Issue: Jan 2006


Geared up for increased use of magnesium



Magnesium is set to make further inroads into the make-up of vehicles

by Steve Barclay

Magnesium is set to make further inroads into the make-up of vehicles, according to Tonsberg Magnesium Group International (TMGI).

Todays vehicles have about three kilograms of magnesium components per car. TMGI bases its forecast on its order book from Tier 1 suppliers, says Petter Wessel Bjornstad, CEO of TMGI.

Production capacity at TMGI is being expanded to meet the expected increase in demand. In August 2005, the company started production of steering wheel armatures in Kedzierzyn-Kozle, Poland. Bjornstad says TMGI has been planning for the European markets in collaboration with existing clients. In the start-up phase of the Polish die casting operation TMGI will produce steering wheel armatures for one of its clients, TRW Automotive, to be used in a model range from Ford.

At the same time, TMGI has increased its capacity for the manufacturing of magnesium steering wheels in its die casting facility in Morelia, Mexico, by an additional four production lines. As a result capacity will be increased from the already established two production lines to a total of six. The new production lines are expected to be in place at the start Q1 2006.

Speaking at the start of production in Poland, Bjornstad said "the start of commercial production of magnesium steering wheel armatures for TRW Automotive in Poland is a big step for TMGI in order to establish its unique manufacturing methods even for the European market. It is also proof that our establishment in Mexico is right and this is now creating a positive effect on our European operations".

TMGI's philosophy is to increase production capacity as each new production program for magnesium steering wheels is received. Therefore there will always be booked production for every production line that the company builds.

"It is very important for TMGI, especially as a newly established supplier to such a time critical industry as the automotive industry, to show our clients that we can deliver the ordered components within the agreed timeframe - just in time" says Bjornstad. "With this increased production capacity we are well positioned to accept our client orders".

TMG International develops leading technology for magnesium die-cast parts for the automotive industry and the associated manufacturing equipment. The company has operations in Europe (Norway, Sweden and Poland), in the USA (Michigan and Florida) as well as in Mexico.

Joseph Gorman joins TMG

Tonsberg Magnesium Group has announced that Joseph Gorman has joined the board to strengthen TMG's position in the die casting industry. Gorman has 37 years of experience in the automotive industry and has held positions including CEO and Chairman of TRW, the market leading supplier of a broad range of sophisticated and important automotive parts and systems, including safety products. Gorman is a current director of Alcoa Inc., the Procter & Gamble Company and Imperial Chemical Industries plc.

"Mr Gorman will be a fantastic resource for TMG. The experience and contact network he brings are invaluable for our company's future development within our key target markets, such as safety products for OEMs," says Petter Wessel Bjornstad, CEO of TMG.

Gorman previously was Chairman of the US-Japan Business Council and received Japan's 1994 Prime Minister's Trade Award for his contributions to improving trade relations between Japan and the USA. He has been or is presently a board member of several globally-oriented multi-industry groups including The World Economic Forum and the US-China Business Council. This experience will benefit the company as both the Japanese and Chinese vehicle manufacturing industries are particularly interesting markets for TMG's expansion, says Bjornstad.

Gorman also has held or holds a series of active and honorary roles for American and international trade-related authorities. "To have such an experienced and respected member of the industry in TMG and actively working as a board member is a great honour and a milestone in the company's development," says Bjorrnstad

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