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How to Further Develop Magnesium Alloy Sheets in China

Recently, the annual meeting of Magnesium Branch and the 2013 National Magnesium Industry Congress were held in Yingkou, Liaoning Province, with the theme of "striving to improve the processing technology and equipment level of magnesium alloy sheet and strip, and promote the large-scale application of magnesium alloy sheet and strip". Meng Shukun, consultant of Magnesium Branch of China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, expounded the current processing problems of magnesium alloy sheets in China, and put forward his own suggestions.


Breakthrough Progress of Chuanmao Magnesium Alloy Sheet


In recent years, some magnesium plate processing enterprises, research institutes and colleges in China have made remarkable achievements in the research and application of processing technology and equipment for high performance wrought magnesium alloy sheets. New progress has been made in the development and production of rolling technology and equipment for wide magnesium alloy sheets. For example, Sichuan metallocene magnesium alloy sheet rolling production line has overcome the coil rolling technology, which makes it possible to develop a set of low-cost sheet industrialization technology and convert raw magnesium into magnesium alloy sheet and sheet processing products. Finish rolling magnesium alloy sheet production line has been completed. The development of continuous casting and rolling technology and equipment for magnesium alloy strip and slab undertaken by three units such as Chuanmao Metal in Suzhou has realized the batch production of magnesium alloy sheet with short process, low cost and high quality. The exploration of quasicrystalline magnesium alloy casting-rolling process has been successful. Quasicrystalline strengthened magnesium alloy profiles were successfully prepared by Suzhou Chuanmao Metal Material Factory, and the engineering attempt of quasicrystalline strengthened magnesium alloy was completed. Quasicrystals have excellent electrical, magnetic, heat resistance, non-stickiness and corrosion resistance. They also have the properties of high hardness, low wear and low friction factor. They have been used in spacecraft and flight weapons.


At present, the application of wrought magnesium alloy sheet in our country is greatly limited. Its output, consumption and alloy grade are far less than those of non-ferrous metals such as steel, aluminum and copper. The main factors restricting the development of magnesium alloys are as follows: in processing, the deep processing ability of magnesium alloys, especially the overall processing ability of sheets, is weak, and the output is small, so it is difficult to meet the demand. At present, there are only a handful of domestic enterprises specializing in magnesium plate production, with low production capacity and small scale. Only one of them has an annual production capacity of more than 5,000 tons. According to incomplete statistics, the current national production capacity of magnesium plate is only more than 10,000 tons, which is far from the demand of 100,000 tons of magnesium plate in the 12th Five-Year Plan. At the same time, the plastic processing products of magnesium alloys in China, especially the processing of magnesium sheets, are of high cost and high price, which restrict their large-scale application. In terms of application, there are too few new magnesium alloys to meet the needs of different fields, and there is a lack of high-performance and wide-width magnesium alloy sheets for automobiles and railroad vehicles, which leads to slow application and promotion.


Strive to reach the target of 100,000 tons of magnesium plate


Meng Shukun believes that in the next 5 to 10 years, at least 10 large specialized magnesium plate factories should be built in China, each with an annual output of 5.


The R&D, pilot test and industrialization base of sheet and strip products with a capacity of more than 10,000 tons focuses on the development and production of ultra-wide and ultra-thin sheets for automobiles, high-speed rail, urban rail transportation, electronic information, national defense, military industry, aerospace and other fields. It breaks through the core rolling technology of low-cost, short-process and wide-width magnesium alloy sheets and develops wide-width at the same time. Magnesium alloy sheet rolling equipment, strive to achieve the "Twelfth Five-Year Plan" target of 100,000 tons of magnesium sheet. Magnesium alloy plate is still mainly produced by traditional methods. The key is to improve product yield, improve production efficiency and reduce production costs. Low-cost manufacturing technology will be listed as the key technology of magnesium alloy sheet processing in the next 5-10 years. It will develop efficient, low-cost and short-process production of magnesium alloy sheet, improve the strength, toughness and corrosion resistance of magnesium alloy sheet, and develop low-cost surface protection technology and equipment, so as to further reduce the cost of application products.


At the same time, we should strengthen scientific research and improve the design ability of applied products, especially in the aspects of independent innovation and product manufacturing ability, and develop more high performance cast magnesium alloys and high strength and toughness wrought magnesium alloys according to the needs of different fields.


In addition, the national government should strengthen the support of industrial policy, draw lessons from foreign experience, formulate a set of effective laws, regulations and policies to promote the application of magnesium alloys, and strengthen investment in expanding domestic demand and industrialization of magnesium products.


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