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Hot Off the Press


Report Predicts Magnesium-Alloy Growth in Automotive

Monday, January 4, 2016
According to a new market report, the future of magnesium alloys in the global automotive industry looks strong, with increasing penetration of lightweight materials combined with rising vehicle production. So reads Growth Opportunities for Magnesium Alloys in Global Automotive Industry 2015-2020: Trends, Forecasts, and Market Analysis, now available from Research and Markets.
Magnesium-alloy use in the global automotive industry is forecast to grow at a compound annual rate of 10.1 percent from 2015 to 2020, according to the report, with government regulations, growing demand for lightweight and fuel-efficient vehicles, and the lightweight properties of magnesium alloys as the major drivers. Magnesium is 75 percent lighter than steel, 50 percent lighter than titanium and 33 percent lighter than aluminum.
In automotive, interior, powertrain, chassis and exterior are identified as the major application areas for magnesium alloys. The development of new magnesium-based sheetmetals for passenger-car bodies is expected to spur growth for this segment over the forecast period, and North America is expected to remain the largest market due to high penetration of magnesium alloys in the automotive industry. 

Presses Wrote This Toy Story

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy Holidays from the staff of MetalForming magazine!

To celebrate the season, we offer the following Backtalk column, penned for the December 2006 issue by Lou Kren, MetalForming's senior editor. It chronicles how the development of the metal-stamping industry, and holiday toymaking, intersected. Enjoy, and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2016. We'll be back on January 4 with the latest news in Hot Off the Press.

In this holiday season, you might not know that metal-stamping presses and toys are linked by history, and each owes its existence, in some form, to the other.

Until the mid-19th century, most children’s toys were handcrafted from wood and metal alloys, a painstaking and time-consuming process. Nuremberg, Germany, claims dual credit for satiating the public’s appetite for toys, and for supplying the means to place toy production on a grand scale. During the 1840s in Nuremberg—then located in the country of Bavaria and considered the toy capital of the world—craftsmen developed the mechanical metal-stamping press, in large part to facilitate metallic-toy production. The new equipment, created in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, allowed tinplate to be stamped quickly into shape, or at least cut into blanks, via mechanical pressing force and dies. At the time, tinplate—steel sheet dipped in molten tin—found its greatest use in the manufacture of utensils and toys. Tinplate was an excellent material for toy-making, as it was lightweight and could be cut and bent easily.

With the new manufacturing process, tinplate was stamped in a press with additional shaping performed by bending the piece over a wood mold. Craftsmen assembled sections into finished form via soldering—by the end of the century, tabs and slots stamped into the tinplate replaced soldering as the joining method. The tinplate could be decorated before or after forming. From that beginning, applications grew to serve markets such as industrial equipment, railroads and agriculture.

The newly mass-produced items made their way to the United States, where at the time handmade tinplate toys were scarce and expensive. Reportedly, by 1900 the United States consumed one-third of all stamped tinplate toys made in Nuremberg. Seeing the advantages of stamped-part production, interest in the innovative mechanical presses grew among U.S. manufacturers, giving rise after the Civil War to the modern North American stamping industry. Assisting domestic production of tinplate toys was the opening of the first U.S. tin mines in the mid-19th century. Previously, most tin had to be imported. The new tin mines further reduced the toys’ manufacturing and consumer cost. Tinplate toys remained popular, even as cast-iron toys became more prevalent later in the 19th century. But by the 1940s, plastic became the toy material of choice.

Of course, aided by the mechanical stamping press, mass-production of tinplate toys portended the demise of custom, one-of-a-kind handmade toys. That sounds sad, but don’t forget that the mechanical-press innovation made the toys more affordable, bringing joy to children the world over who previously couldn’t afford such luxuries.

So there you have it—without metal stamping, our holiday loot might have taken on a completely different look. And without the annual gift-giving campaigns of the season, who knows how differently our industry may have developed. Now you have quite an interesting story to share with your loved ones as you gather to celebrate this holiday season. They can thank you and your industry for bringing a little more joy into the world.  

Ace Earns Pittsburgh-Area Manufacturing Award

Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Ace Wire Spring & Form Co., Inc. has won the Pittsburgh Business Times’ 2015 Manufacturer of the Year-Premo J. Pappafava Family Business Award.
Located in McKees Rocks, PA, Ace, family owned and operated for more than 75 years, manufactures compression, extension and torsion springs as well as wire forms. The company boasts onsite engineers to assist customers in developing solutions for a variety of applications, as well as an onsite quality-control staff.
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