January 21, 2021
On December 24, 2020, Makino Milling Machine, a leading Japanese machine tool builder, unveiled the aluminum alloy “ATHIUM” jointly developed with material makers. The rigidity of ATHIUM is the same as that of gray cast iron, which is often used in machine tools, and the weight has been reduced by about 60%. The company aims to put it into practical use in its original products by the end of 2021. Shinichi Inoue, president of Makino Milling Machine said, “ATHIUM is a dream material. ATHIUM will have a great impact on the entire Japanese manufacturing industry”.
Fundamental innovation from materials
4 companies including Makino Milling Machine has developed ATHIUM to replace the gray cast iron used in most of machine tools structure. “Machine tools need to improve the performance and efficiency while reducing the impact on the global environment. The machine tool industry needed to innovate radically from materials,” Inoue said.
ATHIUM is characterized by its light weight and high rigidity. ATHIUM is 60% lighter than gray cast iron, but has the same rigidity.
On the other hand, because the material price is high and the casting method is special, the procurement cost of ATHIUM is higher than that of gray cast iron. “We would like to review the mechanical structure and keep down price,” said a designer of Makino Milling Machine.
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