The Liquidmetal Process
Small batches of feedstock are melted in a vacuum chamber to avoid contamination from Oxygen. The melted alloy is poured into the shot sleeve where a plunger pushes the material into a steel mold.
The Liquidmetal part comes out of the mold to net shape and with full physical properties. Secondary processes to remove the part from the runner and overflows are necessary.
After Liquidmetal is alloyed, it is crushed into a gravel-like condition for use in our molding machine. The alloying process does not control the cooling rate of the alloy, so it is received in a crystalline state.
An induction heating coil is used to melt the alloy in a controlled environment under vacuum. A single batch of material is pre-measured so just enough is melted to fill the cavities of the tool.
This image shows a mold that has opened after the parts have cooled. The injection port in the center has runners that directed the alloy to four separate cavities to produce the parts.
The mold is designed to hold the parts on a specific side of the mold when it opens. Ejector pins are activated to assist a robotic arm to remove the parts as they are still connected to the remnant of the injection port and the runners.
Liquidmetal is at full physical properties after it cools in the mold, so the part cannot be detached from the runner system during part ejection like other molding processes. A secondary process such as Laser or Water Jet is used to remove the part.
Liquidmetal’s patented molding technology has made commercial manufacturing of amorphous metals possible. Our self-contained molding machines allow you to mold a high strength alloy to outperform traditional metal molding and die-casting processes.
Every Liquidmetal part goes through a bulk vibratory deburring process in a ceramic media to give it smooth satin finish. If a matte finish is desired, this is achieved by sand blasting, or the part can be polished to bring out the luster.
Liquidmetal has a natural metallic color similar to stainless steel. Dyes cannot be added during the injection molding process to change the color. A separate coloring process such as Powder Vapor Deposition (PVD) or Powder Coating can be applied on a finished part