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Magnesium News 2019, January - Japan (Oct/Nov)
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Japan - Magnesium Newsletter (October/November)

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

Suncast receives steady magnesium diecast orders.

(Source: Diecast shinbun, October 30, 2018)

Suncast Co., Ltd is receiving steady magnesium diecast orders following favorable aluminum diecast ones. The magnesium diecast inquiries for spray gun used for automotive sheet metal coating, has been continuing after replacing aluminum 10 years ago.

Body part of spray gun is produced by magnesium diecast, integrated from tooling making, diecast, machining to surface treatment, using 600 ton hot chamber operating for 8 hours per day producing 800 pcs a day.  While cost by magnesium is higher than aluminum, lighter weight is evaluated to go.  Since sheet metal coating workers use heavy spray gun in hand, the lighter the better.  Finished spray gun is exported widely to Asian countries besides Japan.

In China and Southeast Asia, the demand for sheet metal is increasing along with rising automotive demand. Compacter gun model exclusive for Asia will be lined up next year.

In addition, the company possesses 2 of 220 ton Thixomolding machines (The Japan Steel Works) for magnesium casting, which produces fishing reel components, digital camera housing, PCU housing and LCD frame.


Macrw, Magnesium bar and pipe manufacturer, strengthens internet sales

(Source: Japan Metal Daily, October 31, 2018)

Macrw Co., Ltd, magnesium alloy bar and pipe manufacturer, is strengthening internet sales.

“Magneya”, sales website of processed material such as weld wire and pipe has been renewed this month. End products such as Magnesium cane “Flamingo 2,” world first Mg housing smartphone speaker operable without electricity “Bion-Mg60” and ultralight foldable Magnesium furniture “Light-tempo” is also combined into this website, which aims to arouse interest in magnesium widely from material to product.  Trial kit for magnesium weld joining is included as well.   

The purpose of this integration is to enhance interest in both material and product.  The company plans to strengthen contents to facilitate better understanding of magnesium itself in addition to introduce products not only in-house manufacturing but also made by another companies.


Toshiba Machine released new injection system enabling higher speed and filling power.

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

Toshiba Machine Co., Ltd has developed new injection system for large diecast machine, “Dual-PCV,” which is usable for magnesium alloy to replace aluminum and thin wall large parts such as EV battery case, while automotive weight saving is ongoing. The main features are as follows:

  1. Shorter filling time accomplished
    Oil pressure efficiency of “Dual-PCV” is improved while valve size remains same as before, which enables filling power 25% higher than before and actual high-speed acceleration performance 30% higher and high-speed injection speed 15% higher, which lead to realize shorter filling time.
  2. Shortening of boosting time
    Switching valve to boost pressure was improved and 50% shorter pressure boosting time is accomplished.
  3. New controlling device
    Injection control device and software are also developed as well as its system development.  Sampling numbers during high speed injection are tremendously increased, which leads to eliminate surrounding noises and to make high speed operation stable.

SIGMA Corporation launched new facility exclusive for magnesium in Aizu

 (Source: ALUTOPIA November, 2018)

SIGMA Corporation launched process-facility exclusive for magnesium in sole manufacturing base in Aizu and started operation.  To achieve lightweight, rigidity and durability which end users recently require, new model “60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports” released in October adopted magnesium for its housing by their own processing, which is the first case to apply magnesium.

The purpose of this facility is to manufacture magnesium parts required high quality and precision stably at reasonable cost by in-house production, even though strict safety control is required.

Magnesium parts which are produced here is planned to apply to many future new products as well as new model above.


Gohsyu Corporation plans mass production of magnesium pipe.

 (Source: Japan Metal Bulletin, November 6, 2018)

Gohsyu Corporation (Konan-shi, Shiga pref.), plastic processor, is anticipating to establish magnesium pipe mass production in 5 years. The company will work on the demand development for indwelling surgery appliance utilizing its bioabsorbable characteristics. The target smallest outer diameter is 1.6 mm to 1.0 mm, which is expected to contribute to wide operation flexibility.


Ishikawa Energy Research released magnesium alloy body drone for agriculture.

 (Source: The Nikkan Kogyo Shinbun, November 19, 2018)

Hashimoto Engineering Co., Ltd plans to release new magnesium frame wheelchair “X60” which realizes both lightweight and rigidity in September 2019.  It is the first time in Japan to build magnesium wheelchair by single structure “single frame”. 120 chairs sales per year is expected. The price will be around 400,000 JPY (Tax excluded).

Aluminum alloy was usually chosen for frame material of wheelchair.  While magnesium was told to possess ideal lightness and stiffness, it tends not to be favored due to difficulty on processing. Using proprietary magnesium welding technique achieved through prototyping works for automotive and motorcycle, the company overcame difficulty on processing such as little calorific capacity and low viscosity, which enabled to save weight by 6 kgs and reduce processing cost.

President Hashimoto said, “New product meets user’s needs who looks for design being well familiar with daily life.”  The company started this development in 2011 jointly with local companies. Now it is provided to wheelchair tennis player Manami Tanaka.


Hibiki Seiki enters Aerospace market with precision technique eyeing as new business pillar.

 (Source: The Nikkei, November 22, 2018)

Hibiki Seiki Co., Ltd, precision machining processer (Shimonoseki-shi, Yamaguchi Pref.), enters the aerospace market.  The company produces aviation and artificial satellite components using high strength and fire resistance material.  Technical division in charge of new material development will be launched eyeing mass production at the third factory expected to start in 2020.  The company expects it as new business pillar with 600 million JPY annual sales accounting for 20% of total sales, in addition to existing semiconductor production device part which accounts for 90 % of annual sales.

Until now there received a few inquiries of components prototype manufacturing for Aerospace but just as a spot.  The company focused to new material i.e. fire-resistant magnesium alloy which enables to utilize their proprietary precision machining technology.  And got started sales activity at international aviation exhibition.

Five staffs R&D team was organized internally to develop new material and to prototype and promote for Artificial satellite and Aircraft engine parts as lightweight replacement for the time being.

Since this field should be long-term business requiring experience and safety, the company said, “This business would be in good shape by 2025.”

Hibiki Seiki is precision machining maker who is differentiated with proprietary composite cutting know-how.  Thanks to semiconductor expecting demand for IoT, AI and Autonomous driving, orders has been received continuously.  Due to diversified parts order and required shorter delivery term, the company decided factory’s IoT reinforcement.


STAYER Holdings released disaster goods “Magnesium battery charger” generating by magnesium and salt water.

(Source: Impress Watch, November 27, 2018 and ALUTOPIA November 2018)

STAYER Holdings Inc. has released LED lantern with USB charging function “Magnesium battery charger”, which generates electricity by magnesium and salt water.  Open pricing and 11,500 JPY (Tax included) at official dealer “APPBELL”.
Magnesium battery charger is a disaster prevention goods which utilize Magnesium air-battery system generating electricity by chemical reaction between magnesium and salt water.  Four magnesium rods and salt are contained in product, which enables quick start at emergency such as disaster and blackout.

Smartphones will be able to charge through USB port.  1 pc of magnesium rod and 30 gram of salt will complete 2.5 times of smartphone full charge or roughly 24 hours of lantern lightning.

By replacing Mg rod and salt water, it’s repeatable to generate.  In addition, good point is able to preserve for more than 10 years if being unopened.  For outdoor use, it has waterproof performance at IPX6 level.


Domestic Magnesium Market - September 2018

(Source: September 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 September 2018, magnesium metal import was 1,568.0 tons, 31.9% significant decrease on month-to-month basis, (10.4% decrease from the same month previous year), decreasing for 3 consecutive months without showing recovery.  Magnesium powder was 400.9 tons, 28.6% increase on month-to-month basis (35.7% increase), rising for two consecutive months.  Other products was 183.5 tons, 26.3% increase on month-to-month basis (632.3% increase), usually fluctuating violently as well as powder.  The grand total was 2,152.4 tons, 22.0% decrease on month-to-month basis (3.9% increase).

The metal consisted of 4 categories as follows: (a) 1,064.5 tons of pure magnesium, 44.5% significant decrease on month-to-month basis (24.3% decrease), including 20 tons from Israel for the first time since June;  (b) 461.4 tons of die-casting alloy, 36.7% increase on month-to-month basis (40.8% increase);  (c) 0.5 ton of high purity magnesium (50.0% decrease);  (d) 41.6 tons of casting alloy, 15.2% decrease on month-to-month basis (176.1% increase), remaining stable with slight up-and-down.

As for the average import price of magnesium metal in September, pure magnesium was 283.3 JPY/kg, 11.1 JPY or 4.1% increase comparing to Chinese metal price in August.

Average import Mg price from China was 283.0 JPY/kg, which seems to begin to rise due to increasing capital investment against strengthened environmental regulation by Chinese government. For side note, average Mg metal from China increased 35.1 JPY/kg or 14.1% compared to same month previous year. Magnesium alloys stay at 322.4 JPY/kg, 4.9 JPY/kg or 1.5% increase on month-to-month basis.  As for the total amount of import from January to September, magnesium metal in total was 19,867.7 tons (20.3% decrease from same period previous year).

Magnesium metal by category is as follows, pure magnesium metal was 15,234.4 tons (25.5% decrease), high purity magnesium metal was 26.3 tons (7.0 % increase). Die-casting alloy was 4,257.3 tons (0.7% increase). Casting alloy was 357.3 tons (79.7% increase). Magnesium powder was 3,047.0 tons (4.1% increase), other products was 1,662.5 tons (2.6% decrease). As a result, the grand total of import from January to September was 24,577.2 tons, 16.8% decrease comparing to same period previous year.

Export

The magnesium export in September consisted of 4 categories as follows:  A bit of pure magnesium; 14.7 ton of magnesium alloy entirely to Taiwan, 2.5% increase on month-to-month basis;  Magnesium powder was 0 ton for the first time since May;  5.1 tons of other products, 72.8% significant decrease on month-to-month basis (25.7% increase) including 1.6 tons to China, 3.0 tons to Vietnam, 0.3 ton to Korea, 22 kgs to the US and 83 kgs to New Zealand.  The grand total export was 19.7 tons, 43.6% decrease on month-to-month basis (319.1% increase).

As for the total amount of export from January to September, pure magnesium metal remained 21.2 tons (80.1% decrease), same quantity as previous month.  Magnesium alloy metal was 104.4 tons (12.3% increase), magnesium powder was 5.6 tons (22.0% decrease) and other products was 66.0 tons (195.7% increase).  As for the grand total amount of export from January to September 2018 was 197.2 tons (13.7% decrease from same period previous year).

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