A joint venture involving CSIRO and three South Australian companies has been awarded a $1.95m grant to develop a magnesium casting process that will have significant benefits for the automotive industry and the environment.
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane announced the Australian Government Commercial Ready grant to T-Mag last week.
Macfarlane said that the new technology, which allows magnesium to be cast with less waste and increased energy efficiency, was exciting news for the automotive component industry.
“It will offer the industry a material that is cost-effective and lighter than aluminium and steel which is currently used. Importantly, the lighter vehicles that result will translate to fuel savings and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases,” Macfarlane said.
The Commercial Ready grant will be used to take the T-Mag casting process from its current demonstration stage to castings of 15kg, a threshold which makes the process commercially viable.
The three SA companies in the joint venture are aluminium and magnesium casting manufacturer Alloy Technologies International, integrated industrial control and automated process systems supplier Sage Automation, and special purpose machinery manufacturer Flotek.
“The new technology can be used in a range of applications where car makers are in search of that goal of ever-improving power-to-weight ratios,” Macfarlane said.
“Previous casting methods have required between six and seven kilograms of metal to produce a 3.5kg casting. T-Mag’s technology reduces this dramatically — producing a 3.5kg casting generates only about 200g of waste.”
Macfarlane said the technology had already attracted international attention at trade fairs and will also be of use in the defence and aeronautical industries.
“What is pleasing with this project is the collaboration fostered by the Australian Government’s Commercial Ready grant between industry and a research organisation.
“The goal is to foster innovation that benefits all Australians and helps earn export dollars for the national economy,” Macfarlane said.
Information on Commercial Ready can be found at www.ausindustry.gov.au or phone the AusIndustry hotline 13 28 46, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.