This was most recently demonstrated with the 2020 Powder Metallurgy Design Excellence Awards Competition, sponsored by the Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF). Advanced Powder Products Inc. (APP) took home the Grand Prize in the Medical/Dental Category for metal injection molding components for its guide tube for use in dental surgery.
This unique component has extremely thin wall sections and an integrated impingement plate located on the inner diameter of the tube's tip. The guide tube's impingement plate features a Gaussian curvature that only metal injection molding can generate economically. To form the plate, APP engineered proprietary tooling utilizing three separate slides that move at an angle to seal on a small core pin. To prevent parting line flash, mismatch, or application failure, the tooling members must seal and align exactly on the Gaussian surface. The guide tube is then sintered, HIPed, heat-treated, and laser welded.
The parts were tested to stand up against a considerable amount of fluid flow and fatigue without resulting in any component fractures or surface erosion.
Dental Surgery Guide Tube Details:
- Material: MIM 17 –4-PH Stainless Steel
- Density: 7.75 g/cm3
- Heat-treated Hardness: 40-42 HRC
- Tolerances: +/-12.7 micrometers
MPIF has sponsored the PM Design Excellence competition since 1965. The competition invites powder metallurgy manufacturers to submit components that showcase the advantages and test the possibilities of the metal forming technologies. Fabricators may enter eight categories including Medical/Dental, Automotive, Aerospace/Military/Firearms, and Hand Tool/Recreation. A panel of industry experts evaluates each component using a set of strict criteria. Grand Prizes and Awards of Distinction are presented in each category to those parts which prove to be superior.