DOWNSIZING

"Downsizing" plays an increasingly important role in the development of electric motors.

Smaller, compact units with consistently high performance are the future of e-mobility because smaller sizes automatically mean sustainable use of materials: significantly fewer rare earths and other raw materials are required and thus resources are saved.


GOALS & REQUIREMENTS

The goals that developers are pursuing in the downsizing of electrical units can be summarized in six key points:


1. sustainable production: low material use and conservation of resources.

2. low costs: low costs for manufacturers and for the end customer.

3. more efficiency: constant or improved performance with lower consumption.

4. more compact shape: Less installation space and weight.

5. mechanical requirements: What can be implemented with which materials and processes?

6. electronic & software requirements: Which software and electronic solutions are available?

The adjacent graphic shows, based on the current status quo, where our goals lie - and how far we have already progressed with our CONNACTIVE eDrive.

NEW WAYS, NEW MATERIAL

In order to achieve this goal, developers must take new directions. Because downsizing is not only a question of design, it is above all the common material that repeatedly sets limits for developers. Whether freedom of design in the construction of the overall system or reduced material use for the stator, rotor, winding and magnets: SMC is the solution for the downsizing of high-frequency electric motors, because it can also show its advantages here.

Soft Magnetic Composites (SMC) not only enable completely new designs thanks to the special production process and save a lot of material by eliminating waste, they also have impressive physical properties:

The energy losses at high frequencies are significantly lower than with conventional materials, which ensures high efficiency and linear propulsion. This allows maximum power to be called up despite smaller motor sizes.

SMC ON THE TEST BENCH

Are the properties of soft magnetic composites really sufficient to make high-frequency electric motors even more efficient and sustainable in the future?

How does SMC behave in direct comparison to the currently most commonly used laminated steel, which is currently the most commonly used in the construction of electric motors?

These and other questions were asked by British scientists at the University of Newcastle, who published a study on the subject last year. The researchers compared classic electrical steel and soft magnetic composites and investigated which material has the better properties in which application.

CONVINCING RESULT

After various tests and analyses, the scientists found out:

SMC is the ideal material for electric motors with frequencies from 1000 Hz. The material is suitable for the production of stators, but also for other components and parts of e-motors and hybrid solutions. This makes it possible to take another important step on the road to future mobility.

PRODUCTION OF ELECTRICAL STEEL

Electrical steel is thin insulated sheets of a ferromagnetic material based on iron, which have excellent magnetic performance.

They are usually alloyed with silicon to further improve their physical and electromagnetic properties. As a result, the material becomes brittle and much more difficult to process.

In addition, the alloying process is very complex, as impurities must be avoided, which drives up production costs.

PRODUCTION OF SMC

Soft Magnetic Composites consist of a powdery, ferromagnetic material that is isotropic by nature: magnetic, mechanical and thermal.

The tiny iron powder particles are isolated from each other by a wafer-thin inorganic coating and have a much higher specific resistance than iron, which minimizes eddy current losses.

The powder metallurgical manufacturing process is comparatively simple and - and this is particularly important - can be carried out cost-effectively.

MORE POWER, LOWER COSTS

In a direct comparison, SMC performed significantly better than conventional electrical steel at frequencies from 1000Hz when used as stator material. While the plates offer significant advantages in the low-frequency range, SMC solutions show their advantages at the latest when eddy currents increase significantly due to the higher switching frequencies.

SMC maintains its low eddy current losses over the entire frequency spectrum, thus compensating for the higher magnetic permeability of electrical steel.

Powerful, efficient, cost-effective: 
SMC is a material of the future not only in the e-mobility sector.

Detailed information on the study can be found in our "Whitepaper".

Sources Study

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Dagmar Münch Portrait

CTO, Alvier Mechatronics

Dagmar Münch

“A new generation of electric motors requires new ideas, new production methods and materials. The use of SMC materials opens up new possibilities for design and performance – and is an important and appropriate step towards the motor technology of tomorrow.”