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INNOVATION is the Key Manoj Kabre, Indo-MIM


midst challenging economy, the manufacturing industry is facing stiff competition, and this has made each of the manufacturing industries look at Innovation as the

competitive weapon to create differentiation in the marketplace. In the automotive industry, this is more relevant since the expectations of consumers are going up day by day, in lieu of wider exposure to technology and comfort. In today’s age, style and aesthetics have an additional focus, versatility is in higher demand, and hence the overall requirement in the automotive industry – especially the automotive component industry – is on an increase. They say, Necessity is the Mother of Invention, and it is also true with Innovation. All the global product designers are hungry for new technology and processes that can help them accomplish such requirement from the market.

MIM technology has an inherent innovation capability that differentiates it from the other conventional metal cutting and metal forming technologies. Its feature of being able to injection mould complex contours, however difficult they are, gives it a unique status among the crowd of manufacturing technologies. This has made it possible for many designers to be able to bring unique product features for the first time in the manufacturing world, and excite the manufacturing staff. This technology has given scope for the designer’s dream to turn into reality. There have been areas where challenging materials suggested by designers, were difficult to productionise owing to non-availability of production-friendly cutting tools or machine tools. MIM has made such difficulties fade away, by its unique ability of forming shapes and giving them strength. MIM technology is a four-step process, that uses very fine particle powders (typically 15 ~ 20 micron size) as the basic raw material. The process needs a mould, in the shape of the component, so as to use the MIM feedstock to accord requisite shape to the feedstock. Subsequent to this process is a debinding process that removes the binders, and finally a sintering process that allows densification and renders the full strength to the component. In this way, MIM is able to accomplish strength in the component that is equivalent to the one achieved through stamping, forging, casting or machining. The process is a boon to the manufacturing industry owing to the expertise it delivers in realising the complex shapes, which otherwise would mean longer throughput time and higher cost.

Indo-MIM, based at Bangalore in India, has been in the business of manufacturing complex shaped parts using MIM process since 1997. It has now become the world’s largest company in this field,

and has developed more than 3500 varieties of parts in various materials and shapes for global customers. The main differentiator of Indo-MIM is its willingness to take up challenging jobs from its various customers, owing to which it has become the industry’s favourite. With customers spanning across 45 countries, Indo-MIM has been a supplier to various market leaders and Fortune 500 companies in every field — automotive, consumer electronics, mobile phones, hand and power tools, sporting goods, machinery and equipment, locks, medical devices, sewing and textile machines, mountaineering equipments, aerospace, marine equipments etc. Some of the specific advantages that Indo-MIM brings for its customers are: fully finished products including any post-MIM machining and surface treatments, sub-assemblies as per customer requirements, re-design support for new launches, prototype capability for validation of design and mass production.

Moving forward, Indo-MIM has now begun conducting technical seminars at various countries at customer locations and various industrial areas, so as to disseminate information about this innovative technology facilitating technical teams of various industries to be aware of the capabilities. These seminars include case studies of successful MIM parts, with information about the background of their earlier process. This approach has been well received by the industry and seems to be beneficial to them.

Indo-MIM is a Lean Six Sigma company that uses Kaizen as its DNA, and works on improving process capability for all the processes of individual parts that it manufactures at both its plants in Bangalore. Each part that is made at Indo-MIM goes through a very systematic feasibility study and thereafter a methodical process design. The structured approach used by the Indo-MIM team has helped to put together a robust process in place, which can be sustained month after month and year after year. This is the main reason that the quality assurance at Indo-MIM is sustainable and consistent.

The visitors who have visited the manufacturing plants of Indo-MIM, have been impressed with the facility, cleanliness, systems and the people. The capabilities of the company have also been well acknowledged through getting awarded three prestigious awards at MPIF 2013, at a function held at Chicago, USA. This was a fitting recognition of Indo-MIM’s endevaour in its march towards continuing leadership in this industry and providing support to global customers.

16 | commercial micro manufacturing international Vol 7 No.3

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