HAAKE MiniJet, available from Rheology Solutions , is an injection moulding machine, which enables quick tests on processability.
Powder injection moulding is a useful process as a large number of complex products are produced with short cycle times. Base products are fine ceramics or metal powder blended with binder to form a flowable feedstock for injection moulding. These two steps are investigated on a small scale using laboratory equipment. In test runs with small laboratory compounders the feasibility of binder-powder compound can be proved. Binder systems are based on waxes, or polymers LDPE, PP, POM are used.
Compared to master batch compounds the focus is on highest degree of filling of the powder, still obtaining a feed stock which can be used in a moulding process. The green parts undergo a heat treatment (sintering). End products include catalyst beads and turbine blades.
Usually laboratory development will check for maximum degree of filling and compatibility or performance of the binder or polymer. Moreover trials for powder metal alloys can be performed easily in order to change the composition with various components.