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Breakthrough

For people who rely on special aids, the breakthrough in magnesium technology has led to a whole new generation of lightweight mobility products. Depending on the product, the saving in weight can be as much as 35%. In other spheres too, the combination of weight and strength is very important.

For many people in their day-to-day lives, comfort is all-important. Around 800,000 people in the Netherlands need special aids to get about. The weight of these devices has a crucial impact on their basic day-to-day activities. For people who rely on special aids, the breakthrough in magnesium technology has led to a whole new generation of lightweight mobility products. Depending on the product, the saving in weight can be as much as 35%. In other spheres too, the combination of weight and strength is very important. Here are some examples of projects involving coated magnesium products.

'The proof II': magnesium wheel rim

In early 2013, Magnesium Technology began to develop a magnesium wheel rim. After many attempts by various other manufacturers, the aim was to show that a durable rim can be made from magnesium. 

The design of the profile, which is based on an existing aluminium rim, poses a considerable challenge in terms of the extrusion technology. The hollow profile has a complex geometry with wall thicknesses ranging from only 0.75mm to 2.6mm. In addition, the core cross-section has to be very accurately shaped, as an insert is placed inside it which aligns and positions the two ends relative to each other after the rim has been rounded.

The extrusion process also involves many challenges. A two-hole die was chosen, so that two profiles can be pressed at the same time. We ensure that both profiles are perfectly straight and come out of the die without significant torsion. Moreover, the core remains symmetrical inside the profile. This guarantees the flatness of the rim during rounding.
Once the rim has been rounded, bonded and provided with spoke holes and a valve hole, the rim is coated. The coating ensures lasting protection for the rim during assembly and use. It also serves as a substrate to which a finish can be directly applied. The rim is also coated on the inside, since the spoke nipples come into contact with the magnesium here. Corrosion just does not have a chance.

The whole process eventually resulted in the first successful magnesium wheel rim. In appearance, the magnesium rim is indistinguishable from its aluminium counterpart. A weight-saving of 28% is achieved, and the rim has been extensively tested. The results indicate that this is the best and most comfortable rim ever produced, and easily a match for the carbon rims available on the market.
The final weight of the wheel is similar to that of carbon. However, thanks to the shock-absorbing properties of magnesium, a magnesium wheel is far more comfortable, lasts longer and costs a good deal less.

‘The proof’: magnesium wheelchair

Limburg-based Dutch athlete Sharon Walraven has set herself the goal of continuing to compete in wheelchair tennis up to and including the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. She plans to round off her amazing career with one more Olympic medal. To achieve this she not only trains hard, but has also worked with Mifa, Adex, AHC Benelux and Ceradure to develop a revolutionary new wheelchair that is lighter and more manoeuvrable.

Along with Mifa, Adex, AHC Benelux and Ceradure, Sharon has developed a magnesium wheelchair that has several special advantages over an aluminium wheelchair. It is currently 35% lighter than the aluminium wheelchair and has far better shock absorption. "Thanks to this new technology, I always feel more at one with the wheelchair, and that’s good for my performance,” explains Sharon Walraven.

The wheels of the magnesium wheelchair have been redeveloped. The rim, the hoop and wheel hub are made from magnesium. Most of the aluminium components in the chair have been replaced by magnesium parts, making it significantly lighter and also more comfortable. The magnesium wheelchair has also been given a special coating to prevent corrosion and a surface treatment applied by powder coating.