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Magnesium News 2017, July
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July 2017

Japan - Magnesium Newsletter (May)

The Japan Magnesium Association

MACRW - Simple and ultralight Magnesium alloy Stool>

(Source: Mynavi News, 19 May, 2017)

Two types of Stool with favorable operability and handleability, are released from their Stool series “Light tempo”, through collaboration between Fujimaru Design Studio and MACRW proprietary Magnesium processing and welding technology.

“Light tempo Step Stool” is a chair having storage space like magazine rack under seating face, which transforms to step stool by overturning and drawing it out forward. Such a stairway function is useful when one takes a thing at a high place. Since the lightest practical metal Magnesium is adopted, “Light tempo Stool” and “Light tempo Step Stool” weigh 1.74kg and 2.95kg respectively.  Withstanding load reaches 80kg.

Since it is quite easy to carry, it may be used not only as fixed stationary but as movable tool from living room to kitchen, kid’s room and bedroom, everywhere in a house.
Yamaha Motor Co. - Appealed proprietary casting technology at Automotive engineering exposition

(Source: The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, 24 May 2017)

Yamaha Motor Co. exhibited several parts focusing on proprietary casting technology in Automotive engineering exposition 2017 held at Pacifico Yokohama commencing on May 24. Motorcycle parts required both lightweight and beauty, outboard engine parts required durability and complicated shape and Automotive engine parts and so on, had been developed by Yamaha, whose advanced technologies were introduced to lead sales activity.

“DiASil cylinder” world first made by all Aluminum for motorcycle, Cast wheel made by Magnesium and Aluminum cylinder head for outboard diesel engine were displayed, which proposed advanced technology as “casting expert company.”

NIMS - Developed Magnesium alloy performing high impact absorption

(Source: Mynavi News, 30 May 2017)

National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) announced that Hidetoshi Somekawa, Group leader of Research Center for Structural Materials successfully developed Magnesium alloy deformable to bellows shape like an accordion.

This achievement would be released on June 25th issue (Vol.58, Issue 7) as well as online release on “Materials Transaction” issued by The Japan Institute of Metals and Materials on May 26th.
Magnesium and Magnesium alloy have fundamental problem, i.e. unable to be used as Automotive parts due to safety consideration and unable to be processed into complicated shape. This is because it deforms plastically just slightly even applied large force and it breaks instantly.

Infinitesimal manganese added Magnesium alloy was prepared and extruded after heating at approximately 200 degrees C to be controlled grain size at 5 µm or under. Adding large force on this specimen at room temperature comparing to conventional commercial alloy, specimen was found it did not break and deformed plastically like bellow (or barrel shape) while conventional one cracked aslant and broke instantly.

This implied that breakage was unlikely to cause since it absorbed energy like cushion. According to an investigation of absorption energy against breakage, specimen performed absorption 3 times superior to conventional one.

This phenomenon was explained that manganese gathered between the grains growing smaller by extrusion process and grain boundary sliding was accelerated to cause. Automotive, wheelchair, Train sheet and bicycle frame application are expected because of its performance i.e. not break instantly and its easy deformability.

Based on this achievement, this group would target further applications of magnesium alloy both absorbing impact and processable complicated shape at room temperature in order to secure relief and safety.

You can find the bellow-like-deformation video at NIMS facebook page.

Tokorozawa Alloy Foundry Co., Ltd. - Transmission case for Automobile

(Source:The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, 2 June 2017)

Tokorozawa Alloy Foundry Co., Ltd. completed prototype production of Automotive transmission case by Magnesium alloy casting. They appeal their ability to establish casting technology against difficulties due to complicated shape.  

The biggest strength is lightweight. Magnesium weighs 5.0kgs, 2/3 of aluminum 7.6kgs in same shape. “We are receiving proposal to apply to Auto body for weight saving. Many casting companies have exited magnesium business. We are receiving inquiries instead,” Auto maker President Ikeda said.

The issue is the cost since it would be 50 - 80 % costly than aluminum.  Production needs more processing time and man power.  “Production yield is still low. However we could improve it by worker’s working experience, which could lead to cost reduction.” He is optimistic to have workers bestirred.

Domestic Magnesium Market - April, 2017

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


Based on Import/Export Statistics of April 2017, magnesium metal import was total 3,305.3 tons, 6.1% increase on month-to-month basis (22.7% increase from the same month previous year), growing continuously. 

However Magnesium powder fell to 168.0 tons, 52.2% decrease on month-to-month basis (53.2% decrease) and other products increased to 290.2 tons, 69.8% increase on month-to-month basis (110.3% increase), resulting in grand total of 3,763.4 tons, 3.5% increase on month-to-month basis (18.0% increase). 

The metal category consisted of 4 products as follows: (a) 2,973.6 tons of pure magnesium, 18.6%  favorable increase on month-to-month basis (31.6% increase), becoming duller rate than previous month though, which imports from China and Turkey contributed to;  (b) 309.5 tons of die-casting alloys 45.9% decrease on month-to-month basis (27.1% decrease);  (c) high purity magnesium was 0.2 tons, 95.9% significant decrease on month-to-month basis;  (d) 21.9 tons of casting alloy, 28.5% decrease on month-to-month basis (130.6% increase).

As for the average import price of magnesium metal in April, the price of pure magnesium increased slightly to 247.0 yen per kg, 0.7 yen per kg or 0.3% higher on month-to-month basis, almost same level as previous month. For side note, China and Turkey import prices were 247.0 yen and 256.4 yen per kg respectively. The price of magnesium alloys decreased down to 286.7 yen per kg, 16.4 yen per kg or 5.4% on month-to-month basis. There was no alloy import from Turkey.  Alloy import from Korea was 237.7 yen per kg, 52.1 yen per kg lower than Chinese price.

As for the total amount of import from January to April 2017, magnesium metal was 11,759.6 tons (41.6% increase, from the same period previous year), magnesium powder was 1,113.3 tons (23.4% decrease) and other products was 972.2 tons (31.2% increase). The grand total amount of import from January to April was 13,845.1 tons, 39.1% increase comparing to same period previous year, while powder’s export is still sluggish.


In April 2017, an export of magnesium consisted of 0 ton of pure magnesium and 13.3 tons of magnesium alloys, 1.0% increase on month-to-month basis, all of which was to Taiwan.  0 ton of magnesium powder and granules, first time since January, and other products were 0.5 tons, 91.3% significant decrease on month-to-month basis (17.5% decrease from the same month previous year) including 0.4 tons to China.  The grand total export was 13.8 tons, 80.9% significant decrease on month-to-month basis (1,994.8% increase).

As for the total amount of export from January to April 2017, pure magnesium metal remained 54.1 tons (3,900% increase, from the same period previous year), magnesium alloy metal was 40.3 tons (72.1% decrease), magnesium powder was 2.1 tons (80.5% increase) and other products was 9.6 tons (125.4% increase). The grand total of export from January to April was 106.1 tons (29.1% decrease).

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