The formulation of modern polymer compounds can be quite complex and include many ingredients. It can be challenging to disperse some of these additives and fillers homogeneously in the polymer matrix; this makes it very important to optimize set-up of the compounding line equipment solutions.
Metal injection molding (MIM) is a process where a feedstock consisting of a polymeric binder and a high percentage of fine metal powder is processed in injection molding equipment. Injection molding allows mass production of complex shaped parts in one step. Parts produced using MIM are often used in the medical, dental, aerospace, or automotive industries. For MIM, the feedstock is usually prepared in an extruder where the challenge is to obtain a high fill level of metal powder while simultaneously ensuring good flowability for injection molding.
Compounds containing nanomaterials are used for the production of light-weight but sturdy parts. Compounding materials like carbon nanotubes (CNTs), nanoclays or graphene is demanding due to the need for a homogeneous dispersion inside the compound and to exfoliate the nanomaterial so no lumps remain in the final goods. Different approaches using parallel twin-screw extruders can be used to achieve these goals, depending on the properties of the starting material.