Components made of magnesium alloys have always played a vital part in many STIHL chainsaws and power tools. To ensure high quality standards over the long term, STIHL opened a magnesium diecasting plant in 1971. And it was not long before leading manufacturers in the automotive and electrical engineering industries also came to rely on diecasting precision “made by STIHL”. And the quality work we do in Germany’s Eifel region has established its reputation in other sectors meanwhile. New customers include e-bike manufacturers and companies from the medical technology industry. They use our products for a number of reasons: magnesium is extremely stable, weighs approximately a third less than aluminium, is almost indefinitely recyclable and offers optimum casting properties.
Established 46 years ago, today the factory in Prüm-Weinsheim, in Germany’s Eifel region, has more than 600 highly motivated employees and is one of Europe’s largest and most modern magnesium diecasting plants. All its processes, procedures and testing methods are certified and registered. The 25,000 square-metre site is made up of production facilities, warehouses and office space.
As a construction material, magnesium is a “hidden champion” of the 21st century. It is extremely stable, with outstanding characteristics for mechanical processing and a long die service life – and these are just a few of the properties that explain the light material’s unstoppable rise. Magnesium alloys for diecasting also make it possible to produce low-weight components with competitive manufacturing costs. Further advantages include excellent machinability, good attenuation and shielding properties.
Current rules that give manufacturers responsibility for product recycling and the conservation of natural resources have also contributed to magnesium’s importance: STIHL doesn’t only purchase magnesium, but also melts down spent magnesium components and recycled materials into new secondary raw material. The purity of materials is guaranteed by the identification of all cast components with a material code.
Everything from a single source
To fully ensure the quality of our products, we at STIHL produce everything ourselves. We are convinced that companies that provide complete processes from a single source retain full control over quality in every phase.
The following images show exactly what happens at our high-tech foundry in Prüm-Weinsheim.
Specialists in the fields of engineering design, production and quality assurance work closely with customers from the very start of a project. They ensure that the components are designed to be suitable for diecasting and guarantee efficient, economical production methods. And they are subjected to extensive testing using computer simulations.
At STIHL, precision is the norm. Before a magnesium component is cast, the in-house die service equips the diecasting machine with the mould, and attaches the electronics and hydraulics. The necessary dies are handmade to precise specifications by the in-house die-making shop.
The exclusive use of high-grade hot-work tool steel guarantees consistently high quality. Our die and mould makers refine the contours of the diecasting tools by hand.
The melting process produces a hissing sound, bars of magnesium are piled up and it is warm, because magnesium only melts at temperatures above 650 °C.
IMG alt tag: Diecast magnesium products are cast using state-of-the-art machines.
The phrase ‘Industry 4.0’ has been used routinely in Prüm-Weinsheim for some time: Fully-automatic diecasting machines manufacture magnesium components around the clock. The impressive machine fleet in the foundry includes 21 machines – the largest with a clamping force of 900 tonnes. The diecasting plant produces more than 26 million components each year.
Unpainted engine parts wait for the next stage of production – powder coating – on hangers. The surface treatment can be applied in any colour and offers optimum protection.
Next, the diecast parts move on to machining. They are processed dry or wet depending on the specifications.
Maximum care is guaranteed: the partial or full assembly of magnesium products involves both automated and manual steps. The diecast parts are inspected carefully.
The final stage of the process in Prüm-Weinsheim is the dispatch of goods by the in-house logistics department. Approximately 26 million components leave the factory each year – including components for STIHL products like clearing saws, universal engines for blowers and sprocket covers for chainsaws.
Then the magnesium parts are assembled into finished products at STIHL’s production sites around the world.
Do you want to find out more about magnesium as a material or the diecasting plant in Prüm-Weinsheim? Comprehensive information is available here: www.magnesium.stihl.com