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Thixomat Inc. Partners With Dead Sea Magnesium to Develop New High‑Performance Magnesium Alloys

Joint Effort Targets Automotive, Aerospace, Military, and Biomedical Markets

ANAHEIM, Calif., February 8, 2011 – Thixomat Technologies LLC , Ann Arbor, Mich., and Dead Sea Magnesium Ltd. of Beer-Sheva, Israel, have undertaken a two-year joint research and development program focused on the creation of new magnesium alloys with improved performance and processability for a range of end-use markets including automotive, aerospace, military, biomedical, and sporting goods. The $1 million project has received financial support from the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation, an agency which promotes collaboration between Israeli and American companies in various technological fields. The company made the announcement at the 2011 AeroCon exhibition here (Booth #4295) Feb. 8-10.

The project is aimed at developing advanced cost-effective magnesium alloys well suited for Thixomat’s Thixomolding® injection molding process which converts magnesium alloys into precision parts; and the company’s proprietary nanoMAG Thixomolding ThermoMechanical Process (TTMP) manufacturing system.

“This is an exciting venture that will expand the limits of magnesium alloys, delivering a new range of materials with more robust properties and improved processability; all at a competitive cost point,” said Stephen LeBeau, president and CEO of Thixomat Inc.

New magnesium alloys for the Thixomolding process - a novel one-step process that produces net or near-net shape parts to tight tolerance with limited secondary operations - will include materials with improved processability for thin-wall electronic packaging for digital cameras, cell phones, and computers. Also under consideration is a replacement for AM60 magnesium alloy for structural applications that require enhanced toughness and ductility for steering wheel columns, instrument panel components, and bicycle frames. Lastly, the project will examine new high-temperature products (175 C-200 C) which provide greater processability than die-cast aluminum for demanding automotive under hood and engine/transmission applications.

The joint development effort will also capitalize on the nanoMAG TTMP process which produces magnesium sheet with 200% higher strength and improved toughness over conventional magnesium, while also providing the strength of carbon steel sheet at one-fourth the weight. The patent-pending process features isotropic fine-grained strengthening which permits low-volume manufacturing for specialty applications at a competitive cost. Under evaluation are new tailor-made magnesium alloys that provide higher strength and toughness than conventional alloys such as AZ91 and AZ61 for military and aerospace applications. Work is also under way to develop unique chemistries for biomedical applications.

New magnesium alloys have already been developed and are being tested and evaluated in limited quantities by a wide range of manufacturers and end users in the military, aerospace, orthopedic, and biomedical markets.

About nanoMAG LLC

nanoMAG LLC, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., is a subsidiary of Thixomat Technologies LLC, a company with more than 20 years experience in the research, development, and marketing of technologies for the production of products utilizing magnesium alloys. nanoMAG supplies precision magnesium sheet and short-run specialty alloys to diverse industries including automotive, aerospace, biomedical, and military. nanoMAG magnesium sheet provides 200% higher strength and improved toughness over conventional magnesium, while also providing the strength of carbon steel sheet at one-fourth the weight. For more information, visit www.nanoMAG.us.

About Thixomat Inc.

Thixomat Inc., based in Ann Arbor, Mich., is the developer of the Thixomolding® process which produces injection molded products from magnesium stock. The process permits the manufacture of net or near-net shape parts requiring little finishing. There are more than 50 Thixomat licensees and more than 400 Thixomolding® machines have been sold worldwide.

About Dead Sea Magnesium Ltd.

Dead Sea Magnesium Ltd. (DSM) is one of the world leaders in production of high-quality pure magnesium and magnesium alloys supported by world-class research and development. The development of new magnesium alloys for both mass production and niche applications is part of the overall strategic vision of DSM, which views its R&D capabilities as an important part of the company's competitive advantage. DSM’s vast experience in developing high-pressure die-casting alloys and gravity casting alloys provides good background for the success in the new and innovative area of Thixomolding® and TTMP processes. More information is available at www.dsmag.co.il.

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Joseph Grande
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