As the exclusive manufacturing partner of Liquidmetal Technologies Inc. (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA), the first company to develop and produce amorphous alloys in commercially viable bulk, Austrian machine manufacturer Engel GmbH is the sole provider worldwide to offer system solutions for the injection molding of Liquidmetal materials. The technology was presented to the public for the first time at last week’s Engel Symposium that was held from June 16-18 in St. Valentin and Linz, Austria, where a Liquidmetal production cell was molding parts for medical forceps.
With Liquidmetal, Engel is ushering in a new age of injection molding, based on the use of metal alloys. Discovered by researchers at the California Institute of Technology and developed by Liquidmetal Technologies, the technology opens the door to completely new classes of material and product characteristics. Liquidmetal alloys belong to a class of highly engineered materials called Bulk Metallic Glasses (BMG). Why glass? These zirconium alloys posses an amorphous structure: in other words, they freeze in an amorphous, vitreous state. As a solidified liquid, the solidification shrinkage rate is extremely low (0.4%), which allows molding to net shape.
As Dr. Gerhard Dimmler, Engel Vice President Research & Development Products, explained in his lecture: “It cannot absorb kinetic energy. That’s a property we can use.”