April 04, 2014 -- Permanent magnets are a vital part of modern life. According to a recently published report from iRAP, Inc., "Permanent Magnets: Types, Applications, New Developments, Industry Structure and Global Markets," the global market for permanent magnets has reached US$11.3 billion in 2013, and is expected to grow to US$ 15 billion by 2018 with a CAGR of 5.7%
Permanent magnets are found in or used to produce almost every modern convenience today, from speakers in mobile phones to the electric motors in hybrid cars; air conditioners and washing machines. Permanent magnets are used increasingly in technological applications, includingtraveling wave tubes, Hall Effect sensors, high temperature-resistant permanent magnets , thin-film coating equipment and flywheel storage systems.
In all of these applications, it is important for the designed permanent magnet to be of high strength, resistive to corrosion, and resistive to demagnetization due to excessive heat. Manufacturers have gained experience in designing and producing permanent magnets to meet these needs for industries with permanent magnet and magnetic assembly applications.
With the heavy reliance on Neodimium magnets in manufacturing, rare earth (RE) materials neodymium and dysprosium are playing a very important role because of the scarcity of these materials and the dominance of a single country (China) in providing them. The permanent magnet industry will start to see the end of serious RE shortages as new supplies begin to hit the market during 2014 and beyond, with new designs and new materials.
Applications related to permanent magnet direct current motors - brushless direct current (BLDC) and brush-type (PMDC) - and power generation will be the largest usage segment of neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) permanent magnets, followed by voice coil motors (VCMs) in disk drives, because of the need for reduced size and higher performance. The third major usage segment is hybrid and electric automotive drives. Several rare earth (RE) elements are essential ingredients in the highest performance magnets available in the world today; these magnets have enabled miniaturization and a significant increase in power density in hundreds of applications.
The market experienced a boom in 2011, due to increased demand for RE permanent magnets. But as demand increased, supply chain interruptions resulted in a scarcity of RE permanent magnets. This affected the market adversely, and it plunged in 2012. As the supply of REs became stable, the market became stable, and it is expected to further stabilize in the future. This stabilization is predicted because of a reduction in the amount of dysprosium content in Neo magnets as well as a marked improvement in overall magnetic properties of ferrite magnets. Globally, many other countries have also started mining RE oxides in order to reduce dependence on China. These initiatives and efforts of Western governments are expected to bear fruit in the next five to ten years.
According to the iRAP study, metallic magnets (combining neodymium-iron-boron, alnico, and samarium-cobalt magnets) dominate the market in 2013, followed by ceramic magnets (ferrites) magnets. A distant third is the bonded magnets.
In terms of regional demand, the market is large in the Asia-Pacific region, and it is growing at a fast pace due to rising demand from end-user industries, especially in countries such as China and Japan. The market is growing slowly in Europe, but will continue to grow at a significant rate in the North America. The market is still in its infancy in Africa and Latin America, but these regions are experiencing high growth because of increased infrastructure spending and a low base effect. This market will experience an escalation in the demand of permanent magnets in the years to come.
The five-year period of 2013 through 2018 will see more of the industry centered in China. The U.S. is a net importer of permanent magnets, for as much as 60% of its consumption. However, the U.S. still dominates in high performance magnets used in military and other strategic applications.
Published Date: April 2014, Price (Hard Copy): $3,750