The company offers a ‘hybrid solution’ for secondary, post-process machining
February 2, 2022
CENTER CITY, Minn.—Metal injection molder Smith Metal Products reported that it recently added CNC lathe capabilities to its in-house machining operations, creating what the company called a “MIM hybrid solution” for taking metal injection molded (MIM) parts beyond commonly achievable MIM molding tolerances.
In addition to CNC lathe machining, Smith Metal Products’ machining capabilities include CNC 5-axis machining and CNC turning. The company also offers coining, laser etching and engraving (now with 12 in-house machine tools), and has established external sources for polishing, lapping, grinding, and EDM wire cutting, Smith Metal Products said in a release.
“We’ve seen a big increase in interest for MIM parts requiring fine tolerances which are beyond MIM molding capabilities,” said Jim Beyer, account manager at Smith Metal Products, in the release. “Secondary, post-process machining is often needed to produce these very precise round holes, threaded holes, and smooth, flat surfaces for interfacing with other parts.”
The company said that metal injection molding is often a more effective process to achieve precision parts because MIM parts are precise, net-shaped parts that are produced faster and usually with no secondary operations. If higher tolerances need to be held and cannot be metal injection molded, Smith’s MIM “hybrid solution” can be used to achieve tighter specifications while still being more competitive than complete CNC machining of parts, according to the release.
Smith Metal Products produces MIM parts for industries that include automotive, aerospace, firearms, medical, dental, recreation, and appliance. Materials available for MIM range from stainless steel to titanium, and include most ferrous materials. Parts that are suitable for MIM processing include those that have annual volumes of 25,000 pieces or more for a single component, or three or more parts that have annual usage of 10,000 or more and a finished part weight of less than 100g (3.5 oz). All dimensions of the component should be 3 inches or less. The maximum wall thickness should be 3mm (0.125 in.) or less, or can be cored out to have thinner wall sections, the company said.
Smith Metal Products operates a state-of-the-art 65,000 square foot facility that is ISO 9001:2008 Certified and ISO 13485 compliant.