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Metal molding moves into automotive

Article-Metal molding moves into automotive

TXM is a growing industry, not only in its marketing successes, but also in part sizes. This magnesium seat back prototype, targeted for an undisclosed 2001-model-year Toyota vehicle, pushes the envelope for large TXM parts and indicates a trend toward lighter cars, since magnesium is the lightest of metals-two-thirds the density of aluminum. In fact, says Ford's Gerald S. Cole, if present growth trends continue, the amount of magnesium in cars and trucks could increase over the next 20 years from the present 2.1 kg (4.6 lb) per vehicle to more than 100 kg (220.46 lb) per vehicle.

Measuring 18 by 22.5 inches, the seat was originally produced as stamped steel; switching to TXM magnesium reduced part weight by approximately 35 percent to 2.2 kg (4.85 lb) and trimmed the 13-part assembly down to three components.

Araco of Aichi-ken, Japan molded the near-net-shape seat back on an 850-ton TXM machine.

See the chart below for more details on automotive components that are potential candidates for switching to magnesium.

For more on TXM, contact Thixomat Inc., (734) 995-5550;

 List of potential components to achieve at least 100 kg/vehicle.



Mass (kg)

 Suspension  Road wheels (4x8) 14.5
   Spare wheel   2.7
   Control arm (2, rear)  2.3
   Control arm (2, front)  3.6
   Engine cradle  5.4
   Rear support/assembly  4.5
 Body  Bumper reinforcement beam  3.2
   Cast door inner (4x7)  12.7
   Cast A/B pillar  3.6
   Grille opening reinforcement  4.1
   Luggage rack  1.4
   Outside mirrors  .7
 Interior  Instrument panel cross car beam  6.8
   Other IP support  3.6
   Seat back (4x1.5)  2.7
   Seat cushion (4x2)  3.6
   Air bag parts  .7
 Steering  Steering components (Power steering pump housing, bracket, actuator housing, steering wheel)


 Brakes  ABS module  .5
   Clutch/brake pedal bracket, pedal assembly  1.4
 Electrical/mechanical  Alternator case  .7
   Radio/EEC parts  .5
   Wiper motor/misc.  .9
   Alternator/a-c bracket  .9
 Powertrain  Transmission (valve body, case, side cover, stator)  11.4
   Transfer case (15% of production x 12 kg)  1.6
   Engine block  10.0
    · Support brackets  2.3
    · Housings (oil/water pump, starter motor)  2.7
    · Valve cover  1.4
    · Intake manifold  2.7
    · Engine mounts  2.3
    · Oil pan  2.7
    · Front cover  1.8

 Total mass magnesium components


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