IMA 2014 Awards Highlight Advances in Magnesium Technology, Processes and Products

The International Magnesium Association (IMA), Wauconda, Ill., recognized advances in magnesium technology, products and processes in the 2014 Awards of Excellence during the 71st Annual World Magnesium Conference held in Munich, Germany, in June. The IMA Awards of Excellence highlight how the magnesium industry is continually working to improve the manufacturing process and companies that provide innovative and improved products made from lightweight magnesium.

The Design Category of the awards includes subcategories for cast and wrought products. The Award of Excellence in the Design-Cast Product Automotive Category was presented to Georg Fischer GmbH & Co KG in Altenmarkt, Austria, for an oil conduit module used in the powertrain of the Porsche Panamera. The part was produced via the magnesium high-pressure die casting process developed with partner GF Automotive AG in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

The oil conduct module is the first of its kind produced with creep resistant magnesium alloy (MgAl4Re4), resulting in 1 kg of weight saving compared to the previous aluminum part. The magnesium design features 100% cast-in oil ducts, and a finished cast-in sealing contour for the oil-water-heat exchanger. The manufacturing process included casting, machining and assembly of the component. The supplier delivered the module complete with oil-water-heat exchanger, oil filter, reduction piece and other small parts to their customer, Porsche.

The Award of Excellence in the Design-Cast Product Commercial Category was presented to Christie Digital Systems in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, for a light engine enclosure used in a projector. The enclosure, which was originally a two-part component made using the Thixomold process, was redesigned as one-piece magnesium diecasting. Changing the design yielded a number of improvements and benefits, including a 40-percent reduction in cost, improved dimensional accuracy and weight savings, according to Rob Malarky, Engineering Project Manager at Chicago White Metal Casting, Inc. in Bensenville, Ill.

Several challenges had to be met in order to redesign the enclosure. Working closely with the customer, internal features that created undercuts were reviewed and redesigned, resulting in a design that was simpler and easier to manufacture. “Not only did you have a two-piece assembly, which is more expensive, but you also had the assembly dimensional component to it,” said Malarky. The two-piece assembly, he noted, could “give the customer issues when they are assembling their final product down the line.”

By simplifying the two-piece assembly into a one-piece die cast component, the customer saved money on components, shipping, and assembly time. The 40% cost reduction was achieved by eliminating the purchase of a second casting, die trim, additional machining and dowel pin insertions. The redesigned component went from a 2.5 lb. two-piece assembly to a 2.3 lb. one-piece die cast part, achieving an 8% weight reduction for the part.

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