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World premiere: First magnesium strip produced by casting-rolling

ThyssenKrupp Steel : 26 September, 2002  (New Product)
'The first important step has been taken. We are well on the way to producing magnesium sheets at competitive cost,' says Dr. Ulrich Jaroni, director of technology and responsible for research and development at ThyssenKrupp Stahl AG. The Duisburg-based company holds leading world market positions in carbon steel and in processing technologies for lightweight automotive materials.
To diversify its existing capabilities into areas which cannot be covered by steel, ThyssenKrupp Stahl has been focusing increasing efforts on magnesium, the lightest engineering metal of all. In mid-2001 it set up MgF Magnesium Flachprodukte GmbH, based in Freiberg/Saxony, with a view to expanding the applications of magnesium flat products. One key area of MgF's activity is the development of magnesium casting-rolling technology with the aim of producing magnesium sheet products at competitive cost for commercial applications.

In a project supported by Saxony's state ministry for economy and employment called 'Magnesium casting and rolling', MgF designed and built a pre-industrial scale casting-rolling line at the center of excellence for casting and forming technology of Bergakademie Freiberg Technical University. The equipment was supplied by Pechiney Aluminium Engineering and Ing.-RAUCH Fertigungstechnik.

The new line began operation on schedule on September 7, 2002 and immediately achieved the first target of producing 700 mm wide strip in 6 mm thickness. The surface of the strip was remarkable and should allow further hot rolling to final size without intermediate treatment.

'This success encourages us to move on quickly to the next level. The aim now is to optimize production conditions on the line and develop the strip rolling technology together with the Bergakademie scientists,' says MgF managing director Dr. Hans Pircher. Prof. Rudolf Kawalla, director of the university's metal forming institute, describes the successful collaboration between university and industry as exemplary.

Minister of state Dr. Martin Gillo from Saxony's ministry for economy and employment underlines the importance of the new technology: 'Our technology support is focused mainly on commercial opportunities. We see great potential to establish a center for magnesium production and processing in the Freiberg region. We have the automotive industry as a key customer on our doorstep. We are pleased to be moving into magnesium technology together with ThyssenKrupp Stahl subsidiary MgF.'
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