All the pieces are in place for a light metal romp . . . or are they?

Nov 22, 2006 | 09:08 AM | Philip Burgert

Aluminum and magnesium die casters and others involved with light metals used in automotive manufacturing are optimistic about future uses of those materials despite problems that have led a major magnesium producer to abandon the market.

Increasing requirements for lighter vehicles and applications in powertrains, drivetrains and interior components will increase demand for light metals, according to speakers at AMM's Auto Steel & Metals Conference in Charleston, S.C.

"Probably the overall material loser is iron castings," said Thomas E. Prucha, president of consulting company MetalMorphasis LLC, Rochester Hills, Mich. The move to lightweight materials had resulted in an overall erosion of the use of iron, particularly demand for gray iron castings.

Prucha said that automotive die-casting markets had increased to 77 percent of all die-casting markets from 68 percent five years earlier, and he encouraged suppliers to shift their focus from purely domestically oriented die casters to growing markets held by die casters set up to supply transplant automakers.....

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