This year marks the 35th anniversary of the emergence of a revolutionary new process that combines the traditional powder metallurgy process with plastic injection molding, resulting in the MIM (Metal Injection Molding) technology known today. AFT, one of the largest companies in Europe dealing with MIM technology, has been present in Hungary since 2001. Thanks to a number of advances over the past two decades, AFT’s technology results in significantly lower costs than traditional manufacturing processes while still producing top quality products. Proof of this is the two special prizes won at the 2021 Powdermet Conference!
What is Powdermet?
Held for the 57th time, Powdermet is a leading North American technical conference on powder metallurgy and granular materials, hosted in 2021 in Orlando, Florida. The conference is open to professionals from all walks of life, so AFT-Hungary Kft., as a member of the ARC Group Worldwide, was among the participants. One of the highlights of the annual Powdermet is the Powder Metallurgy Design Excellence Awards. These awards are a great recognition for companies using MIM technology, and this time two products developed by AFT-Hungary also entered the competition in the automotive and hardware categories. Both products were awarded special prizes.
Newly developed electric key fob:
For the engineering team involved, the development of the thin, long, multi-cut surface electronic key fob into serial production was a real test. Due to the product's narrow dimensions and safety-related use, particular care had to be taken to comply with industry guidelines. The product was put into production without machining, with 2 coining operations and gage-aided inspection.
Electric parking lock gear:
The production of the part with MIM, which was originally designed for plastic molding, was a serious challenge for engineers and tool designers. The one-step injection molding of inclined teeth running along a double spiral (helical gear) almost pushes the limits of the technology's possibilities. Thanks to the development, it was possible to create an element that can not only be manufactured, but also mass-produced without machining, which also meets the strict quality assurance principles of the automotive industry and was able to cut costs by 90% compared to traditional CNC machining.
These products could only have been produced with a significant amount of scrap material using other technologies, but the MIM technology practically does not produce waste, since the waste material can be used again after re-grinding.