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Laying the Foundation for Serial Production:

New Co-operation in Magnesium Sheet Metal Research for Lightweight Vehicle Engineering

Scientists at the Rollmag

Photo: HZG/ Christian Schmid

A large number of participants, both researchers and industry representatives, attended the recent second German-Korean Workshop on “Production and Industrial Application of Magnesium Semi-Finished Products” hosted by the material scientists from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht. The workshop took place in Incheon, South Korea.

The workshop, with more than 120 German and South Korean participants, was organised by HZG materials researchers Dr. Dietmar Letzig and Dr. Sangbong Yi. Dietmar Letzig: “The meeting was a great success and we made several important contacts. There is a high demand for light materials in the automotive industry. Vehicle manufacturers are the most crucial magnesium sheet metal consumers. But manufacturing must become more economical and corrosion resistance needs improvement. That is research we undertake at MagIC.”

The Magnesium Innovation Center (MagIC) at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht (HZG) is an important scientific partner in industrial lightweight applications. The purpose of this unique research platform, headed by Professor Karl Ulrich Kainer, is to extensively research magnesium technologies of the future.

The participants of the workshop

The participants of the workshop in South Korea. Photo: HZG/ WZW

During the workshop, the participants exchanged information on casting-rolling technologies, magnesium sheet metals and wrought magnesium materials. Engineers and scientists at large automotive and aerospace manufacturing companies are working extensively to build lighter vehicles and aircraft. Each kilogram reduced lowers the fuel consumption and therefore the CO2 emissions. Magnesium is only twenty-five percent the weight of steel and is even thirty percent lighter than aluminium. The material is therefore already successfully utilised in many areas of the automobile industry. These components are usually produced as castings like those found in chassis.

For large body sections, such as doors, flaps or roofs, where the lightweight material could reduce the weight substantially more, the use of rolled magnesium sheets presents a considerable advantage. The material researchers in Geesthacht study such rolled magnesium sheet metals so that they can be utilised in automotive manufacturing.

In addition to the Geesthacht material scientists, other researchers and industry representatives participated, including from global companies such as Volkswagen, POSCO, Thyssen, RECARO, Renault, Hyundai-Kia. Universities and research organizations also attended: RWTH Aachen University, Technical University Munich, Technical University Bergakadamie Freiberg, DLR Stuttgart, Korean Institute of Materials Science, Seoul National University and POSTECH University.

Participants in the cooperation between industry and research

After the signing ceremony: Representatives of Volkswagen, POSCO, HZG. Photo: POSCO

The first bilateral cooperation between industry and research had already formed after the first workshop in Irsee (Bavaria) in 2012, and this cooperation was further developed and intensified. In order to do so, a cooperative agreement was signed between the semi-finished materials manufacturer POSCO and the end-user Volkswagen. The aim of the cooperation is alloy and process development for serial components in automotive manufacturing.

MagIC – Magnesium Innovations Center

The MagIC Center researches magnesium materials for the most widely varying applications, such as in transportation and medical technology. Special attention is directed to alloy development and to optimising both existing and new manufacturing processes. In order to obtain an ideal range of properties in using magnesium, knowledge-based basic research and application-specific studies are necessary. MagIC possesses proven expertise and suitable facilities for these endeavours.


Dr. Dietmar Letzig Abteilungsleiter

Institut for Materials Research - Magnesium Innovations Centre

Phone: +49 (0)4152 87-1994

E-mail contact