MIM has exhibited enormous growth since the first sales statistics were gathered in 1986. Today, MIM continues to grow and is sustaining 14% per year growth. The number of MIM firms has stabilized as the industry sophistication has grown. Various estimates have been offered for how far and how long MIM can sustain the growth. The informed estimates balance cost, capacity, and competitive factors, but generally agree MIM will double yet again to reach $2 billion in annual sales by 2017. Many design engineers are still discovering the field.
It is not uncommon to see a 30% cost reduction in switching to MIM. In several cases, cost has been reduced by 90% from that of the machined component. For example, a surgical biopsy device dropped from $27 each to $2.70 each on switching to MIM. Further, new shapes and design features have pushed MIM into applications where there is essentially no competing technology. Much information, more details on the technology, and many other illustrations of applications are available – a good starting point is the book by Randall M. German, Metal Injection Molding – A Comprehensive MIM Design Guide, available from the Metal Powder Industries Federation, Princeton, New Jersey, at www.mpif.org. The electronic version (sold on compact disk) has all of the illustrations in color, while the print version is black and white.