“With T-Mag you can make a magnesium alloy engine block that is two-thirds the weight on an aluminum alloy engine block,” claims Sam Tartaglia, business development manager at the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (www.csiro.au). What’s more, the process is said to be cost effective vis-à-vis processing cost requirements. According to Dr. Thang Nguyen, CSIRO casting team leader, “”T-Mag is designed to be simple.” He goes on to explain, “We’ve integrated melting and casting operations in a single compact unit which uses gravity rather than high pressure or vacuum to make sure the die fills smoothly from the bottom. This minimizes turbulence and formation of oxides in the casting.” It is claimed that the comparatively low production costs makes T-Mag castings competitive with aluminum and steel components.
The process also minimizes the amount of material needed for part production. To cast a 3.5-kg component 3.7 kg of metal is needed compared to as much as 7 kg required for conventional processes.
The process is being offered to the market by CSIRO and three South Australian companies, Alloy Technologies International, SAGE Automation, and FLOTEK. Says Tartaglia, “The technology is being assessed by a group of major North American car makers. If successful, this validation will open the door to key markets.”