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Magnesium News 2016, November
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November 2016

Japan - Magnesium Newsletter (August)

The Japan Magnesium Association

Nihon Plast Co., Ltd to recycle Automotive steering wheel material

(Source: “The Nikkei” 8th July, 2016)

Nihon Plast Co., Ltd has started recycling of magnesium scrap from steering wheel manufacturing process. Since they currently outsourced by paying cost of disposal, this will lead to cost reduction. At the same time, it is intended to improve company’s performance by increasing steering wheel orders which waste much more scrap due to elaborate design.

Magnesium casting machine set was equipped in Mexico facility in April with 100 million yen investment. Clearing impurity away, adding aluminum and manganese element after melting scrap, secondary magnesium alloy was produced which meets required internal strength specification.  Already under commissioning, planned to be fully operational in 2016.

Steering wheel was made of both urethane and magnesium. Approx. 300 gram magnesium scrap was wasted from approx. 1 kg casted magnesium. They paid the cost of disposal to recycler so far. They said in-house recycling enables 16% disposal cost reduction.  As of April, 30 ton of magnesium scrap was recyclable, planned to increase up to 60 ton in fiscal year 2016.  Almost all scrap wasted in US and Mexico will be recycled internally.

In the future, same set will be equipped in facility in Wuhan, China, which will bring an overall internal capacity to a total of 100~110 ton per month. If started operation in China, disposal cost will be 40% reduced down. “Labor cost may increase but overall expense will decrease greatly.”, looking forward.

In-house recycling will enhance not only productivity but also handle-shape-design degree of freedom.  As for steering wheel production, “Allowed to waste more scrap without limit, production time will be able to be quicker.”  Two-cavity mold will also help to achieve improving production efficiency.

Design features Auto makers require tend to waste much magnesium scraps.  At the timing to establish internal recycling system, it will be policy to add value to meet various design requirements from Automotive makers.

IG Kogyo Corporation released metal roof material with 25-year warranty against corrosion perforation

(Source: “The Nikkei”, 17th July, 2016)

Exterior wall materials manufacture, IG Kogyo Corporation (Higashine-shi, Yamagata pref.) released metal roof material “Super Galtect” (3 models) with 25-year warranty against corrosion perforation.  Ultra high durable Steel plate added magnesium in surface material is used and finished by plating . 

This product made roof-material usable even at seashore area where metal roof had rusted easily by briny air so far. 

Guarantee is given as long as being installed over 500 meters away from coast. The price is 5,200 yen per square meter (not included tax and installation charge).

Naturan International Co., Ltd and Toyo Aluminium K.K. jointly developed beauty mask generating hydrogen

Naturan International Co., Ltd, hydrogen-related tech-development company, and Toyo Aluminium K.K. have jointly developed a beauty facemask with hydrogen. Aluminum was processed on mask surface to avoid letting hydrogen away, which is expected high beauty effect.

As value added beauty care product, marketing effort will begin by mainly business needs such as beauty salon and so on.
Two-layer structure bound together with non-woven fabric inside and aluminum foil outside. 

How to use is to saturate a non-woven with beauty essence. Hydrogen will be generated with reaction between magnesium in non-woven and water in beauty essence. Naturan International and Toyo Aluminium were in charge of developing non-woven with essence and aluminum foil, respectively.

Toyo Aluminium is in charge of finished mask manufacturing, partially outsourced. Price is several thousand of yen per set.   Mainly planned OEM supply to beauty salon to capture needs.

Kurimoto, Ltd developed high flame resistance alloy - same heat-resistance as aluminum

(Source: “The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun”, 4th August, 2016)

Kurimoto, Ltd developed and released magnesium high flame resistance alloy “KEHMA”, which showed almost same heat-resistance as aluminum and enabled saving cost without using any rare-earth. One of expected demands is Automotive parts which requires weight saving. Flame test on railroad vehicle had been qualified. Aimed target is 1 billion yen revenue on March, 2019.

Developed magnesium alloy showed flame resistance by added element, in addition, which was given heat-resistance by material structure control. This material met the specifications of both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and railroad vehicle material in Japan. Ignition temperature was approx. 1,000 degrees Celsius, higher than conventional magnesium alloys and very easy to machine such as cutting and processing.

Various shape such as ingot, powder and billet will be available. Applications for hand tools and bicycle parts will be expected. Not only material performance itself but combination with both corrosion-resistant and joining technologies will help further applications.

Toyohashi University of Technology developed thermoelectric material made of Calcium, Magnesium and Silicon

(Source: “The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun”, 16th Sep, 2016)

Yoshikazu Todaka, Associate professor of Department of Mechanical Engineering, Toyohashi University of Technology and others developed thermoelectric material made of Calcium, Magnesium and Silicon, converting temperature difference to electric power.  Consisted of elements whose resource were abundant, composition-adjustment enabled to choose electricity direction as intended.  Since power generation amount per weight is so big, development will be undertaken as application for moving body such as Automobile.

Generally, when 3 elements (Ca, Mg and Si) were mixed in heat, Si melting point 1,400 degrees Celsius will exceed the Mg boiling point 1,100 degrees Celsius.  So the developed method is to mix 3 elements powder with mechanical milling to micronize down to nanometer (Nano means 1/1 billion) size.

Then sintering with applying pressure and passing an electric current after hardening mixed powder.

Molten magnesium reacted with Calcium and Silicon to generate intermetallic compounds.  

Power factor of CaMgSi was 0.42 milliwatts / metre Kelvin at 160 degrees Celsius. Adjusting the portion of elements, both of Anode (N-type) and Negative electrode (P-type) can be made accordingly.

Thermoelectric material is generally lined up n-type and p-type alternately to increase voltage.

At temperature below 200 degrees Celsius, bismuth-tellurium system is told dominant as thermoelectric material, however both bismuth and tellurium were also rare metal.

Domestic Magnesium Market - July, 2016

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

Based on Import/Export Statistics of July 2016, magnesium metal import was 2,710.1 ton (0.1% decrease from the same month previous year), magnesium powder 326.6 ton (0.5% decrease), and other products 201.4 ton (32.3% decrease), resulting in grand total of 3,238.1ton (3.3% decrease).

The metal category consisted of 4 products as follows; (A) 2,205.0 ton of pure magnesium (10.4% increase), showing recovery. (B) 498.4 ton of die-casting alloys (29.6% decrease), falling down again. (C) 45kg of high purity magnesium (99.5% decrease), even small quantity, imported after an absence of 5 months. (D) 6.6 ton of casting alloy (31.4% decrease) including 0.7 ton from Taiwan likely to be Mg-Li alloy cast billet.

Magnesium metal has remained low since the beginning of 2016.  The average price of pure magnesium in July was 203.8 yen per kg, a significant decrease of 22.6 yen per kg or 10.0% on month-to-month basis, turning from current upward tendency.

In that connection, the average import price of 200-yen range is the same level of that of year 2006. The price of magnesium alloys sharply decreased to 258.1 yen per kg , down 25.0 yen per kg or 8.8% on month-to-month basis.
As for the total amount of import from January to July 2016, magnesium metal was 15,150.8 ton (21.0% decrease, from the same period of previous year), magnesium powder was 2,269.7 ton (9.5% decrease) and other products were 1,460.5 ton (23.3% increase).  As a result, the grand total amount of import from January to July was 18,881.1 ton, 17.5% decrease comparing to same period previous year.

Export of magnesium in July 2016, consisted of 10kg of pure magnesium to USA and 27.2 ton of magnesium alloys (89.3% decrease from the same period of previous year) and 1.1 ton of powder and granules (86.2% increase) including the export to Malaysia for an absence of 3 years.  Other products were 0.9 ton (10.2% decrease) to China.

As for the total amount of export from January to July 2016, pure magnesium metal was 3.1 ton (23,769.2% increase) same as previous month, magnesium alloy metal was 219.8 ton (72.9% decrease), magnesium powder was 4.2 ton (26.9% increase) and other products were 13.3 ton (36.6% decrease).

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