The injection molding machine manufacturer Engel Austria and the technology company Heraeus are combining their expertise in the production and processing of amorphous metals. Under the name of Amloy, Heraeus has developed a range of new, amorphous metal alloys. Engel is providing the injection molding machine with which to process them. Cycle times reduced by up to 70 percent and the fully automated large series production of finished products with until now incompatible characteristics are opening up new application areas, for example, in the automotive, aerospace, medical technology, industry, lifestyle and electronics sectors.
The materials of the new Amloy product range by Heraeus are classified as amorphous metals. They consist of zirconium-based alloys and copper-based materials. The use of copper allows for low unit prices and opens up a broad application spectrum. Heraeus is currently working on Amloy alloys based on titanium, iron and platinum.
In contrast to pure metals and classic alloys, amorphous metals are characterized by an irregular, non-crystalline structure. This makes them extremely hard and highly elastic at the same time. They are exceptionally resilient, very corrosion-resistant and bio-compatible according to ISO 10993-5. With this combination of properties, amorphous metals are superior to steel, titanium and many other materials.
Total cycle times and power consumption significantly reduced
Another advantage of Amloy: The alloys are optimized for injection molding. Engel, headquartered in Schwertberg, Austria, has developed a new hydraulic injection molding machine specifically for the processing of Amloy. Especially in terms of the injection process, this machine differs from a conventional injection molding machine for plastic processing. A special focus was on the even heating of the Amloy blanks. Depending on size and geometry, in a single work step one or more ready-to-use parts with a very high surface quality are produced within 60 to 120 seconds, with no manual post-processing required. This makes injection molding superior to conventional processes such as MIM (metal injection molding) and CNC. The material composition and the fully automated production process from melting to the dynamically regulated injection procedure result in cycle times that are reduced by up to 70 percent. The required heating power is reduced by 40 to 60 percent, significantly increasing the cost efficiency of injection molding with amorphous metals.
Available without a license
Amloy alloys are particularly suitable for precision components that are subject to heavy mechanical use, and for very high-quality decorative elements in the automotive, aerospace, medical technology, industry, lifestyle and electronics sectors. In these applications, they substitute steel, titanium or technical plastics, which are chromium-plated in an additional work step after injection molding. All Amloy materials and the injection molding machines are offered free of licenses.
With this cooperation, the partners Engel and Heraeus are expanding their amorphous metal expertise. In 2015, Engel presented its first injection molding 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 molding.