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Magnesium News 2017, January
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January 2017

Japan - Magnesium Newsletter (September)

The Japan Magnesium Association

LG Electronics Japan released 15.6-inch screen 980g laptop. Lightest in the world

(Source: “MyNavi News,” 9th Sept 2016)

On September 9 LG Electronics Japan released the world lightest laptop, a 15.6-inch screen, “LG gram” weighing 980 g.  Available in stores in late September. Initial pricing is expected to be approximately 132,000 yen excluding tax.

LG “Gram” was initially announced at Home-electric-appliance-conference “CES 2016” in Las Vegas, US in January 2016 as the first laptop that LG Electronics sells in Japan's domestic market. It incorporates a 15.6 Inch Full HD IPS Touch Display with slim 6.7mm bezel and foot print close to 14 inches. Thickness is reduced to 16.8mm.  The body is made of durable magnesium alloy which is used for aerospace and supercar. The specification are as follows: CPU Intel 6th generation processor, SSD storage, 97 numeric keypad, UBS Type-C interface.

Macrw Co., Ltd successfully developed a magnesium alloy tube, targeting biodegradable stent

(Source: “Rare Metal News,” 24th Sept 2016, “ALUTOPIA,” Oct 2016)

Macrw Co., Ltd,  magnesium alloy processor, successfully developed a cold drawn technology of magnesium alloy tube, targeting biodegradable stent. Stent means a medical device to keep open a blood-vessel-stenosis-part caused by arteriosclerosis. Biodegradable material which eventually fade away safely in the body is attracting attention. Magnesium is easily corroded under physiology atmosphere and known as suitable biomaterial owing to both strength and elasticity. The size of tube is 2mm outer-diameter, 0.15mm thickness and 1,000mm length.  Alloy is ZM21 (2% Zinc and 1% Manganese). The smaller diameter usually required for a stent tube, refined grain and high dimensional accuracy were achieved at low cost. This project was collaborated with the team of Dr. Yoshihara in Yamanashi university, supported by Shizuoka Industry Foundation ”Shizuoka Industry-academia-government R&D subsidy program.” Macrw Co., Ltd is developing welfare-equipment such as cane, wheel chair and guide dog harness using magnesium as well as the proprietary cold drawing process.

Honda team developed practical magnesium-based rechargeable battery replacing lithium-ion battery

(Source: “The Nikkei,” 9th Oct 2016)

The Honda-SAITEC (Saitama Industrial Technology Center in Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture) team has developed the world's first practical magnesium-based rechargeable battery. Material cost is significantly lower than lithium-ion battery for smartphone and the size is half. It might be next generation battery replacing lithium-ion. The magnesium battery developers hope to start selling in portable electronic devices including smartphones by 2018.

SAITEC led the development while Honda R&D in Wako city assessed the technology's viability. It has confirmed that a magnesium battery performs as well as a lithium-ion counterpart in terms of life and safety. The developers are now working with several battery makers to come up with a way to mass production. They will officially announce it in November at a scientific meeting in Chiba city.

The material's recharging performance quickly deteriorates as it is charged and drained, charged and drained.  To solve this, the developers introduced a new material, vanadium oxide, at the positive pole, making it easier for ions to move between it and the magnesium-based negative pole. For safety, the team added an organic substance that lowers the risk of magnesium catching fire. Magnesium costs 96% less than an expensive rare metal, lithium. In addition, its capacity is greater than lithium and it is possible to make the battery more compact.   If future advances can raise magnesium batteries with more capacity and make them more heat-resistant, the power packs could also find their way into hybrid and electric vehicles.

Tsutsumi Sangyo Co., Ltd released a magnesium attache case

(Source: “The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun,” 14th Oct 2016)

Tsutsumi Sangyo Co., Ltd (Sagamihara city) has launched a “75 Mg” product line made from magnesium material and released an attache case as the first product. The case is made by virtuosic processing technology using only a single sheet. The technology was developed using sheet metal trial production. The pricing is set at 675,000 yen including tax. Available at department stores in Tokyo. The size is 340mmH×420mmW×55mmD and weighs 1.6 kg. Available in brown, black and silver. 

Magnesium, the lightest of all commonly used structural materials, was used exclusively. Light weight and strengh are key selling points, while also highlighting noiseless open-and-shut lock mechanism, airtightness and handle.

Tsutsumi Sangyo Co., Ltd celebrated the 50th anniversary of their founding, specializing in trial production of camera and photocopying machine parts. The deformation behavior during hot bending where magnesium tends to suffer, was overcome by accumulated know-how over many years.  President Tsutsumi is satisfied with excellent result saying, “I wonder if Mg-sheet-metal-made-attache without using any mold might be the first case ever.”

Domestic Magnesium Market - August, 2016

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

Based on Import/Export Statistics of August 2016, magnesium metal import was 2,644.1 tons (16.1% increase from the same month previous year), magnesium powder 326.8 tons (4.3% increase), and other products 281.8 tons (7.1% increase), resulting in grand total of 3,252.8 tons (14.0% increase).

As for metal category, 2,015.7 tons of pure magnesium (14.5% increase), which showed favorable increase. 620.4 tons of die-casting alloys (24.3% increase) showed recovery. High purity magnesium turned to 0 tons again, 8.0 tons of casting alloy (52.5.% decrease) decreased sharply. The average import price of magnesium metal has remained sluggish since the beginning of 2016. The average price of pure magnesium in August recovered up to 219.5 yen per kg, an increase of 15.7 yen per kg or 7.7% comparing to sharp decrease in July. The price of magnesium alloys remained stable at 260.5 yen per kg, up 2.4 yen per kg or 0.9% on month-to-month basis. As for the total amount of import from January to August 2016, magnesium metal was 17,794.9 tons (17.1% decrease, from the same period of previous year), magnesium powder was 2,596.6 tons (7.9% decrease) and other products were 1,742.3 tons (20.3% increase).  As a result, the grand total amount of import from January to August was 22,133.8 tons, 14.0% decrease year-to-year basis.

In August 2016, export of magnesium consisted of 96.9 tons of magnesium alloys (0.1% increase from the same period of previous year) and pure magnesium fell down to 0 tons. 1.1 tons of Powder and granules were exported (2,247.8 % increase) entirely to Indonesia. Other products were 2.0 tons (275.3% increase), in which the export to China were 1.7 tons. As for the total amount of export from January to August 2016, pure magnesium metal remained same as previous month, Magnesium alloy metal was 316.7 tons (65.2% decrease), magnesium powder was 5.2 tons (57.7% increase) and other products were 15.2 tons (29.1% decrease).

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