Magnesium News 2018, April/May - Japan (Feb-March)
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April/May 2018

Japan - Magnesium Newsletter (February/March)

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

Rikazai successfully developed 2µm thickness pure magnesium foil

(Source: Japan Metal Daily, February 9, 2018)

Rikazai Co., Ltd.(Nakahara-ku, Kawasaki-shi), non-ferrous metal foil product manufacturer, has developed Ultra-thin pure magnesium foil of 2 µm thickness.  Rolling condition was variously devised, which successfully achieved considerable reduction from existing thinest10 microns.  This thin foil supply contributes to make electronic components smaller and lighter.  Sample shipments are ongoing and mass production is targeted to start in 3 years.

Pure magnesium foil has outstanding features such as lightweight and superior strength.  Ultra-thin type is processed by small machine of cold rolling process with several sheets being piled at the same time.  To avoid sheets to be welded each other due to processing-heat, optimum piling amount and rolling speed were investigated and 5 µm know-how was successfully established.  No makers could produce such an ultra-thin pure magnesium.  Company is eyeing new application research by using this proprietary technology.

Company was founded in 1947 with 20,000,000 JPY capital, 25 employees as of now.  Their strength is capability to respond more finely to customer’s various trial needs and to produce both rolled foil and precision-worked-product of stainless as well as titanium, copper and aluminum, in small quantity & large variety.  Several hundreds of kilogram products are being shipped toward trader and makers’ R&D division.


Ohmura Manufacturing equipped Complex machining center to increase Aerospace parts

(Source: The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, February 22, 2018)

Ohmura Manufacturing Co., Ltd (Higashimatsuyama-shi, Saitama-ken) introduced Complex machining center (CMC) to increase production of aerospace equipment parts. Ongoing improvements on the manufacturing process enabled to eliminate manufacturing term almost in half, which leads to increase production up to 2 times more than usual according to simple calculation.  For example, round seal parts in 760mm diameter is possible to increase from 3 to 6 pieces a month.  With 60,000,000 JPY of investment for equipment, company will move into new manufacturing shift shortly.  Company’s main pillar is Automotive parts production and also has long history of Aircraft parts since late ‘60s. 

Currently rocket parts are also being produced and difficult-working-materials such as Inconel and Magnesium are available to process.  There are wide variety of shapes, for instance mechanical seal engine parts with a few centimeter thickness and large ring parts in 1 meter diameter.

However their headache was to let partly-finished products move around again and again among facilities especially in case of Aerospace parts which requires higher manufacturing technology, which resulted in time loss for hours due to frequent transportation, storage, intermediate-inspection, excessive jig resetting and adjustment.  CMC brings 3 benefits: 1) integration of lathing and drilling; 2) elimination of intermediate inspection; 3) automation of manual deburring.  As a result, loss caused by moves is reduced in half, which will enable to meet delivery terms as almost all customers require.
 “Since Japan domestic next generation rocket is targeted half in cost, we also should rebuild production cost coping with it,” the company said.


Guitar Made with Magnesium from Iwakura Welding Industry

(Source: Nikkei Technology, February 27, 2018, Iwakura Welding Industry Press Release)

Iwakura welding Industry Co., Ltd, metal welding processor (Shimada-shi) developed 2 kinds of guitar made by magnesium and stainless steel, which thin sheet was processed without distortion by proprietary processing technology.  Polishing makes surface beautiful and its sound is sharper than wood.  It tooks one year for development with advice from a professional guitar production engineer.

The magnesium guitar is an acoustic type with sheet thickness of 1 mm and weighs 1.6 kg, lighter than a wooden guitar.  The stainless guitar is 0.8 mm t, the thinnest among all guitars, that one can play in acoustic and electric if connected with amplifier.

The company will promote proprietary technology by collaborating with musicians and consider mass production and promoting sales to musical instruments store.


Fujitsu Kasei to Expand Magnesium Market by Thixomolding and Diecasting

(Source: Diecast shinbun, February 28, 2018)

Fujitsu Kasei Limited is pushing magnesium business forward by thixomolding and diecasting to expand magnesium products demand. They possess integrated thixomolding production line including surface treatment in Yokohama. As for diecasting, they cooperated with Chinese maker since 2015 who also possess integrated line.

The company was founded in 1953 as plastic molding maker producing switching equipment parts for Fujitsu, then started magnesium molding production with thixomolding machines in 1998. Clamping force 650 ton × 4 machines and 280 ton × 1, total 5 machines are equipped as of now and post process such as chemical conversion, painting and assembly are integrated.  3C housing mainly for laptop is the products and 80% and more of Fujitsu “FMV-LIFEBOOK” series as well.  One 650 ton thixomolding machine has been replaced to Chinese diecaster above.

On the other hand, Automotive, camera and Audio parts are produced by magnesium diecasting. They say, ”Currently inquiry to replace aluminum to magnesium diecast is increasing” and both thixomolding and diecasting would accelerate magnesium molding application expansion.


Sony’s High-end Headphone Using Magnesium Processed by Japan Fine Steel

(Source: Sokeizai-tsushin, March 1, 2018)

It was proved by magnesium audio cable produced by Japan Fine Steel Co., Ltd that magnesium’s damping capacity enhances sound quality.  Sony’s high-end headphone for studio use “MDR-Z1000” also utilizes its capacity to avoid turbulence of sound.  Wide range is available from 5hz to 80khz.  Open pricing.


Nagoya University Discovered Super-conductive Quasicrystal Material

(Source: The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, March 6, 2018)

Prof. Noriaki Sato of Graduate school of science, Nagoya University et al found out the super-conductive quasicrystal material which has regularity of the atom but doesn’t have periodicity.  By cooling Quasicrystal combined by nonferrous metals at temperature 0.05K, super-conductivity was gained showing electric resistance zero and decreasing magnetization.  It became clear that gravitation acts on quasicrystal as well, which is expected to lead to explore the new type of super-conductivity.
When quasicrystal combined with aluminum, zinc and magnesium was cooled down, “Meissner effect” to cease external magnetic field from inside was observed.  Its specific heat which indicates how easily temperature rises increased and showed bulk characteristic.  In case of super-conductivity, a pair is normally formed by gravitation between electrons, it is possible to form different kind of pair from conventional crystal and amorphous.


Hamamatsu Factory of M’S Corporation Moves and Expands to Cope with Increasing Demand for Plastic and Metal Products

(Source: The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, March 16, 2018)

M’S Corporation Co., Ltd, prototype manufacturer of engine parts for motorbike and Automobile, will move Tokai facility from Minami-ku to Kita-ku in Hamamatsu-shi in upcoming June.  They intend to capture increasing trial production needs for plastic and metal products in Shizuoka prefecture.  80,000,000 JPY will be invested. 

Expected revenue of only this facility in fiscal year 2019 is 30% higher than that of 2018.
CMC in new factory is planned to increase from existing 3 to 6.  And so is employee number.  Since prototype inquiries in complicated shape are increasing, 5 axis processing machine is being considered to equip.  Their strong area is cutting process for various materials such as plastic, aluminum and magnesium, used for Automotive, Construction material, Cosmetics and Medical field


Domestic Magnesium Market - January, 2018

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

Import

According to Ministry of Finance’s Import/Export Statistics released in January 2018, magnesium metal import fell down to 1,485.5 tons, 34.2% significant decrease on month-to-month basis (52.9% decrease from the same month of previous year) while it remained favorably in overall 2017.

Magnesium powder was 480.5 tons, 391.6% significant increase on month-to-month basis (8.7% increase).  Other products was 235.9 tons, 21.5% increase on month-to-month basis (18.7% decrease).  The grand total was 2,201.9 tons, 13.6% decrease on month-to-month basis (43.3% decrease).  Looking at 3 categories above, powder showed significant rise repeating up-and-down every one month.

The metal is consisted of 4 categories as follows; (a) 974.1 tons of pure magnesium, 48.5% significant decrease on month-to-month basis (62.2% decrease) though import from Turkey and Israel returned. (b) 468.4 tons of die-casting alloys, 39.1% increase on month-to-month basis (14.2% decrease). (c) 0 tons of high purity magnesium. (d) 42.9 tons of casting alloy, 81.8% increase on month-to-month basis (335.1% increase) which UK contributed to.

As for the average import price of magnesium metal in January, pure magnesium rose to 269.3 JPY/kg, 24.6 JPY or 10.0% increase on month-to-month basis.  For side note Chinese, Turkey and Israel were 268.3 JPY/kg, 269.9 JPY/kg and 556.7 JPY/kg respectively.  Magnesium alloys was 306.9 JPY/kg,11.7 JPY/kg or 4.0% increase on month-to-month basis.

Export

The magnesium export in January consisted of 1.0 ton of pure magnesium, 16.3% increase on month-to-month basis, (54.4% decrease).  26.0 tons of magnesium alloys, 32 folded increase on month-to-month basis (102.1% increase) entirely to Taiwan for the first time in two months.  Magnesium powder was 0 ton and other products was 6.2 tons, 37.5% decrease on month-to-month basis (831.6% increase) including 0.3 tons and 5.9 tons to China and Vietnam respectively. The grand total export was 33.2 tons, 177.1% increase on month-to-month basis (112.6% increase).

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