higher manufacturing cost. The cost of manufacturing parts through metal injection molding is also very high owing to multi-stepped process of the technology.
Considering the disadvantages of metal and ceramic injection molding technologies, research studies are being carried out for alternative material for gears. Bulk metallic glass or BMG is a designed compound possessing combined mechanical properties of crystalline metals and ceramics such as low melting temperature, high strength, and resistance to wear and tear. As a result, BMG is being seen as the future replacement for metal and ceramic injection molding.
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