What is CIM?
The CIM process begins with very fine ceramic powders. Using sophisticated mixing technology the powders are compounded with thermoplastic binders to produce a homogeneous pelletised feedstock.
The binders form a liquid medium which carries the ceramic powders into the mould during the injection stage. Using an injection moulding machine similar to that used in conventional plastic moulding, the molten feedstock is forced into a mould cavity forming a net shape part. Moulds can be single or multi-cavity configurations.After forming the part it then goes through two thermal processes. First is pyrolysis to remove the binder, followed by sintering in a high temperature kiln to form a fully dense ceramic component. During sintering the component shrinks uniformly by as much as 20% while retaining the complex shape. With good process control close tolerances can be obtained, therefore machining of the part after sintering is usually not necessary.
Ceramic powders and organics are added to a special mixing device and intimately mixed together
The resultant mix is granulated and fed into an injection moulding machine
A ‘ram’ forces the ceramic into a ‘heated zone’ that liquifies the binder and allows the ceramic to flow under pressure into a mould
The mould and the formed ceramic component is cooled quickly to form a solid
The mould is split and the solid ceramic component is ejected
For other process animations showing the CIM process please click here.