- Published in Technology.
Materials supplier ThyssenKrupp wants to expand the use of magnesium in passenger car production with what it says is a new concept for the production of the material. Using a casting-rolling line to manufacture flat strip directly from molten magnesium, the material is reduced from a 4-7mm thickness down to just over 1mm.
The process is significantly cheaper than more conventional production methods because material and energy consumption is reduced and there are fewer production steps. This could make the use of flat-rolled magnesium in automotive body parts more widespread, especially in luxury vehicles, where it could be used for body panels, retractable hardtops, floor panels, front and rear bulkheads and even inner door panels.
Dr Ekkehard Schulz, chairman of ThyssenKrupp, said: “We have created a first-class technology base from which to achieve success in a market of the future.
Lightweighting solutions are playing an important role in more and more sectors of industry.”
Magnesium is the lightest structural metal, weighing around 75% less than steel and 35% less than aluminium.
Magnesium has been used in chassis production, transmission housings and engine blocks, but it has been more difficult to expand its use to larger body parts, where greater weight savings could be made, improving vehicle CO2 emissions.
ThyssenKrupp, under its subsidiary Magnesium Flachprodukte and in conjunction with Freiberg University of Mining and Technology, has opened a new production facility in the south-eastern state of Saxony, Germany, with €7.5 million invested by the local government. The plant can process up to two tonnes of magnesium strip per hour.