Sunday, March 18, 2012

Magnetics 2012

Last week Moyer of MagnaTech P/M Labs attended a two day conference to obtain an update on activity in the magnetic field. The conference was oriented toward new materials, processes, and applications that will require magnetic assemblies. Of these, perhaps offshore windmills, requiring larger motors with minimum maintenance are perhaps the newest
as a challenge for today's applications. There was great concern about the availability and the cost of iron-neodymium-boron magnets. In 1990 General Motors sold their technology to the Chinese. I am told that all iron-neodymium-boron magnets are now manufactured in China. These kinds of magnets have the highest energy product and are therefore a requirement for the introduction of the electric car to the market, as well as new windmill drive requirements. In addition to the Chinese monopoly of the market, little research has been conducted in the United States to innovate new higher energy product alloys or improve additional alloys such as ferrites and Alnicos to satisfy some of the requirements of the developing market. Recently the Air Force has submitted a BAA and the Department of Energy is about to request Phase I SBIRs designed to satisfy these emerging markets. MagnaTech will be submitting a white paper to adress the requirements required of the Air Force BAA, and expects to write a proposal requesting a Phase I award for an idea of an alloy that we believe has potential for higher energy product material. If you are interested in new magnetic materials and their design, contact MagnaTech to explore technology, which they have patented, that could satisfy some of the advanced material requirements.MagnaTech has test equipment to support materials research and also provides a short course to those wishing to come up to speed in this newly developing industry.