Titanium metal injection molding (TiMIM) is a viable and competitive manufacturing method for small, complex titanium components. Once regarded as unfeasible or prohibitively expensive, TiMIM is rapidly being adopted as a go-to forming method for mid to high volume titanium implants.
This is especially true now, when the cost of titanium has risen by about 50%. The injection molding process creates substantial cost savings over conventional multi-axis machining and provides high-performance parts certified to ASTM medical specifications.
Combat Rising Titanium Costs by Reducing Material Waste
The cost savings of TiMIM come in part from a significant reduction in material waste. In fact, TiMIM produces almost no material waste, meaning manufacturers can make more parts with less titanium.
Unlike traditional casting or CNC machining, TiMIM produces near-net-shape parts that require minimal post processing. The use of injection molding relaxes design for manufacturability considerations and expands design flexibility.
In the TiMIM process, titanium alloy powder is combined with a binder to form a feedstock, which is then injected into a mold. After debinding, sintering, and hot isostatic pressing, the parts emerge in nearly their final form and may require only minor secondary processing, depending on the tolerances and surface finish required.
Benefits Specific to the Medical Industry
Although TiMIM is useful for many industries, its benefits are particularly suited for medical use.
Some of the best use cases for TiMIM are small and complex parts, high volume parts, and parts that require characteristics such as design flexibility, corrosion resistance, biocompatibility, or hermeticity. For example, TiMIM’s ability to produce parts to very tight tolerances (within 0.1-0.3%) and effectively zero porosity results in high-quality hermetic seals.
Concerning biocompatibility, it isn’t enough just to start with medical-grade titanium powder. Praxis Technology specializes in TiMIM for medical applications and our facility is dedicated solely to processing titanium. This eliminates the risk of contamination from other metals and helps ensure biocompatibility.
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