MULTIPLE SUSTAINABILITY

In the mobility sector, if you want to be optimally positioned for the future you need to develop sustainable solutions as quickly as possible. This applies not only to the manufacture of drive systems and their components, but also to their use on roads, rail, water or in the air.

By using Soft Magnetic Composites (SMC) we are already meeting this challenge, thus laying today’s foundations for the mobility of tomorrow.


Material supply: from awareness to action!

The rapid growth of the hybrid and electric vehicle segment could potentially cause demand for electrical steel to outpace supply from 2025, according to a new report by a team of analysts from the Automotive Supply Chain and Technology team at IHS Markit.

Materials such as electrical steel are highly needed in the transformation towards e-mobility. This results in a global short supply. The search for alternative materials and opportunities for material diversification in eDrive development is an ongoing and sustainable task: to secure business capacities and supply chains, and not least to conserve resources.

 

The details:

  • Already today: 35-45 low-power motors on average per car
  • Global gross demand for xEV-grade NOES for traction motors in hybrids and electric vehicles: 320k tons (2020), ~2.5mn tons (2027), >4mn tons (2033).

  • Of the more than 11 million tons of NOES produced in 2020, only 456,000 tons of that was xEV-grade NOES.

There remains a risk of electrical steel supply not meeting demand between 2023 and 2025.

SMC – the alternative to electrical steel

  • A structural shortage of 61,000 tons is likely to occur in 2026
  • This shortage could rise dramatically to 357,000 tons in 2027
  • Culminating to a 927,000 tons shortage by 2030.

SMC can be an alternative to electrical steel in case of future supply shortages!

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.

SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION

The advantages of this material come into their own right from the start, during the production stage of the components for the CONNACTIVE eDrive. In conventional systems the stator, for example, is usually manufactured from electric steel sheets which have to be punched, stacked and then, in most cases, bonded together at high temperatures.

In the SMC version, the metal powder is pressed into a corresponding die and then heated briefly. The insulation layer of the individual particles is inorganic and is therefore completely preserved.

MINIMAL WASTE, LOWER COSTS

By pressing the complete component in one piece, no waste occurs during stator production. The advantage: as less material is used, valuable resources are saved. At the same time there are no “scraps” that need to be re-melted, something which would require additional heat and thus energy input.

SUSTAINABLE PROPULSION

A further advantage of this material: each individual metal particle in the SMC powder is pre-treated with a special surface coating (1) providing particularly high electrical resistance. This means that the necessary electrical insulation layer is applied three-dimensionally and thinner than the layers applied by conventional methods. Even without further production stages the eddy current losses during high-frequency operation are minimal.

A NEW SOLUTION FOR NEW MARKETS

Together with the lower weight and space-saving design of the overall system, this makes the CONNACTIVE eDrive the perfect drive for compact e-solutions: in urban transport, for example. Especially in the Asian market, urban e-mobility is already playing an important role, but in Europe, too, the demand is steadily growing – and will grow increasingly rapidly over the coming years.

And of course, today’s standard drive systems are not the only area of application for SMC: it also offers enormous opportunities for efficiency and performance in other types such as hub motors for mobility scooters, for example.

This makes SMC the material of the future.

SUSTAINABLE FURTHER USAGE

Admittedly, even the production of components from Soft Magnetic Composites doesn’t come without thermal reactions. But here, too, our partners Höganäs have thought ahead and found a sustainable use for the residual heat generated. Instead of releasing it unused via the cooling towers, they simply feed it into the Swedish district heating grid.

ENERGY FOR THE REGION

In this way, over one thousand households in the southern Swedish province of Skåne are supplied with energy and warm water, and in addition resources are saved and carbon emissions reduced.

Mustafa Dinc Portrait

VP Automotive Business Development, Vishay

Mustafa Dinc

„In future electric motors will be the key driving force behind a new, innovative automotive market. Not only through the new and further development of electric drive units or hybrid systems, but also for the peripherals.“

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