9. November 2012
Complex shaping through ceramic injection molding
Ceramic Injection Molding (CIM) is a shaping process suitable for the manufacturing of complex and delicate components. It offers the designer the geometrical flexibility usually only attributed to plastic materials combined with the technical advantages of materials such as resistance to temperature, hardness and low corrosion.
Sembach GmbH & Co. KG is one of the leading manufacturers of technical ceramics having developed the near net shaping process. On the one hand, the company is able to produce two-shot plastic and ceramic hybrid injection-molded parts. “A component made of two materials with high-performance properties such as hardness and resistance to wear, becomes an even stronger connection”, states Christian Montel, from Sembach technical sales department. On the other hand, Sembach takes advantage of ceramic injection molding for particularly challenging applications. Christian Montel continues: “In the automotive sector, for instance, we have to adhere to strict qualitative specifications. Ceramic injection molding allows us to design components requiring a minimum amount of space at extremely high temperatures. This is important, for instance, when taking control measurements of the concentration of oxygen in motor and exhaust gases.
Injection molding is the only alternative
Again and again, the manufacturer of technical ceramics has adapted its manufacturing methods to the individual requirements of design and manufacturing. In collaboration with a customer from the automotive industry, Sembach developed a fixing device for electrical contacts in connector plugs. The component was dry-pressed and manufactured from steatite and had a weight of 0.3 grams. Despite its small size the component had to be resistant to high operational demands. The material was therefore replaced by aluminum oxide. Montel explains: “Although the material showed a significantly higher degree of resistance and resulted in the required stability, it made dry pressing impossible. The only suitable process was injection molding.” Shaping by injection molding allows for the implementation of the properties of this extremely small and particularly shaped component. Dry pressing or extruding requires additional production steps.
Sembach was able to respond to the disadvantages of ceramic injection molding such as long process times or high raw material costs by interpreting the injection molding tool as a multi-purpose tool. This approach reduced production costs and met the strict requirements and specifications of the customer regarding the degree of accuracy of repetitions in batch production.
Supporting ceramic injection molding
Sembach will enhance and develop the process chain in ceramic injection molding – not only in the company’s own business unit. Sembach is also committed to improving and publicizing this method outside Germany within the Expert Group on Ceramic Injection Molding of the German Ceramic Association (Deutsche Keramische Gesellschaft e.V.).
Visit Sembach GmbH & Co. KG at Hybridica 2012 on the joint stand of the Expert Group on Ceramic Injection Molding in Hall C1, Stand 655.