Additive manufacturing is tremendously changing the way products and parts are manufactured. The manufacturing industry has grown from strength to strength in recent years owing to the usage of additive manufacturing and sintered parts manufacturing techniques.
However, sometimes, the difference between additive manufacturing and traditional manufacturing techniques might not be clear. In this post, we explain how additive manufacturing is different from the more traditional techniques of manufacturing such as metal injection molding and powder metallurgy.
Additive Manufacturing Vs Metal Injection Molding
Metal injection molding (MIM) is the method of choice in industries such as firearms, medical, and general industrial among others. It is an extremely efficient method to produce small, complex parts in mass quantities.
However, this manufacturing technique has serious limitations. It requires a high capital outlay as the molds required to produce MIM parts cost from $50,000 to $100,000. This makes this process extremely expensive and prohibitive for low-volume runs.
Another problem is that metal injection molding presents several design challenges. For starters, mold designs cannot be changed easily and there are several limitations with regard to the shape. For example, the part can’t feature large overhangs as it needs to be ejected from the cavity. Wall thickness is another issue owing to de-binding.
On the other hand, metal 3D printing offers several advantages that traditional manufacturing techniques like MIM cannot deliver.
When you want to create specialized parts that boast high durability and strength, unique designs, and chemical resistance, look no further than additive manufacturing. With metal 3D printing, engineers have a lot of design freedom. Given that metal 3D printing doesn’t use molds, there are no shape limitations. And you can effortlessly change the part design. What’s more, production costs won’t go up just because you want a complex design.
Metal additive manufacturing processes are ideal for high-performance engineering components and industrial applications. Common applications include turbine blades, jet engines, power generators, and medical equipment.
Additive Manufacturing Vs Powder Metallurgy
Metal powders can be combined with other materials to create an allow that could be used for a specific application. Different powders can be combined to create materials that otherwise cannot be made. This is a distinct advantage of using powder. Another benefit is that powder metallurgy can be used to deliberately create porous products for specific applications.
However, powder may not help achieve full densification. Another problem is the possibility of fine powder grains becoming airborne containment, which can pose a health or environmental hazard.
Additive manufacturing can help produce several different components at the same time. This does away with the need to create parts separately and assemble them later. With additive manufacturing, assemblies could be combined to produce single parts, thereby reducing overall production cost. Moreover, there’s no tooling cost involved, which is the case in traditional powder metallurgy.
Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, has gained a strong foothold in the manufacturing industry owing to its numerous advantages. These include productivity and material gains as well as production and design flexibility, thereby making mass customization a reality. TMetal is at the forefront of the metal powder manufacturing industry. We supply high-quality metal powders for additive manufacturing processes.