Design Guide

MIM Overview

MIM Applications

Markets for MIM are broad, and have grown from dental, medical, and firearm applications to include automotive, industrial, sporting, jewelry, hand tools, aerospace, computer, cell phone, and others. Consumer products include watches, latches, eyeglass hinges, and luggage clasps.

This tabulation shows that industrial components (valves, fittings, connectors) are the broadest market focus, followed by consumer (kitchen tools, toothbrush parts, scissors), and electronic components (heat sinks, hermetic packages, connectors). Automotive and medical are fast growing areas, especially in North America.

Consumer, cell phone, and computer uses continue to grow. Firearms went through a rapid escalation in recent years and essentially all of the firms are now using MIM. Industrial, hand tool, and household applications remain strong and steady, and include valve, plumbing, spraying, wrenches, multi-tools, pepper grinders, scissors, circular saws, nailing guns, and similar devices. Automotive applications for MIM started to escalate with use in turbochargers, fuel injectors, control components (clock mounts, entry locks, knobs, and levers), and valve lifters. This initiated in the USA for Buick and Chrysler applications, then expanded to Japan for Honda and Toyota applications, and has grown rapidly in Germany for their auto firms. All expectations are that MIM will continue to grow in automotive. Medical applications are growing from an early base of endoscopic devices, and will become enormous as MIM becomes widely accepted. Much of the recent growth has been in minimally invasive surgical tools and robotic devices. Micro-featured devices are frequently shown for new sensors. These are small devices used for blood testing and disease identification. Dental applications are one of the early successes from MIM, and continues to grow in orthodontic brackets, hand tools, and special endodontic surgical devices. Aerospace applications are accelerating and all of the major aircraft engine firms have embraced MIM. Lighting applications are another growth area, especially in light emitting diode (LED) devices. Sporting applications include metal supports for knee braces, dart bodies, golf clubs, arrowheads, and running cleats. Jewelry applications are new to MIM and are growing as alternative materials become accepted; this includes titanium, high polish stainless steel, tantalum, and even bronze.