Injection moulding machine manufacturer Engel Austria and the technology company Heraeus are at the Hannover Messe 2019 to kick off the mass production of high tech components with amorphous metals. The new Amloy range of amorphous materials by Heraeus uses injection molding to create products with properties that were previously mutually exclusive. Reduced cycle times, by up to 70 per cent, and unattainable standards of product quality are opening up many new areas of application. Possible fields of application are for example automotive, aerospace, medical technology, industry, lifestyle and electronics sectors.
Zirconium-based Amloy alloys and copper-based materials are leaving the successful pilot phase and are ready for mass production. Amloy from Heraeus is a new line of amorphous metal alloys that are optimised also for injection moulding. At the Hannover Messe 2019, Heraeus and Engel will be demonstrating live the Amloy brand’s potential for delivering components that combine high mechanical durability with high reliability, low wear, scratch resistance and reproducibility. They will be producing Amloy screwdriver bits multiple times each day from April 1-5, 2019 at Booth E32 in Hall 3.
Amorphous metals get their name from their randomly arranged – amorphous – molecular structure. Amloy components are hard yet highly elastic, and have a low wall thickness while remaining durable, light and robust. Amloy is highly resistant to corrosion and is biocompatible in line with ISO 10993-5. With this combination of properties, Amloy is superior to steel, titanium and many other materials, and opens a broad spectrum of applications. Fields of application include break-proof lightweight frames for portable electronic devices, durable instruments for minimally invasive surgery, stable suspensions and wear-resistant drivetrain components for the aerospace industry, premium decor elements for automobiles and abrasion-resistant watch components. Heraeus is currently working on additional Amloy alloys based on titanium, iron and platinum.
Amloy components are made in a fully automatic production process using Engel’s newly developed AMM injection moulding machine from the hydraulic victory series. The injection speed is 1,000 mm/s as standard and makes very small wall thicknesses possible. The cycle time is up to 70 per cent shorter than with previous amorphous metal injection moulding solutions and the required heating power is reduced by 40 to 60 per cent. In a single step, one or more fit-for-purpose components are produced from Amloy blanks in 60 to 120 seconds, depending on size and geometry. With a surface fineness of 0.05 µm Ra, manual reworking or further surface finishing are not necessary for most applications.
Injection moulding of amorphous metals is also superior to MIM (Metal Injection Moulding) and CNC machining. MIM processing of metal-plastic powders requires further work steps, such as debinding and sintering. The higher material shrinkage impairs reproducibility. CNC machining requires considerably more time and generates a large amount of waste.
With this cooperation, the partners Engel and Heraeus are expanding their amorphous metal expertise. In 2015, Engel presented its first injection moulding solution for the processing of amorphous metals. Heraeus has been conducting research and development on amorphous metals for about three years. With this cooperation, Heraeus is closing a production gap and is the only provider worldwide capable of fully processing amorphous metals: melting and forming, 3D-printing, injection moulding.