Mazak vs. Zamak

I've just been reading up on the history of zinc smelting in the UK. One little snippet I was surprised to find was that the commonplace zinc-diecasting alloy "Mazak" is a UK name. The original process for "Zamak" was US owned. Although the overall process was licensed in the '30s, the different source used for the zinc (electrolytic vs. reflux process) meant that a new name was needed.

Does anyone in the US recognise the name "Mazak" ? If I make a net posting about it, would US readers know what I was talking about ? I know that I'd never heard of Zamak here in the UK, until I started reading American tool catalogues.

Reply to
Andy Dingley
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Having been in the die casting industry for a fair time a few yearsback, it was rather well known that Zamak and Mazak zinc die casting alloys are US/N American and UK/European designations for the same alloy systems. Just precisely why the different names still escapes me. Your source postulation puzzles, as zinc production via blast furnace (reflux) technology gave rise to electrolytic production methods in both Europe and N America at and around the same time (early 70's/late '60's).

Interesting to hear others fill in any gaps.

Reply to
Sandy Cochrane

Zamak was a zinc die-casting alloy without the intergranular corrosion problems of early alloys (owing to lead, iron and cadmium impurities). It was a 1929 patent of the New Jersey Zinc Company, based on use of their 99.99% pure zinc from a reflux process. This refluxer was an addition to their vertical retort process, itself covered by a patent of 1929 (_not_ a blast furnace), and increased purity from 99.7% to


Electrolytic zinc began in Australia in 1918 and produced 99.95% pure zinc.

British zinc production in long-established horizontal retort plants was controlled by Imperial Smelting, at Avonmouth and Swansea. They operated their first vertical retort at Avonmouth in 1934, under licence from New Jersey. The early years of this plant were problematic and production limited.

Somewhere between 1931 and 1933, Morris Ashby, New Jersey's British agent, began licensing the die-cast alloy process. As they were using their own electrolytic zinc, rather than New Jersey's refluxed zinc, the alloy was given a slightly different tradename - "Mazak". This may have been either a simple anagram of Zamak, or a reference to Morris Ashby.

In 1933, National Smelting licensed the Zamak patent from New Jersey. They began with Morris Ashby's plant in Hackney using electrolytic zinc, but by 1936 this transferred to production at Avonmouth using reflux zinc and Hackney was closed.

The world's first blast furnace zinc smelter was a trial plant at Avonmouth in 1947. This later led to the world's largest, on the same site in 1967. The Avonmouth smelter finally closed in the last few years.

All information from "A History of the Zinc Smelting Industry in Britain", 1965

Reply to
Andy Dingley

If doing random searches on the internet under MAZAK, you will probably come up with a ton of listings referencing machine tools. MAZAK is one of the most popular brands of metalcutting CNC machinery in the world.......derived from YAMAZAKI MACHINE WORKS of Japan........

Reply to
bob ducanis

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