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Benefits of Soft Magnetic Composites & Axial Flux Motors.

Posted by Eric Wolfe - July 29, 2022

We previously highlighted all of the benefits of axial flux motors high power density, shorter magnetic path, more torque, and better cooling – so why aren’t more people taking advantage of the topology?

Your current design might be doing the job, but what if we told you there was a way to get more out of your money? Here, we’ll illustrate additional assets of axial flux motors and how they can improve your bottom line. 

Benefits of the Axial Flux Motor

Axial flux motors have a variety of benefits, including:

  1. Less labor intensive
  2. Lower cost magnets
  3. Lower capital investment
  4. Green technology

Less Labor Intensive

As opposed to using an externally formed slot-inserted winding, using the wound bobbin design of the axial flux motor is much less labor intensive and easier to produce with SMCs (see below about the benefits of SMCs).

Lower Cost Magnets

The axial flux motor provides you with the potential to use lower-cost magnets, as opposed to other types of motors. As we’ll discuss further below, the addition of soft magnetic composites (SMCs) allows for a more compact design with smaller magnets, further saving you money.

Lower Capital Investment

As a motor manufacturer, all you need for the stator is to invest in a piece to wind the bobbins. This is a relatively minor capital investment, as opposed to radial flux designs. Better yet – the design allows for lesser potential for shorting of the windings.

Green Technology

Axial flux motors are also more environmentally friendly than other types of motors. With the axial flux design, you can enjoy:

  • Higher performance with less energy consumption
  • Less waste and better recyclability of unused material
  • Less copper usage (no end-turns)

 

Cost Drawbacks of the Traditional Axial Flux Motor Using Laminations

As we’ve discussed before, laminations can be used in your axial flux motor design – but it comes with a variety of inherent weaknesses, including:

  • The axial flux machine stator is difficult to manufacture and automate, for the following reasons:
    • A machined concept utilizing welding involves significant waste.
    • A pure lamination approach requires the assembly of varying shape laminations to meet the stator pole and yoke design.
  • Lack of supplies/supply chain issues lead to longer lead times, making the process more expensive. 
  • You end up with significant scrap loss because you’re throwing away 40% or more of the product through machining.
  • Due to the varying thickness of lamination sheet steel, the effective stacking factor of the assembly will be 90-95%, thus lowering the saturation induction of the assembly.

Good News – SMCs Can Alleviate These Drawbacks

Through the use of SMCs, you can enjoy all the inherent performance advantages of an axial flux motor design, without the drawbacks of laminations. These include:

  • You can achieve a high tooth-to-tooth precision from pole to pole – much more consistent than machining.
  • SMCs reduce the magnostrictive effect inherent in all magnetic materials. The magnostrictive effect is the inherent size change of magnetic materials with the application of an applied field. This growing and shrinking of laminations results in noise.
  • SMC materials are widely available, so you won’t experience the same supply chain issues as with laminations.

Ready to Maximize Your Electric Motor Performance with SMCs and Axial Flux Motors?

As illustrated above, SMCs and axial flux motors are the perfect synergy of cost savings, efficiency, and performance. If you find this fusion intruguing and you really want to maximize your advantages, check out the yokeless axial flux design.

Topics: Powdered Metallurgy, Soft Magnetic Composite


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