Yi'an Technology: Liquid Metal Technology Seminar
Category: Corporate Research Institution: Zhongtai Securities Co., Ltd. Researcher: Zhongtai Securities Research Institute Date: 2016-04-20
Q: Now that CNC is very mature and capable of large-scale production, what is the difference between large-scale production of liquid metal and production of line parts?
A: It depends on what you are comparing with. If compared with ordinary stretched products, liquid metal is absolutely expensive, because the material of liquid metal is about 200 dollars a kilo. When we die-cast liquid metal, almost 90% of the finished products can be made. So compared to expensive labor, mass production in this area is much cheaper. We make a box by ourselves. If it is not complicated, we have more than one hundred RMB. If it's more complicated, it's less than two hundred dollars. If you consider the liquid metal from the beginning of the design, the cost will be more advantageous than the current aluminum alloy.
Q: Is there a difference in consistency between small batch production and mass production later?
A: It can be said that there is almost no difference, because we are relying on molds to produce. Our die life is considered to be 30,000 to 40,000, and the appearance of the three or four thousand is almost the same, of course, some parts of the small part of the parts, We may need post-processing, such as grinding. However, they are basically accurate and reproducible. We like to compare the liquid metal and powder metallurgy, powder metallurgy will probably have a shrinkage of 22% to 24%, and the lateral shrinkage and the vertical shrinkage are not the same, the shrinkage of the liquid metal is somewhat different, about 1000 2.5 to 3.5 parts per thousand is very controllable, so the reproducibility of liquid metal is very good.
Q: Our technology is very advanced at present, but from the perspective of promotion, it is a difficulty that needs to be overcome. How can this problem be solved in the future?
A: Last year we started to promote small products. Now we are starting to promote some of the larger products. This mainly involves the process of customer recognition. It has been developing well so far. When it comes to the promotion of large-scale products, there is no A certain point in time, but we are now operating at a higher rate.
Q: The cooperation between Yi'an and the Chinese Academy of Sciences and liquidmetal actually puts some of the liquid metal-related intellectual property rights in the hands of material costs, materials technology and equipment. At present, the relative status is relatively high, but it still faces some technical competition. What is the overall strategy for intellectual property?
A: Liquidmetal has about 128 patents on the side. The 128 patents protect almost all formulas or similar formulas that can be expected. Therefore, others cannot sell liquid metal to the United States. They must have liquid metal authorization. Just because liquidmetal itself has sufficient protection for intellectual property.
Q: Yi'an did not position itself as a production-oriented enterprise. Rather, it was a kind of integration of resources, linking technology and industry to the level of liquid metal. In the future, the company wanted to be a production-oriented enterprise. In the past, do a resource-integrated enterprise?
A: In the production-oriented enterprises, Yi'an is a very small company. Small companies like Apple and Samsung do not divide the market into our hands. We don't have enough machines to produce, and we don't have enough capacity to manage. A lot of machines, so we are looking for partners to do products together, we teach you how to do it, tell you the recipes, tell you about machinery, equipment, materials, etc., Yian only has a dozen or twenty machines, YiAn as a demonstration Units communicate with each other through familiar companies such as Apple and Samsung.
Q: At present, the mobile phone frame cannot be completely replaced with liquid metal. What is the company's expectation of infiltration of this kind of product?
A: At present, only we can make liquid metal mobile phone borders, but a slightly better mobile phone brand can't find a single supplier, we need to shop around, and our current size is still too small to carry such a huge market. So we are actively promoting other companies to develop liquid metal products, because we have a limited scale, so we hope to make it a plate, an industrial chain, there are twenty to thirty companies to promote its development, from raw materials, machines Equipment, processing, and application, if only relying on Yi'an Technology, will go very slowly and require the joint efforts of everyone;
Q: During the long-term research of new materials, we discovered that if there is a special application direction for new materials, it will develop faster. This situation generally has two characteristics. First, after its use, its overall cost will drop a lot, so that downstream companies will have a strong driving force. The other is that the entire market must be large enough. At present, everyone's concern is in the mobile phone casing, but I think that liquid metal does not have much comprehensive cost advantage in comparison with aluminum alloy (the current iPhone's shell material) in the mobile phone casing, so in addition to the mobile phone casing field, there are Are there other fields that meet the above two characteristics?
A: Actually, apart from the two points you mentioned just now, one of the more special features of mobile phones is that Jobs pushed liquid metal before he died, but it was not really successful (only the pin used was liquid metal). If the liquid metal phone case can be made, then there is a clear advertising effect in the field of application of Apple, a gimmick (the use of new materials will often become a new selling point for mobile phone products). At present, consumer electronics can make liquid metal grow fastest. First, because of its large number and wide demand, and second, the existence of Jobs and Apple's mobile phone makes this market full of star effects, so when a mobile phone shell is produced, there will be a market effect in one or two years. Even if the price is expensive, the consumer electronics market can accept it. Taking Xiaomi as an example, Xiaomi 4 talked about the story of a stainless steel tour at the product launch event and became its main selling point at that time. The cost of millet 4 stainless steel has just started to be 250, and has been reduced to 200 after continuous improvement and mass production.
And my liquid metal shell only 180 dollars, after the price will be lower, compared with stainless steel 304, whether it is price or forcing, liquid metal shell is undoubtedly in a leading position. In addition, in the field of mobile phone housings, the strength of liquid metal is higher than its use value. The high strength of aluminum alloy is only 400pa, and the liquid metal is also as low as 1000pa. Therefore, it is not necessary to use such advanced materials as liquid metal. I have never put consumer electronics on the top of the list of liquid metal applications. My personal focus is on the automotive side, including automotive shafts, fasteners, locks, etc. This is no less than consumer electronics.
Q: I am a company with on-board display. Considering that our car displays will grow bigger and bigger in the future, when will liquid metal frames with more than 10 inches display be made?
A: We should be able to do it, but liquid metal has a very low price/performance ratio for on-board displays. Liquid metal is a selling point for mobile phones, but it is not for on-board displays. It is difficult for you to pay for this premium. A small box for a mobile phone costs 180 yuan, but the box on a car display screen costs 1,000 yuan. Not only is the price too expensive, consumers are reluctant to pay, and even if the cost is lowered later, the value of liquid metal to the value of the on-board display is also increased. Very limited
Q: The domestic patent environment is still rather harsh. How are we laying out patents in the country? How many?
Liquid metal itself has a huge patent pool. How to achieve effective docking?
A: We have only a dozen or so amorphous patents in China. However, our patents can be used out. Other companies have heard that there are 70 to 80, but their patents are not easy to use. And our domestic patent is even better than Liquid metal. We have a patent that can produce antibacterial effect after adding appropriate amount of silver in liquid metal. Basically 99% of E. coli can be eliminated in wearable equipment, medical treatment and electronics. The field has broad prospects. Liquid metal has been making liquid metal for more than 20 years, and has more than 120 patented technologies in foreign countries, covering all aspects of mobile phone housings. Joining Liquid Metal can guarantee that we will be in a superior position in foreign intellectual property litigation in the future;
Q: YiAn Technology has more than 20 devices, but it cannot meet the needs of some large 3C manufacturers. Soon the equipment is the bottleneck of industrial development?
A: No, at present, we have already found three cooperative companies for materials and equipment manufacturing companies. If everyone pushes forward together, the bottleneck is not a problem. Because Yi'an Technology is a research and development company, there is no advantage in equipment production. In the future, we will jointly set up a joint venture company with related materials and equipment manufacturing companies. We will control the company's shareholding, grant intellectual property, and sell it to everyone to jointly expand this market.
Question: The biggest characteristic of liquid metal is its high strength and high hardness. This feature is a waste of mobile phone casings. It should actually be used in applications where space is limited but where bearing capacity requirements are relatively high. However, current mechanical designers do not understand this material. We need to introduce some similar standards and production manuals. Do we have plans in this area?
A: Lqmetal has set industry standards in the United States, so we need to do the same in China. At present, the development of industry standards still needs at least one year. We are constantly promoting this. This is very necessary, and it is an entirely new way for us to grasp the initiative in the development of the industry.
Q: To vigorously promote the marketization of liquid metal, we must find many partners, but there will be technical risks, how to protect the company's intellectual property?
A: Actually, it is difficult to protect intellectual property in China. On the one hand, we must promote this matter because the development of liquid metal requires the entire industry chain as a support (only one can produce hard-to-market, hard-to-make money). On the other hand, , As the first liquid metal manufacturer in China that can produce mobile phone cases, we have this sense of mission to cultivate it. If it succeeds later, this will be a highlight in the development history of the entire liquid metal industry. It is not just money that can be measured. Q: Please tell us about the phase change process. A: For example, glass is neither too nor solid, glass is glassy, ??and the phase change will take a long time. For the same reason, if the amorphous alloy is applied more than 300 degrees, it will change, and the phase will not necessarily change, but the shape will certainly change and the mechanical characteristics will change.
Q: Just mentioned injection molding, injection molding is generally applied in the plastic field, what is the difference with die casting?
A: It is really a die-casting process, but because it cannot be called die-casting, it is called injection molding.
Q: With respect to consumer electronics products, consumers are looking for a thin, but zirconium-based liquid metal is heavier than other similar products in terms of weight. How to solve this problem in the future?
A: I use the door axis of the car as an example. A door has two axes, about 400-500 grams per axis. We can't use amorphous materials yet. Let's explore feasibility first. The strength of the amorphous alloy is about 2.5 times that of the high-strength steel, and the amorphous proportion is about 6.5, the iron is 7.8, and the weight is 20%. Taken together, it means that 1/3 volume of amorphous can replace 1 volume of high strength steel. 4 kg of 4 doors, plus 6 kg at the front of the car, can theoretically reduce 4 kg. Because the strength of its unit is much stronger than other varieties, this is the basis for weight loss.
Q: What about consumer electronics products such as mobile phones?
Answer: The reason is the same. We are now making 0.8mm, but 0.3mm is enough. If we do it thin enough, we have enough strength.
Q: We know that there are many times when some good materials are applied on a large scale, depending on the cost of the materials themselves due to economies of scale. The company promotes the liquid metal in large scale nationwide and globally. This idea is very good, but when will it become a reality?
A: This is our intention. It is also an important idea for us to acquire LQMT because it has a close relationship with Apple. Both parties share a research and development team. Apple did not use liquid metal before because no one made it. Now we have made it. We must discuss with them before the end of this year. Of course, it is expected that it will strongly demand that the company's products can only be supplied to it. I have reservations. Because there are already many excellent mobile phone manufacturers in China, they will not buy out to Apple or any other mobile phone manufacturers. However, we will soon talk to Apple and we may not be able to reach cooperation because the differences are still quite large.
Q: After the large-scale promotion of this industry, there may be problems with the upgrading of materials. The next generation or the next generation will emerge and be replaced with other new materials. Will this hinder the determination of large-scale investment in the industry?
A: This is a relatively macro topic, but I personally think that at the beginning of the outbreak, there will be no large-scale purchases. There will be only a small amount of purchases at the beginning, and after the maturity of research and development will continue to increase, so the risk will not be great. .
Q: The biggest promotion area for liquid metal in the future is the automobile?
Answer: The application in the automotive field takes two or three years. We are fortunate to have a T-precision car company that began to cite our products last year. This company is more interesting. It The products are both automotive and consumer electronics. The consumer electronics field has a benefit, and it has a higher degree of acceptance of new things.
Q: Are companies in the military industry involvede?
A: Because I am a Hong Kong person, I don't have easy access to the military. I can find a metal company and they have a lot of relevant experience.
Q: Currently, there are three main directions for the liquid metal technology reserve. The first one is the band shape. This is already mature. The second is the bulk amorphous material we are currently making, and the other is the powder. One of the directions for powder applications is 3D printing. Can you tell us about this?
A: There are two uses of powder, one is a surface coating, with wear, corrosion and other functions, there is a 3D printing. We have a company, Liaoning Jinyan Liquid Metal Technology Co., Ltd., which accounts for 70% of the company and 30% of the Institute of Metals of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Liaoning Liquid Metal has a subsidiary called Shenyang Jinyan New Material Preparation Technology Co., Ltd., which is engaged in 3D printing from powder production to final product preparation, but has not yet been promoted. We recently received 3 million yuan from the Guangdong Provincial Government to fund scientific research in this area. The real application will probably be early next year. We will focus on materials, supply powder to customers, we will not do printing, and the technical content is too low.
Q: Is it a liquid metal powder?
Will the characteristics of amorphous alloys be maintained during 3D printing?
A: It is also done, and the performance in terms of strength is still excellent. In 3D printing, we use special cooling methods to meet the forming conditions, so the printed material is still liquid metal, which is also the difference between us and ordinary 3D printing.
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