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Improved Magnesium Molding Process (THIXOMOLDING)

This project performed by Thixomat, was granted funds from the NICE3 Program to build a full scale demonstration model of the Thixomolding technology. The Thixomolding technology incorporates preheating of pellets in a feed hopper; deep-penetrating, low-frequency induction heating; a screw feed designed to increase throughput; an improved, tight, non-return valve to maintain the inert argon atmosphere; and the use of "hot runner" technology that improves the yields of parts by 90%. All of these methods have been demonstrated separately or as part of a process in a related industry. As with plastic injection, magnesium alloy feedstock pellets are fed through a hopper. Unlike conventional means, the pellets are preheated before advancing to a reciprocating screw injection machine with a holding barrel and a specially designed screw. Pellet preheating increases the efficiency of heat transfer and increases system throughput. The method is expected to reduce energy usage and scrap recycling by 50% as well as eliminate the use of the global warming gas SF6, waste slag, and dross.
Lisa Barnett
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC  20585

phone: (202) 586-2212
fax: (202) 586-7114

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