Magnesium News 2016, Sept-Oct
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September/October 2016

Japan - Magnesium Newsletter (July)

The Japan Magnesium Association

NEDO, Selected Themes on "Bridging R&D and Business Promotion for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Project”

(Source: “NEDO website,” 30 June, 2016)
New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) has selected 23 new grant awards as part of the "Bridging R&D and Business Promotion for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Project” among 92 applicants. Two themes related magnesium were selected as follows:

  • Fuji Light Metal Co.,Ltd. “Forming technology development of high-performance magnesium alloy parts for medical device”
  • Japan Medical Device Technology Co.,Ltd. “World first-ever high-performance bioabsorbable stent domestically made by Magnesium alloy”
Macrw Co., Ltd., Magnesium cold drawn tube adopted on turn-table

(Source: “Alu-topia” August, 2016)
Macrw Co., Ltd. supplies Panasonic a tone-arm pipe for new turn-table product (“SL-1200GAE/G” model commemorating the 50th anniversary of TECNICS founding), which is magnesium tube product developed by Macrw’s proprietary cold drawn technology. (Related articles on “Magnesium Newsletter Japan Vol. 44 May edition”).

Macrw Co., Ltd. successfully developed magnesium cold drawn tube, which enabled highest precision tone-arm, taking advantage of magnesium characteristics such as lightweight and high damping property, in addition to highest dimensional precision through cold drawn processing.

Tohoku University, Developed world’s first ultralight shape memory magnesium alloy

(Source: “Keikinzoku-tsushin,” 29 July, 2016 and “Diecast shinbun,” 30 July, 2016)
A research group of Device Reliability Science and Engineering, Materials Science, Tohoku University, successfully achieved world’s first ever shape-memory magnesium alloy. Enabled 70% lighter than practical shape-memory alloys (nickel titanium (TiNi) ), and realized higher strength and higher ductility than existing magnesium alloy.

This finding raises the potential for aerospace material and medical industries applications. This achievement was published on Science 22nd July edition. Tohoku University gave spotlight on the point that scandium (Sc) added Mg-Sc alloy behaved body-centered cubic structure (bcc) in addition to conventional hexagonal close-packed structure. They have promoted research of magnesium alloy high functionality utilizing phase transformation.

It was found out that bcc type Mg-Sc alloy showed shape-memory characteristic through martensitic transformation, and was confirmed that more than 4% super- elastic strain was shown at minus 150 degrees C low temperature. Further evaluation of both operating temperature rise and biodegradability is expected by optimization of alloy composition to make this new alloy practical.

Exhibition tour report “Automotive Engineering Exposition 2016”

(Source: Japan Die Casting Association newsletter Vol.144, 2016)
Ryobi Limited to strengthen development ability to Expand Die-casting application
At booth, various die-cast big parts were displayed in unit of actual-size-cut-model of car body. From sub-frame to body and suspension such as shock-tower-tunnel-top and steering knuckle, instrument panel members (2.0 kg, AM60B casted in Japan by 800 ton press) and inverter frame (1.3 kg, AZ91 casted in Japan by 800 ton press). Also displayed existing parts around engine and transmission components were displayed. It was emphasized that magnesium die-casting offers extremely wide potential applications and weight saving superiority comparing to other materials and processes (Aluminum forging and casting, High performance plastic and CFRP etc) as well as doing to steel.

Nitto Seiko Co., Ltd. Aluminum Screw applied on ADC, magnesium, plastic and CFRP.
Nitto Seiko Co., Ltd. who manufactures Screw and Screw fastening machines, displayed high hardness aluminum tapping screw “Estarfa Z.” One third weight of steel (1.49 kg) and enabled self-tapping to ADC parts. Improved galvanic corrosion resistance by connecting between same metal, as well as recyclability, and loosening defect reduction occurred by thermal expansion Screw. Furthermore, the concept is applicable to magnesium and plastic parts.

Domestic Magnesium Market - June, 2016

(Source: May issue of Import/Export Statistics (customs clearance basis) of METI. Compiled by The Japan Magnesium Association.)

Based on Import/Export Statistics of June 2016, magnesium metal import was 2,137.8 tons (41.1% decrease from the same month the year before), magnesium powder 319.6 tons (14.4% increase), and other products 224.2 tons (75.4% increase). Thus metal dropped off significantly but powder and other products showed favorable increase, resulting in grand total of 2,681.6 tons (33.5% decrease).

As for metal category, 1,613.6 tons of pure magnesium (48.3% decrease), which dropped down drastically from the same month previous year though almost same quantity as May. Import from Turkey which continued for 2 consecutive month fell down to 0 tons. 516.3 tons of die-casting alloys were 3.6% increase from same month the year before. High purity magnesium continued 0 tons for the fourth consecutive month, 7.9 tons of casting alloy (15.4% decrease) included 6.8 tons from UK likely to be higher valued high-strength and heat-resistant casting alloys.  

The average import price of magnesium metal has remained low since the beginning of 2016. However, the average price of pure magnesium in June increased to 226.4 yen per kg, an increase of 10.8 yen per kg or 4.7% on month-to-month basis. 

The price of magnesium alloys increased for second consecutive month to 283.1 yen per kg, up 3.5 yen per kg or 1.3% on month-to-month basis. As a side note, comparing to 271.8 yen per kg in May, the price increased 11.2 yen per kg or 4.1%

As for the total amount of import from January to June 2016, magnesium metal was 12,440.7 tons (24.4% decrease, from the same period of previous year), magnesium powder was 1,943.1 tons (10.8% decrease) and other products were 1,259.1 tons (42.0% increase). As a result, the grand total amount of import from January to June was 15,643.0 tons, 19.9% decrease year-to-year basis.

In June 2016, export of magnesium consisted of 3.0 kgs of pure magnesium to US, 15.0 tons of magnesium alloys (88.9% decrease from the same period of previous year) to Taiwan. Total 1.9 tons of Powder and granules (422.2 % increase) including 1.1 tons to Vietnam. Other products were 4.6 tons (140.4% increase), in which the export to China was 0.3 tons.

As for the total amount of export from January to June 2016, pure magnesium metal remained 3.1 tons (308.0% increase) same as previous month, Magnesium alloy metal was 192.6 tons (65.6% decrease), magnesium powder was 3.1 tons (14.1% increase) and other products were 12.3 tons (38.0% decrease).

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