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Magnesium News 2019, February - Japan (Dec/Jan)
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Japan - Magnesium Newsletter - January 2019, Vol 75

(Covering the news for December 2018-January 2019)

The Japan Magnesium Association

Denso Wave released glove type two-dimensional wearable scanner.

(Source: MONOist, December 27, 2018)

Denso Wave Incorporated released glove type two-dimensional wearable scanner “Wearable SF1” on December 17, 2018.  Size is 175mm×60mm×35mm.  Open pricing. 

By attaching this device on back of the hand, operator is able to read bar code and QR code easily at both picking and incoming-merchandise operation in warehouse and factory.

Its frame adopted lightweight and robust magnesium alloy, which reduces operator’s burden and endures repeated slight shocks which is hit against cardboard and rack.  It performs excellent shock-proof to clear 3,000 times of 0.5m height drop-test as well as strong shock of 2.5m height drop-test.

By wearing it on back of the hand, picking operation can be safer since both hands are freely usable.  This device will help to improve work efficiency as increase of cargo quantity and labor shortage are seriously predicted.

Japan Steel Works adds largest 1,300 ton machine eyeing magnesium further larger size parts

(Source: The Nikkan Kogyo Shinbun, December 28, 2018)

Fujioka Engineering Co., Ltd, magnesium alloy precision processor, will explore a new automotive components application.  The company will start to propose magnesium parts to automotive parts makers strongly appealing weight saving benefit.

The company plays light metal precision business for Aluminum and Magnesium as well as tooling making and started magnesium injection molding business in 1998.  Starting from digital camera housing production, application has been expanded to leisure goods and cellphone parts.

New factory which is exclusive for magnesium was established in 2006 equipping 5 molding machines from 220 ton to 650 ton.

They have been supplying molded automotive parts to Europe for 2 years, specifically magnesium instrument frame adopted due to weight reduction.  However since they had not supplied them to domestic Japanese auto makers yet, they are trying to join not only exhibition in Nissan motors technical center in Okayama pref. in last October but also in exhibition throughout Japan.

President Fujioka said, “Firstly we should start to let potential customers know what magnesium alloy is.”  Magnesium related revenue currently accounts for 40% of total one.  The company aims 30% increase in 3 years by developing further automotive application.
Yamazaki Diecast in good shape on magnesium diecast at same cost as aluminum.

(Source: Diecast shinbun, January 1, 2019)

Yamazaki Diecast Co., Ltd is in good shape in magnesium diecasting business, which is able to receive orders integrated widely from tooling design to surface treatment by developing new surface treatment process without painting.  According to end users, magnesium is recognized as high-end metal which is able to get further more sales.  Another strong point is that the company is able to supply at same cost as aluminum.

Cost competitiveness is enhanced by efforts to reinforce both quality assurance and shortened operation process for years.  Expecting to improve machining process, NC lathe process and low-cost automation, they got to establish proprietary FA system. In addition, the cost management system utilizing bar code had been operated since 2015.  Applications are camera, LCD projector and binocular parts, whose inquiries are increasing since 2016.  Total 8 hot chamber machines are equipped i.e. 4 of 15 ton, 2 of 50 ton and 2 of 150 ton, with ongoing 24 hours operation.

They established integrated system from tooling design to surface treatment for aluminum and zinc as well as magnesium.  “Since all of our competitors focused on only aluminum, diecasters who can provide also magnesium and zinc are decreasing in number.  Meanwhile we can provide 3 metals.  This is our strong point under multi-material trend.”, They say. By using the same one prototype tooling, they can make prototype by 3 different metals.  Annual turnover is expected 1,200,000,000 JPY, 10% increase compared to previous year.

Jointly developed with Toadenka Co., Ltd (Iwate Pref.), new surface treatment system “GT-STORM” was established, which feature is that flow lines peculiar to diecasting disappear only by some surface treatment and then turn to black and white appearance.

Domestic Magnesium Market - November 2018

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


According to Ministry of Finance’s Import/Export Statistics released in November 2018, magnesium metal import was 2,777.7 tons, 43.0% increase on month-to-month basis, (18.8% decrease from the same month previous year), recovering 2,000 tons level for the first time in 3 months, but still not reaching to the previous year level.  Magnesium powder was 508.0 tons, 12.1% increase on month-to-month basis (52.9% increase), showing steady increase.  Other products was 317.0 tons, 21.2% decrease on month-to-month basis (232.5% increase).  The grand total was 3,602.7 tons, 28.8% increase on month-to-month basis (6.3% decrease).

The metal consisted of 4 categories as follows: (a) 2,004.9 tons of pure magnesium, 35.2% increase on month-to-month basis (26.7% decrease), showing recovery by more than 30% month-to-month basis for 2 consecutive months;  (b) 741.7 tons of die-casting alloy, 75.3% increase on month-to-month basis (11.3% increase);  (c) 1.1 ton of high purity magnesium (34.9% decrease);  (d) 30.1 tons of casting alloy, 16.7% decrease on month-to-month basis (81.3% increase).

As for the average import price of magnesium metal in November, pure magnesium was 296.2 JPY/kg, 0.7 JPY or 0.3% decrease comparing to metal price in October. Magnesium alloys was 328.3 JPY/kg, 2.7 JPY/kg or 0.8% slight increase on month-to-month basis.  It was 329.9 JPY/kg, 4.3 JPY/kg or 1.3% increase comparing to Mg metal price from China in October.  As for the total amount of import from January to November, magnesium metal was 24,593.1 tons (20.2% decrease from same period previous year).  Magnesium metal by category is as follows, pure magnesium metal was 18,722.4 tons (26.0% decrease), high purity magnesium metal was 27.3 tons (1.3 % increase).  Die-casting alloy was 5,422.1 tons (0.6% increase).  Casting alloy was 441.5 tons (81.5% increase).   Magnesium powder was 4,008.3 tons (16.7% increase), other products was 2,381.5 tons (11.6% increase).  As a result, the grand total of import from January to November was 30,982.9 tons, 15.4% decrease comparing to same period previous year.


The magnesium export in November consisted of 4 categories as follows.  0 ton of pure magnesium.  0.8 ton of magnesium alloy, 99.4% decrease on month-to-month basis (94.3% decrease).  Magnesium powder was 0.6 ton.  9.9 tons of other products, 134.1% increase on month-to-month basis (173.7% increase) including 6.8 ton to China, 3.1 tons to Vietnam.  The grand total export was 11.3 tons, 91.6% decrease comparing to October, when there was exceptional export to Brazil (36.1% decrease),

As for the total amount of export from January to November, pure magnesium metal was 21.7 tons (79.6% decrease).  Magnesium alloy metal was 234.3 tons (97.3% increase), magnesium powder was 6.2 tons (51.5% decrease) and other products was 80.1 tons (172.4% increase).  As for the grand total amount of export from January to November 2018 was 342.4 tons (28.2% increase from same period previous year).

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