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Magnesium Award Winners Show Auto Potential

Magnesium Award Winners Show Auto Potential

Magnesium is putting its stake in the ground as the battle to reduce weight in cars and other transportation products heats up. That's clear from the 2009 winners in the International Magnesium Association (IMA) Awards of Excellence competition. In one case a mag part even replaced a glass-reinforced plastic, and saved weight.

There were three categories, two in design and one in process. The design categories are broken into cast and wrought products.

First place for design of a cast product went to Ortal Diecasting of Beit She'an, Israel for an integrated cast teeth rack, a component in a steering wheel system. The integrated cast magnesium teeth rack replaces a traditional sinter steel piece.

"This successful development project, which demonstrates the potential of magnesium alloys of high mechanical properties and highly considerable weight saving, may lead to many innovative solutions in the automobile industry and may increase the awareness for weight-saving potential of magnesium," says Amon Wirthiem, managing director for Ortal Diecasting.

The cast design does not require insertion and riveting of the teeth rack, a major time savings. Since riveting was not necessary, the roof bracket can be cast with AZ91D which features superior casting properties and is less expensive.

Ortal Diecasting was founded in 1973 in Kibbutz Neve Ur in the Beit She'an Valley in northern Israel and initially focused on the manufacture of zinc die-cast parts. In 1995, the company added magnesium die-cast parts and Ortal now die casts about 2,000 tons of magnesium per year, primarily for the automobile and aircraft markets.

The first place for wrought product design was awarded to Posco of Seoul, South Korea for a train seat pedestal cover used in the KTX express train. It replaces a cover made of aluminum and FRP (fiber-reinforced plastic) materials. The magnesium components are five kilograms lighter and cost up to 10 percent less.

First place in the process category went to Chicago White Metal, Bensenville, IL, Gentex Corp., Zeeland, MI, and Cast Products, Norridge, IL for a mag rear view mirror mount. Use of in-die degating helped achieve critical structural integrity and dimensional accuracy of the part.

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