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Magnesium News 2019, February - Japan (Nov/Dec)
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Japan - Magnesium Newsletter - December 2018, Vol 74

(Covering the news for November–December 2018)

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

NEXUS started to supply front LCD’s large magnesium parts to Benz Class A.

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

NEXUS Co., Ltd, magnesium components manufacturer, successfully developed and started to supply the front LCD magnesium parts to German high-end car maker Benz’s Class A.  850 ton Thixomolding machine is used for this mass production in newly established production factory in Gifu.

The company has been mass producing same parts exporting to EU until now. But the size of parts is much larger this time.  Since many ribs as well as thin wall are designed, mass production operation looked not easy to establish but enabled in good shape. It weighs 750 g, lighter than 1 kg in case of aluminum, which met Benz requirement on weight reduction
Japan Steel Works adds largest 1,300 ton machine eyeing magnesium further larger size parts

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

The Japan Steel Works, Ltd reinforces a size-range lineup of magnesium injection molding machine (Thixomolding machine).  Accelerating rapid Electric motorization and Autonomous car technology development, magnesium alloy is anticipated to being applied more and more due to its lightweight, strength and recyclability.

In addition to 3 existing machine sizes, the largest 1,300 ton clamping force will be added and started sales in 2019.

As well as existing application for mobile devices, the company will provide larger machine to cope with rising demand for Automobile
Yamazaki Diecast achieved new magnesium application for VR glasses.

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

Yamazaki Diecast Co., Ltd accomplished new surface treatment technology “GT STOM” jointly developed with Toadenka Co.,Ltd, realizing beautiful appearance without painting after magnesium and aluminum diecasting, which was decided to apply for VR glasses frame and proceed to mass production within 2018.

While diecast parts always have flow lines defect on surface, this technique enables to make it disappear and leads to process shortcut.  And surface quality is almost same as black and white colors painting. The next issue is for larger size like laptop housing.  However this should be the innovative development.
Japan Fine Steel successfully developed 0.025mm diameter pure magnesium wire

 (Source: Japan Metal Bulletin, December 7, 2018)

Japan Fine Steel Co., Ltd successfully developed 0.025mm diameter pure magnesium wire. 0.07 to 3.5 mm diameter with tolerance at one-100th was mass produced until now, further smaller diameter has been achieved to draw this time. It is told that such a small diameter is the world smallest. Their target is medical field application.


Magnesium market prevision 2019 by Tak Trading.

 (Source: Rare Metal News, December 16, 2018)

Chinese magnesium market price is likely to decrease due to environmental regulation loosening to stimulate economy in 2019.  If regulation continues, it may still rise.

According to the forecast by president Kamishima of Tak Trading Co.,Ltd, environmental regulation loosening cannot be avoided in order to minimize the economic downturn caused by trade war between China and the US.  Since the production capacity is originally surplus, generally predicted operation rate will increase and price will decrease.  “CFR price will be decreasing down to 2,200 USD to 2,400 USD per ton in October to December.  However if regulation continues, it may increase up to 3,300 USD to 3,500 USD by end of 2018.

In 2018, mg operation was strongly restricted due to environmental regulation as well as both furnace maintenance and labor shortage, which market tightness resulted in market price climbing up to 2,800 - 2,850 USD from 2,300 USD on top of year.  The price of raw material such as ferrosilicon remained in low level comparing to 2017, it was profitable for producer and production would turn to increase if environmental regulation loosened.  Concerning about economic slowdown caused by trade war against the US, production stop command as countermeasure for air pollution cooled down comparing to 2017.  It is receiving much attention how central government moves between environmental protection and economic growth.


Kawamoto Heavy Industries establishes magnesium and titanium new factory planning mass production in 2019.

 (Source: The Nikkan Kogyo Shinbun, December 18, 2018)

Kawamoto Heavy Industries Co.,Ltd (Takasago-shi, Hyogo pref.) will construct new factory with R&D function to start mass production of magnesium and titanium new material, which is planned to complete within 2019 after acquiring a site in Yokosuka-shi, Kanagawa-pref.  Total investment will be 500,000,000 to 1,000,000,000 JPY including land.  New material is focused on lightweight and high strength features eyeing robot and medical application.

The company accomplished super-high-strength magnesium alloy and pure titanium material jointly developed with Prof. Hiromi Miura of Toyohashi University of Technology.  Multi-axis forging method is used to make square and round bar, which gained almost 2 times stronger than conventional material while it keeps existing lightness and corrosion resistance.  Now development is undergoing in existing Yokosuka factory but new factory will locate at near site separately expecting demand increase.  Site size will be 3,000 to 7,000 square meter.  New factory consists of both R&D and mass production.

Both material developments are being carried out under academic-industrial collaboration.  Regarding magnesium alloy, the company provides material for Impulsing Paradigm Change through Disruptive Technologies Program (ImPACT) promoted by Cabinet Office, aiming to apply to head nozzle for snake type disaster robots and oil pressure cylinder for robot.  Regarding pure titanium, it is applied to medical screw material.  In addition, jointly developed with Kokushikan University, prototype trial is undergoing for sternum protector to avoid breaking breast bone during cardiac massage.  The company is exploring new application field such as robot, medical, aerospace and automotive.


Tokyo Institute of Technology developed disaster robot’s drive device by oil pressure precise move.

 (Source: The Nikkei, December 25, 2018 and Japan Metal Bulletin, December 27, 2018)

Koichi Suzumori, professor of Tokyo Institute of Technology et al, announced that they developed the technology to operate robot precisely by oil pressure in case of disaster and construction site.  Suiting to operate under dusty outdoor environment, it is able to carry heavy stuff which cannot be moved by existing electric robot. Order can be received through university venture established in October and trial lot will be shipped in February 2019. 

Robot’s joint components generally move by electric motor, which enables quick and precise movement but does not suit for big lord, being weak for mechanical shock and dust. On the contrary, oil pressure generates big power, which is used for construction machinery’s drive parts but it was hard to get quick and precise move.

Hydraulic system moves robot by pushing and pulling oil in cylinder by using piston. The group improved structure between piston and cylinder, and successfully reduced friction down to a one-tenth during pushing.  By putting oil in and out smoothly, it enabled to move more smoothly.

Monitored by sensor at drive device, oil quantity is controlled precisely, which enables precise movement.  Magnesium alloy was adopted to save weight.  By operating robot-hand made by developed drive device unit, 3 piles of 3 cm concrete plate were easily broken by only one push.
MACRW released brand-new “Light tempo” furniture for kids

(Source: ALUTOPIA December 2018)

MACRW Co.,Ltd has developed the ultra-lightweight furniture made by magnesium alloy, “Light tempo Kids.” The company exhibited products such as book shelf, toy shelf, mouse house, mouse cart and Kid’s stool, at IFFT Interior lifestyle living exhibition at Tokyo Big Sight from November 14 to 16 and started sales.

By using magnesium alloy, the lightest in practical metal, light weight were realized in Mouse cart (4.2kg), Book shelf, Toy shelf, mouse house (10kg) and Kid’s stool(1.5kg). They are very easy to handle thanks to lightweight and their pretty design with humor offers special-kids-space made by magnesium and wood.  The products will be sold at interior shops and select-shops, as well as their EC site “Magneya” http://magneya.com.


Industry Association of magnesium in Ibaraki has built up drone jointly with Quest Corporation

(Source: ALUTOPIA December 2018)

Industry Association of magnesium in Ibaraki has built up drone using magnesium jointly developed with Quest Corporation (Kamitakai-gun, Nagano Pref.), Drone manufacturer & seller.  Prototype was exhibited at “the Tenth Japan Magnesium Exhibition”, October 17 – 19 in Tokyo Big Sight.

Magnesium is superior than steel in damping capacity, which enables rotation speed increase using at rotor parts and leads to enhance flight performance.  Development utilizing Magnesium’s excellent characteristic is now ongoing.


Domestic Magnesium Market - October 2018

(Source: October 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 October 2018, magnesium metal import was 1,942.3 tons, 23.9% increase on month-to-month basis, (25.7% decrease from the same month previous year), falling below the 2,000 tons level for 2 consecutive months, showing a bit recovery from previous month but not restoring the level of previous year.  Magnesium powder was 453.3 tons, 13.1% increase on month-to-month basis (155.6% increase), showing favorable increase while it tends to repeat significant up-and-down. Other products was 402.1 tons, 119.1% increase on month-to-month basis (20.8% increase).  All categories i.e. metal, powder and other products, showed increase on month-to-month basis. The grand total was 2,797.6 tons, 30.0% increase on month-to-month basis (27.3% decrease).

The reason why magnesium metal import slumps is “direct” shipping to overseas factory without going through Japan in major demand such as aluminum alloying, titanium reduction and diecasting.

Both cleaning out stock for desulfurization and favorable operation rate on Injection molding contributed to increase of powder and other products.

The metal consisted of 4 categories as follows: (a) 1,483.2 tons of pure magnesium, 39.3% increase on month-to-month basis (29.4% decrease), entirely from China;  (b) 423.0 tons of die-casting alloy, 8.3% slight decrease on month-to-month basis (14.5% decrease);  (c) 0 ton of high purity magnesium;  (d) 36.1 tons of casting alloy, 13.2% decrease on month-to-month basis (102.5% increase), falling for 2 consecutive months and looks stagnating phase.

As for the average import price of magnesium metal in October, pure magnesium was 296.9 JPY/kg, 13.6 JPY or 4.8% increase comparing to metal price in September, 13.9 JPY/kg or 4.9% increase comparing to Mg metal price from China in September. Magnesium alloys was 325.6 JPY/kg, 3.2 JPY/kg or 1.0% increase on month-to-month basis, being stable but gradually rising affected by pure magnesium metal increase.  As for the total amount of import from January to October, magnesium metal was 21,835.6 tons (20.7% decrease from same period previous year).
Magnesium metal by category is as follows, pure magnesium metal was 16,717.5 tons (25.9% decrease), high purity magnesium metal was 26.3 tons (3.7 % increase).  Die-casting alloy was 4,680.4 tons (0.9% decrease).  Casting alloy was 411.4 tons (81.5% increase).

Magnesium powder was 3,500.3 tons (12.8% increase), other products was 2,064.5 tons (1.2% increase).  As a result, the grand total of import from January to October was 27,400.4 tons, 16.1% decrease comparing to same period previous year.

Export

The magnesium export in October consisted of 4 categories as follows.  0.5 ton of pure magnesium, 129.2 tons of magnesium alloy entirely to Brazil, 780.4% significant increase on month-to-month basis (992.7% increase).  Magnesium powder was 0 ton.  4.2 tons of other products, 16.7% decrease on month-to-month basis (21.2% increase) including 1.0 ton to China, 3.0 tons to Vietnam, 0.3 ton to Korea, 55 kgs to Macao. The grand total export was 133.9 tons, 578.7% increase on month-to-month basis (543.3% increase), to which magnesium alloy export to Brazil contributed significantly which was supposed to be secondary alloy metal judging from its unit price.

As for the total amount of export from January to October, pure magnesium metal was 21.7 tons (79.6% decrease). Magnesium alloy metal was 233.5 tons (123.0% increase), magnesium powder was 5.6 tons (56.0% decrease) and other products was 70.3 tons (172.2% increase).  As for the grand total amount of export from January to October 2018 was 331.1 tons (32.8% increase from same period previous year).

International Magnesium Association

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