Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


STIM-MC Report Summary

Project ID: 790850

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - STIM-MC (Sacrificial Thermoplastic Injection Moulding platform for manufacturing small and complex metal and ceramic components)

Reporting period: 2017-11-01 to 2018-02-28

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Injection molding is ideal for volume production, but high costs and low flexibility are problematic in prototyping and scale-ups. This is especially true where tooling costs are high, as in metal and ceramic injection molding (MIM, CIM).

MIM and CIM hold great potential in e.g. the medical and automotive industries, as they allow the manufacturing of complex components in materials that are strong, durable and biocompatible. But high costs make MIM and CIM unsuitable for all but the most promising products.

The objective of the STIM-MC project is to provide a low-cost platform (the STIM-MC platform) for low-volume MIM and CIM that support wider-spread use of these technologies. This platform must provide the freedom-of-design of 3D-printing, and must allow the processing of all the commercially available MIM and CIM feedstocks. Finally, it must be compatible with standard MIM and CIM injection molding equipment to ensure wide applicability and adoption.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the feasibility study, we have interviewed several stakeholders.

Together with our coach, we have deepened our analysis of the market and updated our business plan.

Additionally, AddiFab has tested the applicability of the STIM-MC platform with a MIM feedstock (containing Inconel 625) and a CIM feedstock (containing zirconium oxide). The feedstocks were injected in 3D-printed STIM-MC molds with standard injection molding equipment, and were debound and sintered using standard debinding and sintering equipment. Results have been presented at the winter meeting of the Danish metallurgical society (Inconel) and disseminated in a research group (Zirconium).

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Successful demonstration of the STIM-MC platform will lead to the creation of a new production paradigm. This paradigm will combine the geometrical freedom and low start-up costs of 3D-print with the scalability and versatility of injection molding to transform the way products are developed and brought to market.

As a first result, costs and risks of development may be strongly reduced, which is critically important in e.g. the medical device industry, where escalating device development costs are driving up costs to society.

As a second result, reshoring of work becomes attractive when development times are reduced. Outsourcing is based on economies-of-scale, but is inefficient if development and ramp-up is done in weeks instead of months

As a third result, the competitiveness of EU SME’s is given a strong boost. The STIM-MC is well suited for collaborative production and shareconomies, and may be an important driver of industry 4.0 adoption due to the resulting need for distributed (digital) quality assurance

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