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Metal Casting Technologies : December 2007
BRIEFINGS supporting the metals processing industry both domestically and internationally, by providing premium quality competitive products backed by skilled technical and commercial customer support," said Mr Hodges. CMS will maintain its focus on manufacturing and supplying its customers with an extensive range of quality melting and foundry consumables and will continue to operate as a stand alone business. The business will continue to develop and grow its extensive customer base both domestically and overseas. Driving changes the car of the future Casting technology developed by the Light Metals Flagship has given the Australian automotive industry a technical boost in the move to make lighter, more fuel-efficient cars. The technology, T-Mag(tm), enables super-light magnesium alloys to be cast into high-integrity, high-strength automotive components. Low production costs make T-Mag castings cost-competitive with aluminium and steel automotive components. "With T-Mag you can make a magnesium alloy engine block that is two-thirds the weight of an aluminium alloy engine block," CSIRO business development manager Sam Tartaglia said. "The result is an improved power/ weight ratio and increased fuel efficiency and performance, which are much sought-after by premium car makers. "The technology is being assessed by a group of major North American car makers. If successful, this validation will open the door to key markets. It's a fast- track entry into the market." T-Mag is being taken to market by a partnership between CSIRO and three South Australian companies, Alloy Technologies International, SAGE Automation, and FLOTEK. The partnership has attracted a $1.95 million grant under AusIndustry's Commercial Ready Program. T-Mag excited commercial interest when it was exhibited at GIFA, the World Foundry Congress, held in June in Düsseldorf, Germany. "T-Mag is designed to be simple," CSIRO casting team leader Dr Thang Nguyen said. "We've integrated melting and casting operations in a single compact unit which uses gravity rather than high pressure or vacuum to make sure the die fills smoothly from the bottom. This minimises turbulence and formation of oxides in the casting." The result is strong, lightweight castings which do not have flow lines or internal porosity; defects which have hampered uptake of magnesium alloy castings made using existing technology. In addition, T-Mag provides large savings in recycling and energy costs by reducing the metal needed for casting. T-Mag needs only 3.7kg of alloy to cast a 3.5kg component, compared with the 6kg to 7kg required by conventional processes. Alcan to supply CMS for C-Class Alcan recently announced that it is supplying Mercedes-Benz with an all- aluminum innovative Crash Management System for the car maker's new C-Class. Having made its debut in European dealerships, the Mercedes-Benz C- Class is the first car model to use such an aluminum crash management system, featuring crash boxes inserted in the front structure of the car for improved safety. The bumper beam and crash boxes are produced at Alcan's Automotive Structures Europe plant in Gottmadingen, Germany. "Alcan is very pleased that DaimlerChrysler has recognised the benefits of this innovative lightweight crash management system...This is but one example of how Alcan can deliver sustainable high performance solutions to our customers while meeting high environmental standards," said Wolfgang Schmitz, president of Alcan Engineered and Automotive Solutions. "The aluminum crash management system demonstrates Alcan's ability to deliver weight and cost improvements without compromising safety and performance", Schmitz added. Alcan's new lightweight solution will help contribute to the automotive industry's efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. In Europe, every 100kg of reduced vehicle weight translates into a 6 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions, or 9g/km. METAL Casting Technologies December 2007 14 Magnesium motor cycle engine blocks, as cast using the T-Mag technology. Image courtesy of CSIRO Lightweight magnesium alloy wheels from the T-Mag process in as-cast condition, before machine finishing. Image courtesy of CSIRO. A casting technician oversees the ejection from the die of a wheel casting made using the T-Mag technology. Image courtesy of CSIRO.