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Magnesium News May/June 2019 - Japan (April)
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Japan Newsletter - April 2019, Vol 78

(Covering the news for March/April 2019)

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

THINK vinc. released electrical generator for emergency “MGV”, usable in the room, for longest period ever.

(Source: ALUTOPIA, April, 2019)

THINK vinc. (Minato-ku, Tokyo) is selling electrical generator for emergency “MGV”, usable in the room, for longest period ever.  Existing magnesium air battery had overwhelmingly insufficient capacity of “positive electrode”, which received electricity generated by magnesium.  By using specially processed carbon positive electrode, “MGV” accomplished to generate 100 W×48 hours.   LED stand type lighting 10W x 1, mobile phone 5W x 2, Laptop 40W x 1,  20-inch LCD TV 40W x 1, all of which can work at the same time.

There are 5 main features:

  1. 10 times more amperage than competitive products. 
  2. Maintenance-free even for long storage since no deterioration happens.
  3. Usable anywhere due to noiseless and odorless.
  4. Strageable at anywhere since no charging is required. 
  5. Contemporary design fitting even in office.  

Specification is as follows; Size : 725mmH x 675mmW x 500mmD.  4.8kWh, Max power 100W,  48 hours working continuously (at rated output 80W),  AC Output port: AC x 2,  Weight: 45 kgs (Not including salt water weight), moving on casters,  Cell: exchangeable cartridge type and 10 years lifetime.

The company started free seminar campaign regarding required knowledge for emergency preparedness only for MGV purchasers.


Is next Apple iPhone flip type? Patent documents are unveiled.

(Source: Forbes Japan, April 6, 2019)

It is unveiled that Apple Inc. is planning to release iPhone with very impulsive design.  While Huawei and Samsung had released foldable display type on the market, Apple Inc. is developing one looks like old flip type feature phone.

Patent application documents appeared in news site Patently Apple, include picture of twice-folded mobile phone, which shows one side is display and the other is keyboard.  2 names, Kevin Robinson of Apple’s product engineer and Houtan Farahani of senior product design engineer, are listed as inventor.  This patent refers to not only design but also material.  Apple realizes lightweight and foldable device by means of combining titanium/magnesium layer and various plastic (Polyethylene terephthalate, Polyvinylchloride and Polyisocyanurate form).  At a glance, it looks like just a feature phone but this device is manufactured by very complicated material combination.

The question arises why feature phone now.  However, while Huawei and Samsung adopted foldable device with plastic display, Apple prefers material capabilities and applies extended patent to enable to fold by heat inside display.

Magnesium is applied on body and frame.  And titanium is applied on propeller, which contributes to weight saving. In addition, surface is coated by zirconia which performs heat resistance up to 2,000 degree. Lens is covered by quartz to protect against heat. Fire proof cover guards battery and motor. Same battery is used as existing type.

At early stage of development, test was carried out by using existing method i.e. heat resistant painting on carbon body, however it failed to equip sufficient fireproof performance.  It was hard to decide which material to choose for body, propeller and painting. Moreover an issue arose on sufficient zirconia paintability even after material was decided. To resolve such issues, 2 solutions are chosen, (1) surface treatment which makes zirconia-coating easily (2) press-tooling improvement of body, frame and propeller.


Kobe Steel raised aluminum rolling price due to cost increase of auxiliary raw material and transportation.

(Source: The Nikkei, April 10, 2019)

On April 10, Kobe Steel, Ltd. announced to raise aluminum rolling product price for both can-lid and automobile. 

Processing cost (rolling margin) is raised by 10% from June delivery on. Cost increase of both auxiliary raw material and transportation are reflected.

Price Raise is the first time since January 2015 after 4 years and 5 months interval.  Aluminum rolling product price is calculated by adding processing cost on aluminum metal price.  Magnesium is rare metal used as auxiliary raw material, whose supply from China decreased due to factory operation stop caused by governmental environmental regulation last year.


Ishikawa Energy Research released long time flight surveying drone adopting magnesium alloy.

(Source: The Nikkan Kogyo Shinbun, April 10, 2019)

Ishikawa Energy Research Co., Ltd (Oota-shi, Gunma Pref.) has developed drone for both surveying and aerial photography, which is able to fly around for more than 50 minutes by just one time charging. Magnesium alloy is applied on body to enhance stiffness and save weight.  Price is 900,000 JPY (without tax) including battery charger. It is planned to release in coming October and is targeted 200 sets sales per year.

Newly developed drone “Build-flyer” performs on both superior durability and restraint strength deterioration under long time ultraviolet ray exposure, by using magnesium alloy.  Both reconsideration of individual parts and enhancement of battery capacity, lead to accomplish 2 times longer flight duration than competitor’s one. Camera and laser surveying machine can be mounted on body.  In case of carrying 5 kg lord, 30 minutes flight is possible. Various uses are expected such as agricultural use like plant growth monitoring as well as surveying, aerial photographing and inspection.

Legs move up in flat during flight, which enables to take pictures widely.  Arms are retractable, which contribute to easy carrying.


Fujikura Composites started receiving reservation of home use magnesium air battery.

(Source: Japan Chemical Daily, April 18, 2019)

Fujikura Composites Inc. expands magnesium air battery business.  New product for home use, “AQUA Charge”, started to receive a reservation through website.  Delivery will be scheduled after May 29.  Just pouring water on attached salt to make a salty water and putting electric cells in it, then generation starts, which simplicity is the point. Capacity is 11,000mAh.  The output is DC 5.0V and maximum 1.0 A.  2 smartphones are able to be full charged through USB port.  Long time preservation is available, 5 years guaranteed as long as being unused.  The company focuses on sales for home use.

Aqua Charge is upgraded product, successfully developed performance adequacy for downsizing and safety assuming home use, added on proprietary technology cultivated by WattSatt development.  The company will look for supply chain to general consumers and corporations as emergency battery in offices.  In addition, they plan to develop new product and expand product lineup.  Size is 104 mm H x 95 mm D x 105 mm W.  Weight is 525 gram.  Recommended retail price is 4,980 JPY (without tax).


Tohoku University developed prototype of “Oral clinical thermometer”, 24 hours health care by IT.

(Source: The Nikkei, April 26, 2019)

The future is approaching, when health condition is monitored by “IoT”, all things connect to Internet.  Various sensors catch disorders of physical condition, which is useful for health care and disease prevention. The team of Tohoku University is developing unique device to realize new daily life as if being monitored by thorough medical examination every day.  Firstly they developed a prototype of “Oral clinical thermometer” to measure inside deep body.  In 2030’s the life surrounded by many sensors might be quite natural.

This thermometer looks like tablet. The size is 9 mm in diameter and 7 mm in thickness. Reaching stomach after oral input, electric charging starts after that gastric acid reacts with electrode. Moving down to intestine, body temperature is measured every 30 minutes and the data is wired to outside body.  Magnesium and platinum electrodes are laid on one side and both condenser and coils for wireless communication are placed inside. Generating method is as simple as the one to stick electrodes into lemon.  

This is one of “the Center of Innovation Science and Technology based Radical Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program”, planned by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, which is carried out until 2021.  Followed by experiment on pig, clinical study for 5 to 10 years is intended jointly with large-scale hospitals.  Researchers who is studying relationship between biological clock abnormality and clinical depression, are long awaiting practical use.

Dr. Tsutomu Nakamura, Specially appointed professor of Center for Promotion of Innovation Strategy, said that it would be in good shape within 3 years.


Domestic Magnesium Market - February 2019

(Source: February 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 February 2019, magnesium metal import was 1,833.8 tons, 33.5% decrease on month-to-month basis (10.8% increase from the same month previous year), showing increase for 2 consecutive months on comparison to same month previous year basis.

Magnesium powder was 163.6 tons, 59.8% decrease on month-to-month basis (41.7% decrease), showing repeated increase-and-decrease every other month.  Other products was 208.2 tons, 31.6% decrease on month-to-month basis (27.8% increase).  The grand total was 2,205.5 tons, 36.4% decrease on month-to-month basis (5.1% increase), barely retaining 2,000 tons level per month.

The metal consisted of 4 categories as follows, (a) 1,386.6 tons of pure magnesium, 42.9% decrease on month-to-month basis (17.7% increase).  (b) 412.9 tons of die-casting alloy, 64.7% increase on month-to-month basis (3.2% decrease).  (c) 0 ton of high purity magnesium.  (d) 34.3 tons of casting alloy, 42.2% decrease on month-to-month basis (26.8% decrease).

As for the average import price of magnesium metal in February, pure magnesium was 279.5 JPY/kg,   3.2 JPY or 1.1% decrease on month-to-month basis, showing decrease on month-to-month basis for 2 consecutive months. For side note, it was 19.3 JPY/kg or 7.4% higher than previous year. Magnesium alloy was 335.4 JPY/kg, 4.0 JPY/kg or 1.2% increase on month-to-month basis.  And 18.7 JPY/kg or 5.9% increase comparing to previous year.

As for the total amount of import from January to February 2019, magnesium metal in total was 4,591.1 tons (46.2% increase from same period previous year), showing steady recovery.  Looking at the breakdown in magnesium metal, pure magnesium metal was 3,815.3 tons (86.1% increase), high purity magnesium metal was 18.0 tons (308.3 % increase).  Die-casting alloys was 663.6 tons (25.8% decrease).  Casting alloys was 94.1 tons (4.9% increase).  Magnesium powder was 570.5 tons (15.2% decrease), other products was 512.3 tons (28.4% increase).  As a result, the grand total of import from January to February was 5,673.9 tons, 34.7% increase comparing to same period of previous year.

Export

The magnesium export in February consisted of 0 kg of pure magnesium, 30.1 tons of magnesium alloys including 15.5 tons to Vietnam in addition to Taiwan, 72.8% increase on month-to-month basis (99.4% increase), Magnesium powder was 0 ton.  Other products was 2.7 tons, 25.5% decrease on month-to-month basis (62.3% decrease) including 2.6 tons, 81 kgs, 16 kgs and 15 kgs to China, Vietnam, Lithuania and the US respectively.  The grand total export was 32.8 tons, 56.1% increase on month-to-month basis (39.4% increase).

As for the total amount of export from January to February, pure magnesium metal was 0 ton, magnesium alloy metal was 47.5 tons (15.8% increase), magnesium powder was 0 ton and other products was 6.2 tons (53.6% decrease).  As for the grand total amount of export from January to February 2019 was 53.7 tons (5.2% decrease at same period of previous year).


Japan-China Magnesium Exchange Meeting - "2019 Asia-Pacific Magnesium Industry High-Level Forum"

In order to strengthen the exchange of magnesium industry in the Asia-Pacific region and promote the international cooperation of the magnesium industry, Magnesium Branch of China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association and the Japan Magnesium Association jointly hold the “2019 Asia-Pacific Magnesium Industry High-Level Forum”.

The relevant matters are hereby notified as follows:

Date: 3 - 5 July, 2019

  • Wednesday 3 July   Reception
  • Thursday  4 July   all-day meeting  
  • Friday    5 July   half-day : Factory tour

Venue: Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk, Fukuoka, Japan
Organizers: Magnesium Branch of China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, The Japan Magnesium Association
Support company: Foxconn Technology Group
Sessions: 9 speeches from China, 2 speeches from Japan

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