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Magnesium News 2017, October
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October 2017

Japan - Magnesium Newsletter (August/September)

The Japan Magnesium Association

L'Oreal · UNESCO Japanese woman scientist Encouragement Prize

(Source: The Mainichi, 3 Aug. 2017)

Yukiko Ogawa (27) of National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) won "L'Oreal · UNESCO Japanese woman scientist Encouragement Prize 2017," that is recognized women scientist who performed outstanding achievement.  Her world first achievement of shape memory magnesium alloy was evaluated.

The award was founded in 2005 by both foreign-affiliated cosmetic company "Japan L'Oreal" and the United Nations Educational Science Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Four women scientists are chosen every year from the field of life and material science. Ms. Ogawa is from Komaki-city, Aichi Prefecture and went on to Faculty of Engineering, Tohoku University.  She wanted to create new things and help people, then chose a path to material development.

The developed alloy is easy to process and weighs about one third of the conventional shape memory alloy. There still remains a problem in practical use since it performs only at low temperature below 100 degrees Celsius. However wider applications are expected for such as an artificial satellite that requires weight saving to reduce launch cost and medical device "stent" that has narrow blood vessel widen which was caused by arteriosclerosis. The achievement was also published in US science magazine Science.

Since last April, she started working at NIMS as a special researcher of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Fuji Light Metal - Location Agreement with Nagasu town on Magnesium Stent Clinical Equipments

(Source: Japan Metal Daily, 21 Aug. 2017; Keikinzoku Tsushin, 29 Aug. 2017)

Fuji Light Metal announced on August 17, that they concluded a business location agreement with local Nagasu town to expand facilities for R&D of magnesium alloy extruded products for medical treatment, targeted completing construction by April 2018. The facilities are used for development of medical stent which expands blood vessels from inside to restore blood flow with bioabsorbable property.

300 million yen will be invested to increase the number of casting furnaces, small extrusion presses and laser beam machines in the expanded building. In addition, six more employees will be hired. This investment aims to facilitate further development of research and the shift to the clinical stage.

Shimadzu Corporation - Energy dispersive fluorescent X-ray analyzer released

(Source: The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, 31 Aug. 2017)

On August 30, Shimadzu Corporation announced that it released an energy dispersive fluorescent X-ray analyzer "EDX-8100" that enables high-sensitivity analysis of light elements such as fluorine and aluminum in liquid samples. Although liquid specimen cannot be analyzed under vacuum, a helium atmosphere inside of the apparatus enables the analysis.

The price is 10.5 million yen without consumption tax. Helium compatible unit is 320,000 yen. Sales target in the first year is anticipated 30 sets both in Japan and abroad.

Under helium atmosphere, sodium, magnesium and aluminum in liquid samples can be analyzed up to 3 times sensitive than conventional products. In this equipment, X-rays are irradiated on a sample without complicated pretreatment, fluorescent X-rays generated from the sample surface are detected, and elements and concentrations constituting the sample are analyzed.

Yamaha Motor - Casting contract production expanding in 9 countries for Aluminum and Magnesium

(Source:The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, 1 Sep. 2017)

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd started a contract manufacturing business that makes full use of advanced casting technologies cultivated in motorcycles and marine business. They try to develop new fields with proprietary technologies such as aluminum diecasting mass production technology for large and thin parts and magnesium casting technology. Taking advantage of own global production network, Yamaha expects 10 billion yen annual sales in this business.

Yamaha Motor has proprietary technologies such as "CF die casting" of thin-wall aluminum diecast parts for mass production and difficult-to-process-magnesium casting. Furthermore, they will internally expand casting equipment and manufacturing method that can correspond to various parts from small to large, low to high pressure in nine countries in the world. Even in contract manufacturing business, they respond to diverse needs in Indonesia and Thailand.

As automobiles become more electrified, weight reduction technology has been reviewed again. The casting technology cultivated in the motorcycle business can be proposed for electric vehicle (EV) and its motor weight reduction and a high performance technology. Besides the transportation equipment category, they will be eager to develop new fields such as wind power generation equipment, complex shape exterior (exterior materials) and art works.

Yamaha will enhance awareness through company’s website and exhibitions to enjoy further orders. While the domestic motorcycle market is sluggish, the more contracts increases the higher plant operation rate could be enhanced.

The history of Yamaha's casting technology dates back to the piano frame of former Nippon Gakki manufacturing (now Yamaha Corporation). Technology has been polished by dealing with diversified products such as motorcycle casting parts which require high quality, function and beautiful appearance, outboard motors which boast reliability and durability and moreover 4-wheel car engines.

Magnesium-rich food, risk reduction of myocardial infarction

(Source: The Nikkei, 8 Sep. 2017; The Yomiuri Shinbun, 8 Sep. 2017, etc.)

Both “National Cancer Center Japan” and “National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center,” announced on August 7 that those who eat foods rich in magnesium often did not develop ischemic heart disease such as an cardiac infarction.  After being traced by approximately 85,000 people for 15 years, the onset risk was reduced by 30 to 40% in case of high intake.

It is told it is desirable to take a lot of magnesium-rich fish, fruits, vegetables, legumes, seaweed and so on. Lack of magnesium possibly leads to blood pressure elevation and arteriosclerosis, which can cause cardiac infarction. Recommended intake per day is 320 to 370 mg and 270 to 290 mg for adult male and female respectively.  150 g of silken tofu contains 60 to 70 mg magnesium.
Of the residents of 45 to 74 years old who live in 8 prefectures including Iwate, Ibaraki and Okinawa, who had never suffered cardiovascular disease or cancer were examined. Quantity of magnesium intake was estimated by hearing of 138 amount items per day. They were divided into 5 groups according to intake amount and the difference of disease onset probability was compared. The more intake of magnesium in both males and females, the less risk of developing ischemia heart disease.  For example, in men, the highest group was 34% lower than the lowest group.

Maruyama Kogyo Co., Ltd - Released “Quena” using magnesium Alloy

(Source:TOKYO Web, 10 Sep. 2017)

End-brown Andean flute “Quena” is essential for playing ethnic Latin American music such as "El Cóndor Pasa.  Since it is made of bamboo and wood, a simple and warm tone is a special characteristic. Maruyama Kogyo Co., Ltd, Automotive Parts Processing Company located in Yamamiya, Fujinomiya City, Shizuoka Prefecture, successfully commercialized it by using magnesium alloy.
The entry into the different field of musical instruments was triggered by president Haruyoshi Kukawa (52)’s flexible idea.  90% of company's operations are pipes and press processing for automotive related parts.

About one and a half years ago, a certain company in the same city asked him to drill a magnesium alloy lightweight cane (stick), which inspired "a whistle like thing" when he saw the length adjustment holes on the pipe lining up. He focused on simple shape “Quena” and began prototyping with a casual feeling that it might be interesting if presented at the city's commercial fair. After researching he understood that magnesium was an excellent acoustic material which was used for high performance speaker.

The product is difficult to cause metal allergy and suitable for musical instruments which touches the lips. In addition, metallic shining looks beautiful. Mr. Fit Guevara from Honduras, folklore performer living in the city was asked to test play. He said "Sounds cool! It's easy to take a stable pitch." Product name is "marco." 8,000 yen including tax. It is on sale through website and at "Ongakusha," music school and musical instrument dealer in Suruga-ku, Shizuoka city.

Domestic Magnesium Market - July, 2017

(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 2017, magnesium metal import was total 3,791.0 tons, 83.5% significant increase on month-to-month basis (39.9% increase from the same month previous year), which showed favorable recovery after current decline for 2nd consecutive year. It is the high level since 4,051.6 tons recorded highest in November 2016 and regained high mark level of 3,000 tons again.

Magnesium powder was 418.0 tons, 2.8% decrease on month-to-month basis (28.0% increase), being relatively stable level.

On the other hand, while other products had showed record decrease last month, it soared up to 339.0 tons, 2,027.1% rapid rebound on month-to-month basis (68.3% increase). To sum up, total was 4,548.1 tons, 81.0% increase on month-to-month basis (40.5% increase), which surpassed 4,000 tons level after an interval of 8 months since November 2016.

The metal category consisted of 4 products as follows; (a) 3,324.7 tons of pure magnesium, 106.1%   increase on month-to-month basis (50.8% increase).  Imports from Turkey was 26.4 tons, falling slightly from last month. (b) 439.4 tons of die-casting alloys, 3.3% increase on month-to-month basis (11.8% decrease). (c) high purity magnesium recovered to 0.5 tons after an absence of 2 months. (d) 26.4 tons of casting alloy, 4.4% decrease on month-to-month basis (300.7% increase) remaining stable.

As for the average import price of magnesium metal in July, the price of pure magnesium was 239.3 yen per kg, 1.8 yen per kg or 0.7% lower on month-to-month basis. 35.5 yen or 17.4% increase comparing to a year ago.  For side note, China and Turkey import prices were almost same as previous month i.e. 239.1 yen and 268.6 yen per kg respectively.  The price of magnesium alloys increased to 299.0 yen per kg, 11.2 yen increase on month-to-month basis (3.9% increase).

As for the total amount of import from January to July 2017, magnesium metal was 20,160.7 tons (33.4% increase, from the same period previous year), magnesium powder was 2,227.2 tons (1.9% decrease) and other products was 1,494.2 tons (2.3% increase). The grand total amount of import from January to July was 23,882.1 tons, 26.7% increase comparing to same period previous year, to which magnesium metal keeps on contributing significantly.


The export of magnesium in July consisted of 0 ton of pure magnesium, 12.8 tons of magnesium alloys, 2.6% decrease on month-to-month basis (52.9% decrease), entirely to Taiwan.  0.4 tons of magnesium powder and granules (88.0% significant drop), and other products was 3.7 tons, 170.8% significant increase on month-to-month basis (298.6% increase) including 0.6 tons and 3.0 tons to China and Vietnam respectively.  The grand total export was 16.9 tons, 0.3% decrease on month-to-month basis (42.2% decrease).

As for the total amount of export from January to July, pure magnesium metal increased to 106.1 tons (34.2 times of that at the same period previous year), magnesium alloy metal was 79.1 tons (64.0% decrease), magnesium powder was 6.3 tons (52.0% increase) and other products was 14.5 tons (8.9% increase). The grand total of export from January to July was 205.9 tons (14.3% decrease).

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