Eck Joins Study of Mag Extrusion for Autos, Defense

LIFT launches project with Michigan startup to reduce weight for automotive, defense parts

Eck Industries in Manitowoc, WI, is part of a project team coordinated by the Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) initiative exploring the use of ductile magnesium-based alloys for extrusions, to be used in automotive, defense and consumer applications. The goal is to extrude magnesium alloys with high room temperature ductility (>25%). This process is expected to lead to a roadmap of magnesium-alloy design and development, and a materials properties database of how they can be used in future applications.Eck Industries specializes in casting aluminum parts for aviation, defense, hybrid and off-road vehicles, as well as commercial markets.

LIFT is a Detroit-based public-private partnership focused on developing and deploying of advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training initiatives. It coordinates academic and institutional research with likely and/or available industrial partners, with specific development targets.

“Magnesium alloys could certainly provide tremendous benefit across industries due to its weight-savings potential and ability to form complex geometries through casting, extrusion, and forging,” stated Hadrian Rori, CTO for LIFT. “With the efforts this project team is putting forth, there is definitely some promise to increase the strength-to-weight ratio of magnesium alloys, enabling it to be used in more applications where that strength and toughness is needed, such as armor or auto frames.”

The project team also include Loukus Technologies and Michigan Technological University.

Loukus Technologies is an industrial research and contract manufacturing firm specializing in material technologies and process, including squeeze casting, spray molding, and metal-matrix composites, among others.

“We currently extrude various magnesium alloys, but this project will help develop extrusions with improved room temperature formability. Our team is taking a vertically integrated approach to control alloying, casting, extruding, and heat treatment,” stated Adam Loukus, Ph.D, CEO of Loukus Technologies. “We are using simulation and analysis tools to determine how various alloying elements and processing techniques affect final material properties.”

The research project has a budget of approximately $400,000, and is expected to be completed in December 2019.