Analysis Of NdFeB Market And Its Downstream Applications

- Mar 23, 2019-

Ndfeb permanent magnet is the third generation of rare earth permanent magnet material. Since its birth in 1983, ndfeb is known as the "King of Magnet" for its excellent magnetic properties, which are widely used in modern industry and electronic technology. After 30 years of development, China ndfeb magnet industry has formed a complete industrial systems.

In 2000, China surpassed Japan to become the world's largest producer of ndfeb magnets. From 2000 to 2015, the annual compound growth rate of ndfeb production in China reached about 25%. In the past four years, China's ndfeb production has accounted for more than 90% of the world's total production.

 

Chapter 1 Ndfeb industry overview

 

1.1 Industry overview

Ndfeb is a new type of permanent magnet material, which can achieve electrical signal conversion, electrical energy/mechanical energy transmission and other important functions, it is widely used in energy, transportation, machinery, medical, computer and home appliances fields.

 

Chart 1: Performance comparison of permanent magnetic materials


Ferrite

Sm-Co

NdFeB

Br T

≥0.39

1.05

1.17

Hcb
  KAM-1

≥240

676

844

Hcj KAM-1

≥356

≥1194

≥1592

BH Max
  kJm-3

≥3.4

26-30

31-33

α(Br)%℃-1

-0.18

-0.03

-0.126

μr

1.1

1.03

1.05

Curie point
 
℃-1

460

850

340-400

 

Permanent magnetic material refers to the material with wide hysteresis loop, high coercivity and high remanence, which can maintain constant magnetism once magnetized.


The commonly used permanent magnet materials include metal magnets, ferrite magnets, rare earth permanent magnets and others. Rare earth permanent magnet is the latest and strongest permanent magnet material, so far three generations of products have been widely used.

The first generation is a compound composed of rare earth atoms and cobalt atoms according to 1:5, referred to as RCo5, represented by SmCo5. The second generation of rare earth permanent magnetic alloy (R2Co17) is composed of rare earth atoms and cobalt atoms in a ratio of 2:17. The third generation of rare earth - iron - boron permanent magnetic materials, mainly containing rare earth and iron group elements intermetallic compounds. It is a kind of cobalt free high performance utility model permanent magnet material, NdFeB magnet as the main representative, has become a new generation of high performance permanent magnet new material mainstream.

In 2000, the output value of rare earth permanent magnet exceeded ferrite for the first time, and in 2010, the output value of ndfeb magnet also exceeded ferrite magnet comprehensively, becoming a veritable "leading role" in the permanent magnet industry.

 

1.2 Industry classification

 

According to the manufacturing process, ndfeb is divided into bonded, sintered and hot pressed three different products.

 

a. Bonded NdFeB

Bonded ndfeb has irreplaceable applications. Bonded ndfeb production method is: Mix ndfeb magnetic powder and macromolecule materials and various additives evenly, then produce by mold pressing or injection molding process. The magnetic properties of Bonded ndfeb is not as high as sintered ndfeb, but its production process is simple, low cost, small size, high precision, magnetic field uniform stability. Bonded ndfeb is irreplaceable in information technology, office automation, consumer electronics and other fields.

 

Chart 2: Proportion of bonded ndfeb applications

image


b. Sintered NdFeB

Sintered ndfeb is the most widely used rare earth permanent magnet material with the highest yield. It is made by powder metallurgy technology to make pre-fired material into micro powder, mold pressing into blank, and sintering. Its production process includes formula design, sling belt, hydrogen explosion, powder making, fine mixing, molding, sintering, grinding, finishing, surface treatment, packaging and other links. Sintered ndfeb has high magnetic energy, high Hcb and high working temperature. However, due to its big tolerance and small shape freedom, it is mainly used in large and medium-sized motors, wind turbines and high-fidelity loudspeakers.

 

Chart 3: Proportion of sintered ndfeb applications

image

c. Hot Pressed NdFeB

 

Hot pressed ndfeb has excellent performance but limited application. Hot pressed ndfeb is made by hot extrusion process with high magnetic properties. Compared to sintered ndfeb, hot-pressed ndfeb has advantages in control accuracy, yield, high temperature resistance, corrosion resistance and cost. At present the main producers of hot pressed NdFeB include GM, DAIDO and DELTA . In China only Galaxy magnetics has the capacity to make it. The production of hot-pressed ndfeb is still small, far behind the bonded and sintered ndfeb magnets.

 

 

Chart 4: Performance comparison of 3 different NdFeB


Bonded NdFeB

Sintered NdFeB

Hot Pressed NdFeB

(BH)Max
  MGOe

6-12

35-52

28-43

Hcj
  kOe

7-18

12-30

10-25

Br
  kGs

6-8

11-15

12-14

Working Temperature

150

250

200

Advantage

Easy molding, high precision, processing   and low energy consumption, No heavy rare earths

Very high energy

High energy and low processing loss can be   achieved without the use of medium and heavy rare earths

Shortage

Low magnetic property, patent monopoly, low   operating temperature

Contain heavy rare earth, processing loss   is high

high price

 




 

Chapter 2 Industry chain analysis

 

The upstream of ndfeb industry is mainly rare earth smelting industry, including heavy rare earth smelting industry, light rare earth smelting industry, steel manufacturing industry and energy and power industry. Midstream is the producer of ndfeb. The downstream includes electronic products, variable frequency air conditioning, energy-saving elevators, wind power generation, traditional cars, new energy vehicles, intelligent robots and other fields. Electronic products include VCM, mobile phones, disk drives and so on.

 

2.1 Supply situation analysis of ndfeb industry

The third generation of rare earth permanent magnetic materials has been developing rapidly since its birth. Especially after entering the 21st century, the production of rare earth permanent magnets represented by ndfeb has entered a period of rapid growth. In recent years, the rare earth permanent magnets industry in other countries has slowed down, but due to the extraordinary development of China's rare earth magnets industry, the global ndfeb magnets has maintained the momentum of rapid growth.

After 30 years of development, China ndfeb magnet industry has formed a complete industrial system. In 2000, China surpassed Japan to become the world's largest producer of ndfeb magnets. From 2000 to 2015, the annual compound growth rate of ndfeb production in China reached about 25%. China has produced more than 90% of the world's ndfeb production in the past four years.

 

Chart 5: China NdFeB Output from 2012 to 2015

imageimage



According to statistics data, China's raw ndfeb production capacity exceeds 600,000 tons per year. In 2014 and 2015, China produced only 112,000 and 127,000 tons of ndfeb. Low-end ndfeb industry utilization rate is less than 30%. As low-end ndfeb industry barriers are low, product differentiation is small, resulting in poor bargaining power of manufacturers, the overall profitability of the industry is low. Many small and medium-sized manufacturers were very struggling of sale their low-end ndfeb magnets.

In 2015, the global production of high-performance ndfeb was 43,000 tons, of which China's production of high-performance ndfeb accounted for about 58.7%, significantly lower than the proportion of all ndfeb materials (88%). However, since 2010, China's high performance ndfeb material proportion is rising.

 

Chart 6: China high performance NdFeB Out put from 2012 to 2015

image


2.2 Analysis of Downstream Application of NdFeB Magnets

 

2.3.1 VCM

 

What is VCM

VCM - Voice coil motor, VCM is a special type of direct drive motor, which can directly convert electrical energy into linear motion mechanical energy. The principle is to put a cylindrical winding in the uniform air gap magnetic field, the winding generates electromagnetic force to drive the load to make linear reciprocating motion, change the strength and polarity of the current, can change the magnitude and direction of the electromagnetic force.

image

VCM has the advantages of high response, high speed, high acceleration, simple structure, small size, good force characteristics and convenient control, etc. VCM is an important core component of HDD as it mostly provides movement as the disk head in HDD.

It is expected that in the next few years, mechanical disk shipments overall show a trend of continuous decline. We forecast HDD shipments and demand for high performance ndfeb.

The key assumptions are:

1. Assume that hard disk drive shipments in 2016-2018 are -2% CAGR;

2. assume each hard disk drive USES 10 grams of high performance ndfeb. In 2016/17/18, theNdFeB demand for automobile micro motor was 1,654/1,621/1,589 tons, with an annual compound growth rate of -2%.

 

Chart 6: Global HDD Output and demand for high performance ndfeb

image

 

VCM is a high-end ndfeb application field, the technical threshold is monopoly by developed countries for a long time. Japan's biggest user of VCM, which accounts for about 50% of total VCM production.

 

2.3.2 Mechanical hard disk VS solid state disk

The market for mechanical hard disk is being squeezed. In 2015, 469 million mechanical hard disks were shipped worldwide, down 17% year-on-year. Shipments of mechanical hard disk have declined steadily in recent years, mainly because solid-state disk have been eating into the market share of mechanical hard disk in recent years.

The advantages of SSD are fast access speed, shockproof, no noise and so on, and the capacity is increasing, the cost is decreasing, which poses a serious threat to the mechanical hard disk market. The market for high-performance ndfeb magnet is shrinking because there are no moving parts inside the SSD, no mechanical motors or fans, and therefore no NdFeB magnets.

However, due to its security and low cost advantages, mechanical hard disks will be difficult to be completely replaced by solid-state drives for a long time in the future. At present, the performance of SSD is not completely beyond that of mechanical hard disk, and there are still some disadvantages such as small storage capacity, high cost and poor data security. And in some specific areas, such as large computers, video monitoring, military industry, large capacity storage or data security, mechanical hard disk still has absolute advantage.

Expected in the next few years, mechanical disk output overall show a trend of continuous decline.

 

2.3.3 Smart Phone

High-performance ndfeb is an indispensable high-end accessory in smart phones. The electro-acoustic part of a smart phone (micro microphone, micro speaker/receiver, bluetooth headset, hi-fi stereo headset), vibration motor, camera focus and even future sensor applications, wireless charging and other functions require the application of ndfeb magnetic characteristics. The wave of smart phones replacing functions is coming to an end. Driven by the rapid popularization of smart phones, the continuous replacement tide has maintained a high growth rate of global mobile phone output in recent years. In 2013, smartphone shipments exceeded those of feature phones for the first time.

According to IDC, 334.9 million smartphones were shipped worldwide in the first quarter of 2016, almost flat from 334.3 million in the first quarter of 2015. However, in the future, the upgrading speed of mobile phones will be accelerated, so the overall mobile phone sales are expected to remain stable.

Global smartphone shipments are expected to remain stable over the next few years.

The electronic product is the high performance ndfeb magnets traditional application domain. In recent years due to the mechanical hard disk market space is threatened and the wave of intelligent mobile phones gradually over, which leads to the field of high-performance ndfeb demand gradually shrink.

 

2.3.4 Frequency conversion air conditioning

After several years of rapid growth, the global air conditioning market will enter a period of steady growth in the future. JARN estimates the global air conditioning market fell 3.6 percent in 2015 from the previous year. It was the second decline since 2012. We predict that the global scale of cold air conditioning production will hit a record high in 2018. In 2015, the global production of variable frequency air conditioners totaled 43.43 million and the sales totaled 42.57 million, with a year-on-year growth of 34.2%.

There is a huge space the Ndfeb magnet replace of ferrite magnet. Permanent magnet material is mainly used in variable frequency compressor of DC variable frequency air conditioner. Variable frequency air conditioning compressor used Ferrite magnet and ndfeb magnet. Ferrite has the advantage of price and cost, but it has obvious disadvantage compared with ndfeb in performance. First, ferrite poor magnetic properties; Second, the large amount of ferrite used on a single air conditioner leads to the huge volume. Moreover, the price of rare earth has been depressed for recent years, which leads to the unobvious cost advantage of ferrite and drives many air conditioner manufacturers to restart the use of ndfeb. Due to the ndfeb in the frequency conversion air conditioning permeability is low, the future permeability increase space is huge.

 

2.3.5 Energy saving elevator

Elevator energy saving technology is a green elevator technology. Elevator energy saving technology is mainly reflected in two aspects: one is the elevator drag system using frequency conversion technology, the other is the drive system for permanent magnet synchronous gearless traction technology. Compared with common asynchronous motors, elevator frequency conversion technology can save 25% of electric energy, and permanent magnet synchronous traction machine can save about 30% of electric energy compared with traditional asynchronous traction machine. The permanent magnet synchronous tractor requires high-performance ndfeb.

China's annual elevator production has grown by about 15% since 2012. China's elevator production increased from 10,300 in 1990 to 700,000 in 2014, with an annual compound growth rate of 18.7%. In the long run, the elevator industry has maintained a strong growth momentum. China accounts for about 60% of the world's elevator production.

 

2.3.6 Wind power

Wind power generation is a kind of power generation method that converts wind energy into electric energy by wind turbine. As a clean and low-carbon renewable energy, wind power has been developed positively in more than 100 countries in the world. It is expected that wind power will continue to develop rapidly in the next 10 years. By the end of 2015, the world's installed wind power capacity reached 432,419 megawatts, up 16.7 percent year-on-year. In 2015, the world installed wind power capacity was about 63,467 mw, an increase of about 22.6% year on year.

GWEC forecasts that the growth rate of cumulative wind power capacity will remain at 11-15% over the next five years. By 2020, global installed wind power capacity will reach around 700 gigawatts. China will continue to be the driving force for global wind capacity. In 2015, China's newly installed wind power capacity reached 30753MW, up 32.6% year on year. A total of 92,981 wind power units were installed, with a total installed capacity of 145,362mw, up 26.8% year-on-year.

Direct drive permanent magnet motor is the future development direction of wind power technology.

In the field of wind power, high-performance ndfeb is mainly used in wind turbines. At the present stage the commonly used wind turbine mainly has the asynchronous generator and the synchronous generator two kinds of technical routes. The asynchronous generator is divided into squirrel cage and doubly fed, synchronous generator is divided into excitation direct drive and permanent magnet direct drive two forms. At present, doubly-fed generator is the mainstream of wind power motor, accounting for about 80% of the market. Doubly-fed wind turbine is characterized by the use of multi-stage gearbox drive brushed-doubly-fed asynchronous generator, its generator speed is high, small torque, light weight, small volume, converter capacity is small, but the gearbox operation and maintenance costs are high and there are mechanical operation losses. Permanent magnet direct drive is a wind power technology developed in recent years. Permanent magnet direct drive has no gearbox, which avoids some mechanical failure points and can solve the magnetic stability problem of permanent magnet under the condition of long-term impact vibration and wide range of temperature change. Direct drive permanent magnet fan is the future development direction of wind power technology and its market penetration will continue to improve.

The proportion of global wind field permanent magnetic direct drive is steadily increasing. In recent years, the proportion of permanent magnet direct drive in the new wind power installation in the world keeps rising, which is mainly due to the obvious increase in the proportion of permanent magnet direct drive in the new wind power installation in China. Three types of wind energy resources with low wind speed account for about 50% of the total wind energy resources in China, while the permanent magnet direct drive fan is more suitable for use in low wind speed areas. The proportion of permanent magnet direct draught fans in China's new installed capacity increased rapidly, reaching about 40% in 2015. In the future, driven by the rapid development of wind power in China, the proportion of permanent magnet direct draught fans in the global wind field will steadily increase.

 

2.3.7 Automobile Industry

The application of high-performance ndfeb in traditional automobile mainly focuses on EPS and micro motor.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, great changes have taken place in the automobile industry. Automobile parts producers begin to pursue comfort and safety in product design. It is an important development direction to increase the comfort and safety of automobile by means of electronics.

The global auto industry sold 90.68 million vehicles in 2015, up 3.63 percent year-on-year. While car sales continued to rise after the financial crisis, growth has been slowing since 2012.

 

EPS

 

As an important part of the vehicle, the steering system is one of the key systems that affect the stability, comfort and safety of the vehicle. In the design of steering system, most of the commercial vehicles and 50% of the passenger cars adopt power steering system to ease the contradiction between steering lightness and steering sensitivity. Since the 1950s, the power steering system has gone through three development stages: conventional hydraulic power steering system (HPS), electro-hydraulic power steering system (EHPS), and electric power steering system (EPS), and has continued to develop toward the trend of electronic and intelligent development. Due to its advanced technology and superior performance, EPS will replace other power steering technology and become the mainstream of power steering technology in the future.

EPS requires high performance permanent magnet motor. Therefore, the permanent magnetic materials in EPS are mainly high-performance ndfeb magnets, mainly sintered ndfeb. In the EPS system, the hot - pressed ndfeb is expected to replace the sintered ndfeb. This is because of the high energy of hot pressed ndfeb, the hot pressed NdFeB can only be made into a ring and high yield. Currently, the cost of hot-pressed ndfeb is 20% higher than that of sintered ndfeb. In the future, with the further maturity of technology, the cost will be further reduced, and it is expected to have a good cost performance.

Since 2010, the EPS penetration rate has gradually increased

 

The penetration rate of EPS devices in the eu rose from 70% in 2010 to 81% in 2015, according to Strategic Analytics. China started late, rising from less than 10 per cent in 2010 to about 38 per cent today. With the continuous rapid growth of the automobile market, as well as the constant improvement of EPS penetration rate, there is a broad space in the permanent magnet market for EPS. From 2015, China will surpass Europe, America and Japan to become the largest EPS market in the world.

 

Micromotor – ndfeb Magnets replaces ferrite Magnets

 

Micromotors are widely used in automobiles. In the car in addition to the starter engine to start the engine, the rest of the motor distributed in various parts of the car are micro motors. In the past, automobile micromotor was only used as the power source of wiper, windshield scrubber, electric oil pump, automatic antenna and other parts. Micro - motor has become an indispensable part of modern cars. Sunroof motor, adjust seat, seat belt motor, electric motor, starting motor of antenna, baffle cleaning machine, cooling fan motor, dome light, air conditioner motor, steering linkage with fog lamps, electric water pump, electric pump, electronic air conditioning unit, speakers, sensors (position, velocity, pressure, etc.) and other auto parts, all need to micromotor. According to the estimation of the automobile industry, each luxury car should be equipped with about 100 micro motors, A grdde cars should be equipped with at least 60 micro motors, and economy cars should be equipped with at least 20 micro motors.

At present, ferrite magnet is the main magnetic material in the field of automobile micro motor. Bonded ndfeb micro motor is 8-50% more efficient than ferrite micro motor, with power consumption reduced by more than 10% and weight reduced by more than 50%. "Efficient miniaturization and lightweight" has become an inevitable option for auto companies to cope with the trend of energy saving and emission reduction. Therefore, there is a huge space for the replacement of ndfeb magnet with ferrite magnet in the field of micro motor in the future.

image