Ceramic substitutes metal parts
In many fields, ceramics also deliver superior material properties to steel. The geometric options available to all ceramic components are very extensive.
The use of steel with guaranteed properties (strength, corrosion characteristicst, susceptibility to distortion, suitability for welding etc.) is widespread in this technology sector, due primarily to its versatile, relatively simple, and at least very widespread machining options. The term ‘steel’ is used to describe metal alloys whose principle constituent element is iron and whose carbon content is between 0.01% and 2.06%.
Depending on the application involved, ceramics offer significantly better material properties but until now, these had to be offset against geometric and therefore financial disadvantages associated with conventional molding techniques (pressing, extruding, …). The geometric latitude of the injection molding process balances out these disadvantages. In contrast to the mechanical processing of steel, where several machining stages could be required to reach ‘end shape’, injection molding can accomplish the same outcome in a single molding operation.
It also becomes interesting in financial terms. This is because the geometric latitude afforded by the injection molding process eliminates the need for having several components where one will do, and this feature means that end-to-end functionality is achieved in one product (e.g. components with threads for ease of integration).
This enhanced level of material performance can therefore imbue ceramics with a favorable price-performance ratio when compared to many steel components.
Ceramic injection moldings versus steel
- Greater geometric latitude for molds
- Less expensive production in isolated cases
- Functional integration through enhanced geometric latitude
- Depending on application, improved material characteristics