Magnesium News 2017, July
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July 2017

Japan - Magnesium Newsletter (April)

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

Tokyo Institute of Technology and Oricon energy - Paper “Smelting Magnesium Metal using a Microwave” published in Scientific Reports

(Source: Oricon News, 14 April, 2017)

The article of “Smelting Magnesium Metal using a Microwave” through collaborative research between Tokyo Institute of Technology and Oricon energy, was published on April 12th in electronic journals Scientific Reports issued by British General science magazine Nature. Magnesium enjoys wide range of applications as the lightest practical metal, whose current production uses conventional Pidgeon process requiring heating by fossil fuel such as coal etc. In this work, a novel Pidgeon process driven by microwaves has been developed to produce Mg metal realizing significantly less energy consumption and without CO2 emission. It was rated high as “Very practical approach for Magnesium alloy production with big impact and importance.”  

Collaborative investigation group led by Yuji Wada, School of Materials and Chemical Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, has been compiled for 3 years or so. Dr. Wada said, “Scientific Reports is one of the largest circulated General scientific magazines in the world, in which our paper appeared.  This indicates a big meaning, i.e. the greatest step to open a new era on magnesium refinery technology.”

Title: Smelting Magnesium Metal using a Microwave Pidgeon Method.

Refer to the following Scientific Reports, URL:  https://www.nature.com/articles/srep46512
Masanobu Co.,LTD - Magnesium alloy conversion coating

(Source: The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, 28 April 2017)

Masanobu Co.,LTD, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka pref., has been working on Magnesium alloy conversion coating to acquire customers. The company used to work for wide range applications such as automotive and construction. The proposal was received from Mechanics and Electronics Research Institute of Fukuoka Industrial Technology Center to develop its coating targeting commercialization, which triggered this project to go. Since Magnesium alloy parts processor inside Kyushu area consigned coating to outside Kyushu, the potential demand was expected to exist. Then the new coating technology has been established with the center’s cooperation.

It was learned that it was not sufficient to simply expand to large mass scale even if once being worked successfully in laboratory. It was the key point. Stable quality control was required for various object size, shape and quantity. Thanks to the center’s kind cooperation on quality analysis, it has achieved to overcome lots of issues by utilizing company’s proprietary technologies, finally has achieved commercialization in 2016.

Two types are provided, “Mg-strong” of high corrosion resistance and “Mg-shine” of high design performance. The former one is highly evaluated and effective as surface treatment under painting. Improved productivity to shorten post-process is greatly beneficial for users. In addition, the location inside Kyushu area enables to processing lead time as short as possible.
TFO corporation - Forging enabled piercing from “any” direction

(Source: The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, 16 May 2017)

TFO corporation develops, manufactures and sells non-ferrous parts (Aluminum and Magnesium) as well as forged parts such as Automobile crank shaft. The company equips integrated manufacturing process from shape design to mold making, trial forging and mass production.  Strong point is currently developed “Inline-Cross-piercing-method”, which enabled piercing from “any” direction, while conventional piercing was able along only mold opening direction. By this, tremendous benefit was brought to reduce machining processes after forging.

“Since it contributes to cost reduction, we are receiving good reputation from customers,” President Tetsutaro Toya emphasized. They are eager to develop magnesium forging technology eyeing Automotive weight saving. Main domestic facilities locate in Fukushima prefecture being suffered from Tohoku-earthquake. They are also challenging to the industrial revival trial organized by local 10 companies consortium.


Furukawa battery - “Mgbox series” became conforming on Green purchasing law

(Source: ALUTOPIA, May 2017)

Being revised Green purchasing law as one of fundamental Law for Establishing a Sound Material-Cycle Society, portable power supply for emergency was added in disaster storage supplies item list. “Mgbox” and “Mgbox slim,” magnesium air battery for emergency released by Furukawa battery Co., Ltd, became “conforming product.”


Domestic Magnesium Market - March, 2017

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

Import

Based on Import/Export Statistics of March 2017, magnesium metal import showed significant increase to total 3,115.3 tons, 340.6% increase on month-to-month basis (194.8% increase from the same month previous year).  Magnesium powder also turned to recover to 351.0 tons, 130.8% increase on month-to-month basis (14.0% decrease) and other products continued to decrease to 170.9 tons, 27.7% decrease on month-to-month basis (13.9% increase), resulting in grand total of 3,637.1 tons, 42.1% increase on month-to-month basis (41.8% increase). 

The metal category consisted of 4 products as follows: (a) 2,507.9 tons of pure magnesium, 43.6% significant increase on month-to-month basis (66.8% increase) contributing continuous import from China and Turkey;  (b) 571.7 tons of die-casting alloys 32.3% increase on month-to-month basis (16.0% increase) including 23.8 tons of import from Turkey;  (c) high purity magnesium was 5.0 tons, 229.1% significant increase on month-to-month basis;  (d) 30.7 tons of casting alloy, 340.6% significant increase on month-to-month basis (194.8% increase).

As for the average import price of magnesium metal in March, the price of pure magnesium decreased for 3rd consecutive month down to 246.3 yen per kg, 7.6 yen per kg or 3.0% lower on month-to-month basis. For side note, China and Turkey import prices were 245.9 yen and 294.5 yen per kg respectively. The price of magnesium alloys increased to 303.1 yen per kg, 4.7 yen per kg or 1.4% up on month-to-month basis. The alloy from Turkey was 294.5 yen per kg, 8.6 yen per kg lower than Chinese price.

As for the total amount of import from January to March 2017, magnesium metal was 8,454.3 tons (50.7% increase, from the same period previous year), magnesium powder was 945.3 tons (13.7% decrease) and other products was 682.0 tons (13.1% increase).  So the grand total amount of import from January to March was 10,081.6 tons, 38.0% increase comparing to same period previous year, despite powder’s export is sluggish.

Export

In March 2017, an export of magnesium consisted of 52.0 tons of pure magnesium totally for Thailand and 13.1 tons of magnesium alloys, 1,214.0% increase on month-to-month basis (15.2% decrease from the same month previous year), almost of which was to Taiwan. 1.1 tons of magnesium powder and granules, 1.1% decrease on month-to-month basis (3,460.0% increase), for Thailand and US. And other products were 6.1 tons, 166.0% increase on month-to-month basis (443.4% increase) including 3.0 tons and 3.1 tons to China and Vietnam respectively.  The grand total export was 72.3 tons, 1,550.0% significant increase on month-to-month basis (334.3% increase).

As for the total amount of export from January to March 2017, pure magnesium metal was 54.1 tons (27,000% increase, from the same period previous year), magnesium alloy metal was 27.0 tons (81.3% decrease), magnesium powder was 2.1 tons (80.5% increase) and other products was 9.1 tons (150.8% increase). The grand total of export from January to March were 92.3 tons (38.1% decrease due to significant decrease of alloy export) which was quite small quantity though.

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