Development and Future of Rare-earth Permanent Magnets

Development & Future Of Rare-earth Permanent Magnet

The Development & Future Of Rare-earth Permanent Magnet

Rare earth permanent magnet materials have been widely used in many fields such as electronic information, automobile industry, medical equipment, energy transportation and so on. At the same time, with the progress of technology, rare earth permanent magnet materials have also shown broad application prospects in many emerging fields. Especially under the trend of low-carbon economy sweeping the world, all countries are paying attention to environmental protection and low-carbon emissions as key scientific and technological fields.

Rare earth permanent magnet materials play an important role in low-carbon economy industries such as wind power generation, new energy vehicles, energy-saving home appliances.

The preparation process of rare earth permanent magnet materials is mainly divided into three categories: sintering, bonding and hot pressing/heat deformation.

  • The first type of sintering process: using powder metallurgy technology, including alloy preparation, powdering, orientation forming, sintering, heat treatment, mechanical processing, surface protection;
  • the second type of bonding process: more patterns, the basic route is to prepare permanent magnet properties Alloy magnetic powder, particle size adjustment of magnetic powder, adding tree finger mixed with magnetic powder and granulating, forming (compression, injection, extrusion or calendering), mechanical processing, surface protection;
  • Third type hot pressing/thermal deformation process; using NdFeB The fast-quenching magnetic powder induces similar crystal preferential orientation through slow and large-scale hot-press deformation to make a high-performance magnet.

Sintered magnets and hot-pressed/heat-deformed magnets are characterized by high magnetic properties, and bonded magnets are characterized by good performance consistency, accurate dimensions, complex shapes, high material utilization, and easy integration with metal/plastic parts. Currently, there are four commonly used rare earth permanent magnet materials: sintered NdFeB, bonded NdFeB, hot-pressed/thermally deformed NdFeB, and sintered SmCo.

The Development Of Rare-earth Magnet Material

Sintered NdFeB

Since the birth of the third-generation rare earth permanent magnet material NdFeB in 1983, it has maintained a rapid development trend. Especially after entering the 21st century, the output of global rare earth permanent magnet materials represented by sintered NdFeB magnets has entered a period of rapid growth.

China keeps pace with the world in the research and development of rare earth permanent magnet materials; in terms of manufacturing equipment, the degree of automation has greatly improved, and the gap with the international level is getting smaller and smaller; in terms of industrial scale, it has been in a leading position for many years. China has become the world's largest production base of rare earth permanent magnet materials. There are about 170 sintered NdFeB companies in China with an annual production capacity of more than 300,000 tons, mainly distributed in the six major regions of Shanghai and Zhejiang, Beijing and Tianjin, Shanxi, Baotou, Ganzhou and Shandong. The 2017 sintered NdFeB production statistics show that Zhejiang Province accounts for 40%, Beijing and Tianjin area accounts for 11%, Shanxi Province accounts for 8%, Inner Mongolia accounts for 9%, Jiangxi Province accounts for 10%, Shandong Province accounts for 9%, and other areas account for 13%.

Bonded NdFeB

Bonded NdFeB has the advantages of high precision, complex shape, good consistency, high raw material utilization rate, etc. It is widely used in high-tech fields such as information industry, office automation, consumer electronics, household appliances and automobiles. Most of the bonded NdFeB magnets are applied to various types of precision rare earth permanent magnet motors in the form of multi-pole magnetized rings, becoming an important supplement to sintered rare earth permanent magnet materials. Most of the global production capacity of bonded NdFeB magnets is concentrated in Southeast Asia, and there are more than 30 Chinese related companies. In 2017, China's bonded NdFeB output was 6,600 tons, an increase of about 10% over 2016, and accounted for 76% of the global share. During the ten years from 2007 to 2017, China's average annual growth rate was 8.2%, and the global average annual growth rate was 6.0%.

Sintered SmCo

Sintered samarium-cobalt permanent magnetic materials (2:17 type Sm-Co mainly) because of its unique advantages (such as high operating temperature, small temperature coefficient, strong corrosion resistance, etc.), occupy a solid position in military industry, aerospace and other aspects. In terms of production of samarium cobalt permanent magnet materials, in 2017, the annual output of sintered samarium cobalt magnets in China reached 1,700 tons, exceeding 80% of global production.

In summary, the global output of finished rare earth permanent magnet materials in 2017 was 131,000 tons, of which sintered NdFeB magnets accounted for 91.4%, bonded NdFeB magnets accounted for 6.7%, and hot-pressed/thermally deformed NdFeB magnets accounted for 0.6%, sintered samarium cobalt magnets accounted for only 1.3%.

The Future Of Rare-earth Permanent Magnet Material

Chinese rare earth permanent magnet materials have bright development prospects. The first is the strong support of the Chinese government, the second is the huge new market demand, and the third is my country's abundant rare earth resources.

On October 18, 2016, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released the

China's Development Plan of the Rare Earth Industry (2016-2020).

It is proposed to accelerate the development of high-performance rare earth magnetism, hydrogen storage, crystals, luminescence and other new materials, enhance the guarantee capabilities of key rare earth materials and components, and cultivate rare earth in aerospace, rail transportation, marine engineering, industrial robots, high-end CNC machine tools, medical equipment Applications in other fields will give play to the supporting role of rare earth materials in the future of social, digital, intelligent and network construction. Development of high comprehensive performance rare earth permanent magnets to meet the application needs of aerospace, rail transit, new energy vehicles, industrial robots, medical equipment, etc.; development of high stability hot pressing and bonded rare earth permanent magnets, development of high performance radial rare earth permanent magnet rings , to meet the application requirements of servo motors, automobile steering assist systems, gyroscopes, and micro motors.

In January 2017, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Finance jointly formulated and issued the

13th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China


Made in China 2025. "New Material Industry Development Guide".

The "Guide" lists high-performance rare earth permanent magnets as key strategic materials and uses them as key materials to support the development of high-end CNC machine tools and robots, advanced rail transit equipment, energy saving and environmental protection and other key applications. The rare earth magnetic materials industry will Once again ushered in a round of rapid development opportunities.

In March 2013, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and other five departments jointly released the accounting method for the average fuel consumption of Chinese passenger car companies. The purpose is to strictly control the quota of electric vehicles to achieve the purpose of solving long-term pollution problems. The specific plan is that in 2018, automakers in China must transfer 8% of their sales to electric and hybrid vehicles. It will be increased to 10% in 2019 and 12% in 2020.

On April 6, 2017, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the National Development and Reform Commission, and the Ministry of Science and Technology jointly issued the "Medium and Long-Term Development Plan for the Automotive Industry". The plan pointed out that by 2020, China will foster the formation of several new energy vehicle companies that enter the world's top ten, and intelligent connected vehicles will develop in sync with the international development; by 2025, the global influence and market share of new energy vehicle backbone enterprises will further increase. To improve, intelligent connected cars enter the world's advanced ranks.

Mercedes-Benz New Energy Vehicle

Western countries have also proposed development plans for new energy vehicles. In 1990, California introduced a zero-emission vehicle plan that required automakers to develop pure electric vehicles. California’s goal for the future is to enable new energy vehicle sales to reach 15% of overall new vehicle sales; Los Angeles also vigorously promotes public transportation In the field of electrification, it is expected that by 2035, the number of hybrid vehicles in Los Angeles will reach more than 25%. The ultimate goal is to make at least 50% of the cars in the city be electric vehicles.

In March 2018, Mercedes-Benz solemnly announced that it will fully electrify its entire automotive product line by 2022, and traditional fuel models will be completely discontinued and discontinued. By 2022, all Mercedes-Benz models will only provide hybrid or pure electric versions, and at least 50 new electric vehicle models will be added by then.

At the same time, another sub-brand Smart, which is also part of Daimler, will also complete the electrification transition by 2022. Mercedes-Benz has become another automaker preparing to transition to full electrification. The British government said in 2017 that it would ban the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles from 2040 and only allow ultra-efficient hybrid and electric vehicles to be on the road. The British Automobile Association (AA) predicts that by 2020, the number of plug-in vehicles and pure electric vehicles on the road in the UK will reach 500,000. The Norwegian government hopes that by adopting a "polluter pays" tax policy, it will encourage people to buy low- and zero-emission vehicles, phase out gasoline and diesel vehicles, and stop selling new gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2025.

Industrial Robot

Industrial robots are the most representative equipment for intelligent manufacturing. Japan, the United States, Germany and South Korea are powerful countries in manufacturing industrial robots

  • "Robot Kingdom" Japan ranks first in the world in terms of the production, export and use of industrial robots, and its equipment accounts for about 60% of the world's industrial robot equipment;
  • the United States is the birthplace of robots. As early as 1962, it developed the world's first industrial robot which is comprehensive, advanced and adaptable.
  • The total number of German industrial robots ranks third in the world, after Japan and the United States;
  • South Korea is a rising star of industrial robots. In the late 1980s, it began to vigorously develop industrial robot technology. With government funding and guidance, South Korea has been in recent years Has become one of the robot powers.

In April 2016, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the National Development and Reform Commission, and the Ministry of Finance jointly issued the

"Robot Industry Development Plan (2016-2020)"

to guide the rapid, healthy, and sustainable development of China's robot industry. The specific targets for 2020 are as follows: the scale of the industry continues to grow. The annual output of independent brand industrial robots reaches 100,000, the annual output of six-axis and above industrial robots reaches more than 50,000, and the annual sales revenue of service robots exceeds 30 billion yuan.

Looking into the future, with the emergence of a new round of global technological revolution and industrial transformation, some important scientific issues and disruptive core technologies have shown signs of revolutionary breakthroughs. Mobile Internet, big data, robots, and a new generation of environmentally friendly smart cars Waiting will flourish. In this huge historical torrent, as a key functional material to support industrial transformation, rare earth magnetic materials will continue to usher in new development opportunities and huge development space. Rich rare earth resources and broad application market, rare earth permanent magnet materials will usher in a brighter prospect.

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