Case Study: Printer Datums and Tabs

Process: Metal injection molding

Secondary Processes: Coining

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End Use and Function

The catch X-Z datum, catch bias Z datum, front and rear support tabs are 316L and 440C stainless steel parts used in an industrial printer module. Both catches are used as a paper guide, while both the support tabs are used to support and align the printer head.


A 2012 Award of Dstinction Winner in the Industrial Motors Controls & Hydraulics category



Achieving a yield strength rate of 234,000 psi, the 440C tabs support and align the print head module and are subjected to impact force during printing. The 316L catches guide and feed paper to the printing module.
The support tabs achieved a density of >7.5 g/cm³, tensile strength of 1,670 MPa (242 ksi), a yield strength of 1,615 MPa (234 ksi), and hardness of >50 HRC. The catches achieved a density of >7.6/cm³, a tensile strength of 520 MPa (75 ksi) a yield strength of 175 MPa (25 ksi), and a hardness of 67 HRB.



Choosing the MIM process over casting and machining yielded:

  • A 40% cost savings
  • Superior finishing
  • Corrosion resistance and strength

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