MIM operates in the context of sintered materials technologies. Globally sintered materials contribute near $100 billion per year to the economy. About 25% of that global activity is in North America. The production of metal powders alone in North America is annually valued at $4 billion. Sintered carbide and metal parts production in North America is valued near $8 billion, where metal-bonded diamond cutting tools, sintered magnets, and semi-metal products contribute significantly to industry heavily focused on automotive and consumer products.
Powder metallurgy consists of about 4700 production sites around the world involved in variants of the technology. Most popular is the PM press-sinter variant that relies on hard tooling, uniaxial compaction, and sintering. Based on tonnage, about 70% of the press-sinter products are for the automotive industry. However, on a value basis the story is dramatically different; metal cutting and refractory metal industries generate the largest value. Here the products include tantalum capacitors, tungsten light bulb filaments, tungsten carbide metal cutting inserts, diamond coated oil and gas well drilling tips, high performance tool steels, and molybdenum diode heat sinks. Compared to the other powder technologies, the MIM variant is still relatively new and small, but it is growing at 14% per year. In 2011 MIM products were globally valued at approximately $1 billion. This sales activity is spread over about 300 to 400 firms (some are divisions of the same company, simply different production sites).