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Value-Added Part Consolidation with MIM

Complexity demands precision

Designing more complex geometries into a part is often a necessary and innovative way to solve a problem. But it can’t come at the cost of lowered performance. After all, performance is non-negotiable. When you’re producing highly complex or intricate components, you need consistently reliable performance during production.

Choosing the wrong production methods for complex parts could add costly secondary processes—deburring or chamfering on a stamped part, for instance, or assembling two dissimilar parts for one product—and introduce additional variance.

In the production process, some of the highest cost-drivers are associated with secondary operations and manual assembly. At the end of the day, both of these processes require more hands and possibly more manufacturers, and each of these factors adds cost.

That’s where metal injection molding comes in. MIM makes it possible to integrate and consolidate several components into a single, net-shape molded piece—reducing the need to work with several manufacturers and decreasing processing and assembly costs. And MIM makes it all possible without compromising performance.


This blog post is part of a longer white paper, The MIM Performance Dividend. Download the full free white paper at the bottom of the page.

Part consolidation

Complexity demands precision, and it historically goes hand-in-hand with added cost. But with MIM, you can achieve the complexity you require without an automatic price increase. The cost of MIM parts remains largely constant no matter the complexity, which translate to a higher up-front cost in tooling that leads to savings down the line.

With MIM, complexity isn’t an automatic price increase

Typically, when designing a component with several disparate parts, cost is hidden in the secondary operations, a lengthened supply chain, and tooling maintenance. When several separate parts are tooled, the need for assembly introduces additional providers into the supply chain. When production processes are outsourced, the handoff generates greater possibility for part variance and defect. The additional stop in the supply chain also adds time, which delays deliverability to market.

In addition to requiring secondary assembly, each singular part would require its own mold cavity, which drives up cost both with the initial purchase of several molds and later when the tooling wears down and needs to be replaced.

Consolidation and cost savings without compromising performance

While the decision to consolidate parts introduces an array of benefits, it can mean greater complexity, too. And that’s where design engineers traditionally have to weigh the trade-offs: on one hand, part consolidation has the potential to save weight, costs, and time; increase strength and performance; and even compress the supply chain. On the other, when using materials and processes that mismatch critical factors such as thermal expansion, joints, and adhesives, the resulting part could be compromised.

It doesn’t have to be this way. When parts are consolidated with MIM, the component is stronger and more cost-effective. In fact, it’s produced even closer to the original design intent than the assembly.

 When parts are consolidated with MIM, the component is stronger and more cost effective.

 MIM can incorporate many traditionally machined features into one net-shape molded part from one single mold cavity. Features may include internal and external threads, intersecting diameters, knurling, and customer-unique branding—all with the ability to scale economically as demand for your product increases. And since MIM can successfully consolidate into one molded part, each part can be sourced completely in-house.

While MIM tooling has a higher initial ticket price than our competitors who machine wrought stock, machine investment casting, and machine conventional permanent molding, MIM part cost remains constant with additional complexity and molded features.

This means traditional design limitations are lifted, and the number of parts that have to be purchased, tracked, and managed through inventory are reduced—and so are the trade-offs.

What we’re saying is that MIM adds value across your entire supply chain. You won’t just see ROI on the part itself, but throughout the whole value stream. With increased speed-to-market, guaranteed precision, and high-performing parts, you’ll see the benefits of MIM from start to finish of your production process.

Interested in learning more about how part consolidation lends value to your precision metal parts production? Download our free whitepaper below.


 

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Last updated 12.12.2019