For many years powder metallurgy has been the most cost-effective method of producing high volumes of parts for magnetic applications. The powdered metal process is agreeable with these projects because it uses material efficiently, it can be formed into complex shapes, and many other reasons. With the evolution of soft magnetic composite materials in powder metallurgy, engineers are seeing improvements in electric motor efficiency and other applications.
Soft magnetic composites are powder materials that offer energy savings, high permeability, and use of higher frequencies. Because of these unique qualities, powdered metal use should only grow in years to come.
Below are five applications in various industries where soft magnetic composites are a perfect fit and should see tremendous growth:
When’s Soft Magnetic Composite Ideal? Improving Electric Motor Efficiency & More
1. Unique Motor Shapes
Powder metal technology has the power to open a world of possibilities. The powder is pressed into the desired shape to produce components with 3D structures.
Powdered metal is also used to create shapes that would otherwise result in significant material waste during the stamping process. Reduced waste translates to reduced material costs.
Because of powdered metal’s unique properties such as its net shaping capabilities, it offers new opportunities for electric motors that are:
- Smaller (more on that in a minute)
- More cost-efficient
With the 3D shape-making capability of soft magnetic materials, you’re less limited in your designs.
2. High-Frequency Operating Conditions
As the world is focused on making devices faster and lighter, electric motors have not been left behind.
Research has shown that using soft magnetic composites can improve the induction of core materials at both low and high frequencies. Powder metallurgy can now be used for a variety of motors, such as the variable speed motor and the brushless DC motor.
3. When You Want to Minimize Heat in the Motor Core
Soft magnetic composite is great for making parts that minimize the amount of heat generated in the motor core.
Heat is basically a byproduct of waste -- energy that falls by the wayside. By reducing the amount of heat produced, you obviously reduce your product’s chances of overheating. But your motor can also achieve a higher efficiency level.
Yes, many motors have fans to help keep them cool. But those fans consume energy that would have been saved if the motor was made from soft magnetic composite parts.
4. Compact Designs
The PM process can produce parts that meet each and every need, no matter the shape. With soft magnetic materials, one can design parts that conserve the space available.
For example, electric car motors are placed on the front or rear axle, which can limit the amount of room available. It’s now possible to redesign the motor to use available space more efficiently. Then you can either use the extra space to include other components or just make the whole product smaller!
Also, don’t forget the side benefit of a smaller motor -- it’s also lighter..
5. Combinations With Laminations
Soft magnetic composite offers a lot of qualities a traditional lamination can’t match. That said, there are still a few superior traits in laminations.
So, why not gain the best of both worlds? (Bear with us here.)
It’s actually possible to combine both laminations and magnetic composites into a unique part design leveraging the ideal qualities of each.
Suppose you have a standard rotor design. By combining processes, you can make a unique rotor where you can maximize shape to get more torque. You could also wind that device with wire more easily, then attach a unique soft magnetic composite shape.
You’ll retain the strength of laminations to support the structure but gain the great magnetic qualities of powder metals.
Need to Know More?
Powder metallurgy is the preferred material in many industries because of its:
- Application versatility
- Complex and unique shapes
- Material flexibility
- Part-to-part uniformity
- Net shape parts