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Japan February 2019 Newsletter - Magnesium News March 2019
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Japan Newsletter - February 2019, Vol 76

(Covering the news for January-February 2019)

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

MG Precision - Magnesium application heads to Automobile after all.

(Source: Sokeizai-tsushin, February 1, 2019)

Magnesium has no longer been used for smartphone parts.  To make up for this loss, magnesium players are struggling to find a way and many tend to explore Automotive application.   
MG Precision Co., Ltd possesses Thixomolding machines, whose Automotive sales has increased up to one fourth of total revenue and existing electrical appliances including camera housing account for 70% of total revenue.

Such as meter case (422g), monitor frame of car navigation (247g), rear seat monitor frame (181g), car air conditioner blowoff port frame (43g), grip of assistant driver seat (350g) and ECU case (244g) are components the company mostly OEM produces, which are categorized in interior parts except for ECU case.  They are placed at front side of a car and large clamping force 650 ton machine is mainly used.

Why Magnesium?  “Unit weight regulation is carried out and front side weight reduction is going on by using magnesium”.  According to the person concerned, large 1,300 ton machine will be launched to get larger size part demand in upcoming Spring.


JMC launches the 6th casting factory in Iida-shi.

(Source: The Nikkei, February 27, 2019)

JMC Corporation, magnesium casting manufacturer, announced that they would start operation in newly established facility in Iida-shi, Nagano pref. in coming July.  This is the 6th facility adjacent to the 5th and invested roughly 430 million JPY.  The floor space is approximately 520 square meter.  Prototype trial of complicated shaped automotive parts will be planned.

At new facility, two 3D-printers for sand casting mold will be equipped by 2020.  This contributes to shorten mold production time and to enable producing complicated shape and larger parts, which is intended to cope with rising demand for EV and PHV. 

The company focuses on casting both magnesium and aluminum alloys comparatively lighter than other metals.  The company predicts that lightweight demand for automotive and aircraft will strongly increase.  That’s why they have expanded casting capacity in Iida facility until now.


Toadenka developed surface treatment which does not require painting

(Source: Diecast shinbun, February 28, 2019)

Toadenka Co., Ltd (Morioka-shi, Iwate Pref.), surface treatment processer, will establish new facility for newly developed treatment “GT-STORM” which will get beautiful appearance only by surface treatment without painting, for both magnesium and aluminum diecast parts.  Construction will be completed in end of March and start operation in April.

The area is 1,650 square meter, being invested 600 million JPY including building and equipment.  Starting from 1 line, it will be ramped up to 4 lines in the future.  Currently application is expanding to OA devices, optical devices and Automotive parts.  Eying rising demand of in-vehicle parts such as camera for autonomous driving, Head Up Display, the company says, “Capacity will be pulled up step by step”.

“GT-STORM” is the technology jointly developed with Geo Nation Co., Ltd(Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo) in 2016, which enables magnesium alloy turn to black or white without painting.  The point is this process is not influenced by defects such as flow line and porosity, which leads to get beautiful black or white appearance.

Film thickness is controllable from 10 to 50 µm.  Hardness is 400Hv and 300Hv in magnesium and aluminum respectively at 30µm t.  Corrosion resistance SST is 72 hours and 96 hours in magnesium and aluminum respectively at 30µm t.  The change rate of dimension is favorably uniform after surface treatment even at tap hole.

Conventional method (Chemical conversion + painting) required painting process (i.e. Undercoating painting - middle coating painting - top coating painting) after chemical conversion process (i.e. Fat removal - Etching – Desmutting - Conversion, with filling with putty and polishing if necessary).

On the other hand, “GT-STORM” requires just Fat removal – Etching – Desmutting to form black or white film on surface.


Masanobu added newly developed surface treatment method.

(Source: ALUTOPIA, March, 2019)

Masanobu Co., Ltd (Fukuoka-shi) announced newly developed both metallic luster method on magnesium alloy by electropolishing and black chemical conversion method, at exhibition “SURTECH 2019” from Jan 30 to Feb 1.

Getting metallic luster by this method enables Mg product development to pull out the metal feeling magnesium originally has.  Pure magnesium, magnesium alloy (AZ31, 61 and 91) are available to apply.  In case of AZ91 polishing, it performs luster degree 600%< (JIS Z 8741).  Existing applications are automotive head light and camera.
Miyamoto Seisakusho launched coin laundry using “Laundry Mag-chan.”

(Source: ALUTOPIA, March, 2019)

Miyamoto Seisakusho Co., Ltd launched “Mag-chan Laundry” in Laundry casa shop in Koga city in Ibaraki Pref., tying up with Japan laundry estate Co., Ltd.  This is the world first coin laundry which uses magnesium as cleaning agent.

While “Laundry mag-chan” was put into household washing machine with dirty clothes until now, both companies jointly developed original equipment for “Laundry mag-chan”, which will be sequentially introduced to shops which Japan laundry estate manages. This proprietary device will be pleased to introduce to private managed shop and other brand coin laundry. Target is totally 1,000 shops in 5 years.


Nagano Keiki acquired Nakamura-Kanagata to be subsidiary.

(Source: ALUTOPIA, March, 2019)

Nagano Keiki Co., Ltd decided to acquire entire stocks of Nakamura-Kanagata Co., Ltd, magnesium diecast tooling producer.

One of main business of Nagano Keiki group is developing measurement control device whose base technology is controlling pressure, temperature and flow quantity.  The company is selling diecast product, aggressively trying to utilize proprietary metal forming technology including material diversity at developing stage.

Acquiring Nakamura-Kanagata as subsidiary contributes to quality improvement and stable supply.  Putting tooling making and design together is expected to lead to efficient parts supply and synergy effect.


Domestic Magnesium Market - December 2018

(Source: December 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 December 2018, magnesium metal import was 2,386.3 tons, 14.1%% decrease on month-to-month basis, (5.8% increase from the same month previous year), keeping 2,000 ton level for 2 consecutive months but showing very weak recovery.  Magnesium powder was 153.6 tons, 69.8% significant decrease on month-to-month basis (57.1% increase).  Other products was 2.3 tons, 99.3% decrease (first-ever steep drop on this statistics) on month-to-month basis (98.8% decrease). The grand total was 2,542.1 tons, 29.4% decrease on month-to-month basis (0.2% decrease).

The metal consisted of 4 categories as follows: (a) 1,689.1 tons of pure magnesium, 15.7% decrease on month-to-month basis (10.7% decrease); (b) 660.2 tons of die-casting alloy, 11.0% decrease on month-to-month basis (96.1% increase); (c) 0 ton of high purity magnesium, following the previous month; (d) 36.9 tons of casting alloy, 22.7% increase on month-to-month basis (56.2% increase), showing recovery.
As for the average import price of magnesium metal in December, pure magnesium was 304.2 JPY/kg,   8.0 JPY or 2.7% increase on m-to-m basis, exceeding 300 JPY/kg level for the first time since March in 2009, i.e. for 9 years and 9 months. And 59.5 JPY/kg or 24.3% higher than previous year.  Magnesium alloys was 337.6 JPY/kg, 9.3 JPY/kg or 2.8% significant increase on month-to-month basis. And 42.4 JPY/kg or 14.4% increase.

As for the total amount of import from January to December, magnesium metal was 26,999.6 tons (18.7% decrease from same period previous year). Magnesium metal by category is as follows, pure magnesium metal was 20,411.6 tons (24.9% decrease), 7,000 tons lower than previous year. High purity magnesium metal was 27.3 tons (14.4 % decrease). Die-casting alloy was 6,082.3 tons (6.2% increase), restoring 6,000 tons level after the interval of 3 years. Casting alloy was 478.4 tons (79.3% increase).  Magnesium powder was 4,161.9 tons (17.8% increase), other products was 2,383.8 tons (2.4% increase).  As a result, the grand total of import from January to December was 33,545.2 tons, 14.1% decrease comparing to same period previous year.

Export

The magnesium export in December consisted of 4 categories as follows:  12 kgs of pure magnesium;  1.4 ton of magnesium alloy including 0.8 ton for Vietnam, 77.3% decrease on month-to-month basis (77.3% increase);  Magnesium powder was 2.3 tons entirely for Indonesia, 256.6% increase on month-to-month basis (526.1% increase);  22.2 tons of other products, 125.6% increase on month-to-month basis (122.6% increase) including 10.2 ton to China, 12.0 tons to Vietnam.  The grand total export was 25.9 tons, 129.6% increase comparing to November (116.6% increase).

As for the total amount of export from January to December, pure magnesium metal was 21.7 tons (79.7% decrease). Magnesium alloy metal was 235.8 tons (97.2% increase), magnesium powder was 8.5 tons (35.2% decrease) and other products was 102.3 tons (159.8% increase). As for the grand total amount of export from January to December 2018 was 368.3 tons, 32.0% increase comparing to 2017.

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