Magnesium News 2017, August
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August 2017

Japan - Magnesium Newsletter (June-July)

The Japan Magnesium Association
http://magnesium.or.jp/

NIMS and Nagaoka University of Technology - Developed high strength magnesium sheet with excellent formability at room temperature

(Source: Mynavi News,16 June 2017; The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun,19 June 2017; ALUTOPIA, July 2017)

A research team at National Institute of Materials Science (NIMS) and Nagaoka University of Technology announced that they developed high strength magnesium sheet metal that has excellent formability at room temperature comparable to that of the aluminum sheet metal on June 15. This study was conducted by Bian Ming-Zhe and Taisuke Sasaki at NIMS, Professor Shigeharu Kamado at Nagaoka University of Technology, and will be published in Scripta Materialia.

Magnesium alloys are the lightest metal in practical metal and their usage as structural materials in automotive and train bodies is expected to be effective in weight reduction for better fuel efficiency.However, virtually no magnesium alloys are used in automotive bodies because of their higher processing cost originating from the poor formability and lower strength of magnesium bar and sheet metals, comparing to existing steel and aluminum alloys.

The research team recently developed a new age-hardenable magnesium alloy: Mg-1.1Al-0.3Ca-0.2Mn-0.3Zn (numbers indicate constituent elements by atomic percentage), named AXMZ1000. The newly developed alloy has excellent room temperature formability comparable to that of medium strength aluminum alloys that are used in some automobile bodies.  In addition, the new alloy is 1.5 to 2.0 times stronger than the aluminum alloy.  Room temperature formability test was carried out by Erichsen tests and achieved high score at 7.7 mm.

The excellent formability was achieved by adding very small amounts of zinc (Zn) and manganese (Mn), which led to the formation of fine grain structures, and the high strength was accomplished by adding aluminum (Al) and calcium (Ca), which induced the strengthening of the alloy by the formation of atomic clusters.

Since the newly developed alloy is able to clear not only room-temperature-formability and strength issue but also cost issue, it is expected to overcome the long-standing issues for extended wrought magnesium alloys applications. This team intends to establish how to apply to large size parts and to promote weight reduction of transportation equipment as structural material.


AUDEZE - Driving plate type ”LCDi4” in-ears premium model

(Source: Mynavi News, 23 June 2017)

ASK Corporation announced deal of driving plate type In-ears-earphone “LCDi4 (LCDi4 in-ears with premium cable)” made by AUDEZE, starting sales in the end of July 2017. Open price. Expected market price will be 328,000 JPY, tax not included.

“LCDi4” is semi open type in-ears-earphone adopted driving plate diaphragm. Driver is large aperture at 30 mm size. In addition to proprietary plate magnetic technique “Fluxor Magnetic Technology” adopted in AUDEZE headphone, Uniforce diaphragm which reduces distortion of the sound achieved clear sound. Magnesium housing is used to restrain unnecessary vibration.


Yamaha Motor - Actively adopts Magnesium diecast parts to motorcycle

(Source: Diecast shinbun, 30 June 2017)

Iwata manufacturing department of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd actively adopts Magnesium diecast parts for super-sports category motorcycle which requires the highest performance. Until now magnesium was adopted for small parts such as covers, recently further weight reduction was achieved by applying to rear frame and wheel. Being expected high recycleability, further applications are expected.


Japan Manufacturing World 2017 Report

(Source:Sokeizai-tsushin, 1 July 2017)

Japan Manufacturing World 2017 whose main exhibition named M-Tech, the largest “manufacturing” exhibition in Japan, was held from June 21 to 23 at Tokyo Big Sight and was full swing as usual.

NEXUS Co., Ltd.
New trial magnesium parts were exhibited at NEXUS booth, including Inner door luggage door trim which was assembled 6 parts per car.  Total magnesium weight exceeds 2 kgs. New luxury models “LEXUS LC500” and “LEXUS LC500h” were released last April which equips these parts. Staff said that there was no concern of galvanic corrosion on joining and it was happy to find rapid progressing technology innovation.

Fujioka Engineering
Fujioka Engineering is an optical instrument maker who started up as Minolta’s subsidiary. Then it became subsidiary associate of tooling maker with existing company name, Fujioka. Their business field expanded from Magnesium parts OEM, Aluminum parts machining OEM to Zinc die-cast parts and got approved as medical equipment manufacturer in 2007.

Carbon reinforced magnesium UH alloy does not make molded parts cracked by reducing porosity and increasing yield strength, which was applied to top cover, bottom cover and keyboard panel of Panasonic laptop. Also used for Korean LG laptop housing. Even though only Thixomolded parts were exhibited, same performance could be in die-cast parts as well.
“Bending capability without crash is attractive characteristic,” major medical equipment maker researcher in charge of R&D explained there.

Kikusui forging Co., Ltd.
Magnesium parts such as single-lens reflex camera housing, bicycle crank and bipedal robot parts were exhibited.


Wako Kinzoku - New product line of plate processing – Domestic and overseas

(Source: The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, 6 July 2017)

Wako Kinzoku Industry Co., Ltd. (Suminoe-ku, Osaka) strengthens domestic and overseas production system of plate processing and so on. In Japan, production line of zinc-aluminum plating processing which is superior in corrosion resistance, will be newly established by August to extend processing to nuts and bolts. Roughly 100,000,000 JPY will be invested for new product line and ramp up to full operation by end of fiscal year 2017. In addition, manufacturing facility will be planned to start operation within upcoming August. Wako kinzoku will establish Zinc aluminum alloy plating processing production lines in an industrial park. There are 4 plating processors in Japan. Proposal for existing customer of hot-dip galvanizing processing specialized to their skillful area i.e. small articles.

Proprietary plate processing is based on electric Zinc, adding 5% Aluminum and 5% Magnesium. By this, corrosion resistance is improved and protect from salt damage. Less impurity and environmental friendly. Some major customers require green procurement so this concept sometimes helps.

New facility in Vietnam is located in Dong Nai state and second overseas base followed by first China one. Articles for construction hardware will be produced and be finished plate processing in Japan. Local plate processing will be planned in the future.


Domestic Magnesium Market - May, 2017

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

Import

Based on Import/Export Statistics of May 2017, magnesium metal import was total 2,543.9 tons, almost 1,000 tons or 23.0% significant decrease on month-to-month basis (28.5% favorable increase from the same month previous year, instead). Magnesium powder rose to 265.0 tons, 57.9% increase on month-to-month basis (55.9% increase) and other products increased to 467.1 tons, 60.9% increase on month-to-month basis (58.8% increase), resulting in grand total of 3,276.2 tons, 12.9% decrease on month-to-month basis (34.0% increase), which magnesium metal’s significant decrease contributed to.

The metal category consisted of 4 products as follows; (a) 1,972.8 tons of pure magnesium, 33.7%   decreased on month-to-month basis (21.8% increase, continuing slight increase). Imports from China dropped significantly and Turkey remained same. (b) 545.2 tons of die-casting alloys 76.1% showed substantial increase on month-to-month basis (52.9% increase). (c) high purity magnesium was 0 ton. (d) 25.9 tons of casting alloy, 18.2% increase on month-to-month basis (627.2% increase).

As for the average import price of magnesium metal in May, the price of pure magnesium remained flat at 245.3 yen per kg, 1.7 yen per kg or 0.7% lower on month-to-month basis. For side note, China and Turkey import prices were 245.2 yen and 256.4 yen per kg respectively. The price of magnesium alloys rose up to 292.2 yen per kg, 5.5 yen per kg or 1.9% on month-to-month basis.  There was no alloy import from Turkey. Alloy import from Korea was 234.5 yen per kg, 59.8 yen per kg fell below Chinese price.

As for the total amount of import from January to May 2017, magnesium metal was 14,303.5 tons (39.4% increase, from the same period previous year), magnesium powder was 1,378.4 tons (15.1% decrease) and other products was 1,139.3 tons (10.1% increase). The grand total amount of import from January to May was 16,821.2 tons, 30.2% increase comparing to same period previous year, while powder’s export is still slumping.

Export

In May 2017, an export of magnesium consisted of 52.0 tons of pure magnesium, entirely to Thailand (1,591% significant increase, from the same month previous year) and 12.9 tons of magnesium alloys, 3.1% decrease on month-to-month basis (61.6% decrease), entirely to Taiwan.  0.8 tons of magnesium powder and granules to USA, and other products were 0.3 tons, 41.4% significant decrease on month-to-month basis (91.0% decrease) including 0.3 tons to China. The grand total export was 66.0 tons, 378.0% significant increase on month-to-month basis (64.9% increase).

As for the total amount of export from January to May 2017, pure magnesium metal remained 106.1 tons (33.3 times of that at the same period previous year), magnesium alloy metal was 53.1 tons (70.1% decrease), magnesium powder was 2.9 tons (147.6% increase) and other products was 10.0 tons (28.0% increase).  The grand total of export from January to May was 172.1 tons (4.8% decrease).

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