June 26, 2007 — European researchers are studying ways to use magnesium to produce "tailored and cost-effective technologies for the industrial manufacturing of magnesium forged components." The MAGFORGE project is a collective research effort being carried out by 23 participants as part of the Sixth Framework Programme of the European Commission (EC).
The MAGFORGE participants include industrial associations (representing forging, tooling, and automotive supplier industries); small and mid-sized enterprises, mostly forging companies; and "research and technological development performers," i.e., universities and research organizations. The participants represent 12 countries.
An announcement of the project cites the European forging industry's need to develop specialized advantages, in order to compete with low-cost global rivals. In addition, they cite the need for European forgers to address the automotive industry's primary design concern: weight reductions.
The organizers say the project is examining ways to use magnesium to reduce the weight of structural components (magnesium is 75% lighter than steel and 35% lighter than aluminum). By identifying manufacturing technologies for magnesium forged components, the project organizers hope to aid the European forging industry to innovate, to improve its ability to produce structural lightweight components in high-volume applications.
To date, MAGFORGE research and development has concentrated on identifying the proper magnesium alloys for their goals; improving the forging process, in terms of predictability, productivity, and quality; and benchmarking typical forged parts with lower weights than the same designs in aluminum, and proper functional performance.