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New energy efficient magnesium technology for strip production and its potential

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Magnesium thin sheets have been manufactured in a complex process from slabs produced by continuous casting by well-known companies like Elektron in Bitterfeld, Dow and Alcoa since the 20th century. This conventional method is still being used by firms like Salzgitter Magnesiumtechnologie and M&B MAG Toronto. The technology of twin roll casting, which was developed at the beginning of the 21st century, reduces the production costs by a substantial amount and is gaining importance worldwide. Numerous research teams in Australia, China, Germany, Japan and in Turkey are dealing with it. Major advantages are the use of cheaper input materials, not having to use continuously cast input material, that no heating is needed during rolling afterwards and that less rolling passes are needed to reach the final dimensions of the sheets. Another characteristic is the fast solidification (10 times faster than in the continuous casting of slabs). This leads to a finer-grained microstructure and the reduction of cavities, pores, segregations and brittle precipitations which give better formability and a better quality of the final product. In Figure 1 the conventional method of production of magnesium thin sheet and twin roll casting are compared schematically. The conventional method which is represented herein is a highly productive, extensive production installation with continuous casting, disconnected roughing and finishing line, decoiler equipment and a coil box. The reduction of process steps which the new technology of producing strips with dimensions closer to the final product with twin roll casting creates is, as mentioned above, mainly caused by not having to use the costly roughing process including mechanical treatment of slabs. Table 1 gives an overview of the producing and production similar twin roll casting plants for the manufacturing of magnesium thin sheet. Small laboratory installations are not being accounted for. All[...]

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