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Thixomolding

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by Juliette Sanders on 11 March 2011

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Transcript of Thixomolding

Thixomolding A semi-solid metal process Should Shearline invest now? Future Present (2011) 2010 - Patent ran out Additive Manufacturing
Die Casting
Investment Casting
Machining
Metal Injection Moulding (MIM)
Plastic Injection Moulding (PIM) Mechanical properties
Surface finish
Dimensional accuracy
Ability to produce complex parts
Extra processing steps
Tooling cost (to customer)
Lead time “Thixomolding merges the design and processing flexibility of plastic injection moulding with the strength produced by high-pressure diecasting.”
AFT 50% lower porosity
longer tool life
better tolerances
dimensional repeatability
more complex shapes
thinner walls (0.5mm c.f. 1.78mm)
no melt loss
no SF6 gas 50% lower porosity
longer tool life
better tolerances
dimensional repeatability
more complex shapes
thinner walls (0.5mm c.f. 1.78mm)
no melt loss
no SF6 gas stronger
stiffer
higher heat resistance
no shrinkage
less warp
better recyclability
better heat transfer Compared to Die Casting Compared to PIM Cost Analysis Energy Analysis Reducing assembly of many components to one single molded part
Lower temperature (150-200 F lower)
Reduced Energy costs
Reduced Die Wear
Longer die life
Cheaper materials (P20 approx 30% cheaper H13)


Intangible cost benefits Reduced 55 piece assembly to one molded component
Operating Costs


Opportunity Cost Usually passed on to customer
20% reduction compared to Die Casting First mover advantage
New processes may cause decrease in machining demand
Egide (MIM) Costs to Manufacturer Capital Cost Materials Processes The future of forming technologies Long term investment
Technology is changing
Need to stay on top Thixomoulding
Existing Technologies
Emergent Technologies Major forecasts in Relatively novel

Aluminium

New manufacturers Die Casting

Plastic Injection Moulding

Metal Injection Moulding

Investment Casting Alloy research
Computer modelling
Die surface engineering
Die materials
Process optimisation Die Casting:
Main Research Areas Grouping these research areas Plastic Injection Moulding Moulding defects in low volume parts
Rheology
Computer simulation Metal Injection Moulding Currently only small, complex parts
Incremental extension
Improvements in powder manufacture 3-D printing of “investment”
Lost foam
Ice
Ablation casting Investment Casting Knowledge Crossover Computer simulation
Die surface engineering
Alloy improvements Emergent Technologies Laser Sintering
Electron Beam Sintering
Inkjetting
Aerosol Jetting
Fused Deposition Modelling
Electron Beam Freeform Fabrication Conclusions Need to stay ahead
Magnesium is a growth market
Few processes will be able to compete with Thixomolding in the medium term. “A 65 gram part ran with a 22 second cycle time (i.e 164 parts per hour) meaning that 10.64kg of material was produced. The energy required per hour was 22.3KWhrs (80.28MJ) which equates to a rate of 7.5MJ/kg.”
Bernd Wendinger, Managing Director, AM2 Advanced Metal Molding “Thixomolding is expected to reduce energy usage and scrap recycling by 50%, reduce overall operating costs by 20%, and eliminate the use of sulphur hexafluoride.”
Office of Industrial Technologies Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy A 10% mass reduction in the average vehicle results in the following benefits:

Fuel economy - 2 mpg improvement
Improved Performance - 0.5 sec reduction
Emissions reduction - 7% less feed gas
Safety - 10% less kinetic energy in 0 - 60 mph
“MagCorp” on the great salt lakes in USA has been cited as “the nation's worst air polluter”

In magnesium die casting, sulphur hexafluoride is used to inhibit magnesium melt surface oxidation. (SF6) 23,900 times more potent GHG than CO2. Thixomolding uses argon instead which is a harmless inert gas.

In the UK, Investment casting traditionally may use alcohol based binders for further coats. These could have large Volatile Organic Compound emissions. There are limits being imposed. These are not present with Thixomolding. Other Environmental Considerations Life Cycle Analysis The conclusions from this section are that;
The energy required to make a part are largely determined by what material is being used.
Low carbon steel and ABS are quoted as requiring less energy than Magnesium to produce the same volume
However, the energy figures for producing Magnesium do vary considerably depending on what technology is used and where.

When recycling is in place Magnesium is the most energy efficient process.
Recycling rates will increase as the industry grows
Thixomolding can be recycled 100% on site so there isn’t even the energy required for transport.

In comparison to the other processes, Thixomolding is one of the most energy efficient processes, however the values given for this information is does not give the best, most accurate picture.

The final energy savings come from the life of the product. A considerable global use of Magnesium is in the car to make weight savings. These weight savings lead to energy savings. Magnesium Market Analysis Existing Markets Potential Competition Barriers Potential Growth Areas 50% for Aluminium alloying
35% of magnesium produced are used in structural alloy production
85% in automotive
15% for the 3C market (cellphones, computers and consumer goods)
15% Alloy and Steel making Consumer Electronics
Automotive
Aerospace
Military
Medical Key Areas for Growth Light-weighting a strategy for nearly all auto manufacturers
Average weight reduction expected to be 4%
Ford: 110-340kg per vehicle by 2020
Mazada: 100kg by 2016
Toyota: 10-30% weight reduction by 2015
Many are looking to magnesium as the solution (transition to next slide) Predominately in notebooks, cameras, cell phones and digital projectors
The production of magnesium components is concentrated in Asia, with China emerging as the centre
Thixomolding is relatively established with major companies adopting it: Toshiba, Sony, NEC, Panasonic, Canon, HP, TI, Sharp
Market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 25% or more Weight reduction through magnesium Magnesium use in car components Increasing use of magnesium Availability of Materials



Manufacturing redesign

Present automotive components are designed for traditional processes
Capital expenditure
Reconfiguring factory layout
Time spent on making changes Cost of Materials Cost of mg is relatively stable Was used in Russian TU models
Not used by major aircraft manufacturers
Still used in helicopters
New initiatives for using magnesium
Alenia, Eurocopter and Airbus collaborating with EADS research centres
Clean Sky research program High value market
$1bn per year in the US
£0.74bn per year in the UK

Strong incentive for light-weighting carriers due to rising fuel prices

High strength and toughness requirements Advantage lies in magnesium being bioabsorbable
New market developed in orthopedics
Ligament fixation, craniofacial implants, small bone implants
Potential global market around $2bn
High mechanical properties required Thixomat
Consumer electronics
NanoMag (subsidary of Thixomat)
Automotive, military, medical
AeroMag
MagForming
Thixomolding companies in the Far East Research project into Thixomolding 11th March 2011 Dominic Thompson, Mia Liu, Ned Stuart-Smith and Juliette Sanders When compared to other processes, Thixomolding proves to be advantageous;
better mechanical properties
less die wear
Although depends on importance of criterea

Quantifiably savings of 20-50%
Cost of machinery currently high, expected to decrease
Magnesium granules also higher than Al or casting Mg
But overall cost savings through weight gain and reduced melt losses/waste

There are energy advantages to be gained solely from switching to magnesium as a material; especially with increased recycling rates.
Out of the current processes, Thixomolding comes out top on an enviromental benchmarking.

Shearline needs to decide its future.
Thixomolding is a strong technology in a growing market
It is likely to remain strong for some time yet

Target Market
Niche markets such as prudcing small batches of electronic covers
Automotive is another suitable industry to venture in at the initial stage
Aerospace and Military can be explored at a later stage



Conclusions
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