International Environmental Responsibility Award/Magnesium Production and Processing Winner:
Magnesium Elektron, Manchester, UK, has achieved strict environmental goals across technical and production areas
during years of sustained targeted effort, significantly reducing their overall carbon footprint since the year 2000. Magnesium Elektron, a leading producer of high-performance magnesium alloy systems and products, is part of the Luxfer Group, an international manufacturer of high-performance engineering materials, including magnesium alloys.
Magnesium Elektron has developed new casting and melting techniques and intensively researched environmentally-friendly
protective gases to achieve a 90 percent reduction in its equivalent carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and a
dramatic drop in cover gas use. Magnesium Elektron UK became accredited to BS EN ISO 14001:2004 in 2008, and has
since achieved full compliance, using innovative solutions to reduce and remove waste and pollutants, notably reducing
the use of Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) cover gas with an alternative gas that emits substantially less CO2 into the air.
Auditors acknowledge that the company’s approach embraces business growth while at the same time minimizing
environmental impact. Magnesium Elektron has successfully implemented advanced methods to achieve environmental
benefits. Company teams examined magnesium operations, identifying ways to eliminate waste and pollutants to
reduce emissions and create value. In one such example, Magnesium Elektron has installed a metal recovery system in
its main foundry to separate recyclable magnesium metal from drosses present at the end of the casting cycle. Research
and development continues, as the company targets further substantial reductions over the next three years.
International Environmental Responsibility Award/Magnesium Applications and Components Winner:
Oskar Frech GmbH + Co., KG, Schorndorf, Germany, has developed two machined components that individually save
up to 70 percent of energy consumed during the die casting process. Oskar Frech’s patented nozzle and gooseneck
heating system optimize energy efficiency using a special heating element to direct precisely where and when heat is
required during the casting process. This system greatly reduces energy losses due to partial overheating and heating
of associated components. Regulating and monitoring heating circuits yields exact, repeatable temperature control
for all hot chamber die casting machines. This avoids excessive heating while providing process safety during heating,
start-up and production. The innovative nozzle and gooseneck equipment provides the basis for a die casting tooling
technology that allows reduction of runners and spreaders, which in turn reduces the amount of return material.
Oskar Frech’s award also recognizes their two-chamber insulated
magnesium melting/holding furnace system innovations.
Tremendous energy-saving potential of a die casting cell occurs
in the melting/holding furnace. When combined with a specially
insulated crucible cover, 30 to 40 percent less energy is required to
maintain a constant melt temperature. These technical insulation
advances effectively reduce CO2 contamination in every die
casting cell and achieve significant energy and cost savings.
Oskar Frech’s Managing Director, Dr. Norbert Erhard asserts:“The die casting process itself must be included purposefully in
developments to reach an effect beyond pure energy savings.
Our furnace system creates new possibilities in die design, so that
deep immersing in the die is possible in magnesium die casting.
Gating can be shortened and return material reduced, giving further savings in total ecological balance of the production
process. Without including the die casting process when designing the heating system, this potential would not be realized.”
Founded in 1943, the International Magnesium Association is an international trade organization representing the producers, processors, fabricators, and marketers of magnesium, along with suppliers to the industry. The IMA’s membership spans more than 30 countries on 5 continents. For more information contact IMA at 1000 N. Rand Road, Suite 214, Wauconda, IL 60084. Telephone: 847/526-2010; fax: 847/526-3993; email@example.com; www.intlmag.org.