Welcome to Magnetics Business & Technology Online eNewsletter


may 2011




Research & Development



Good Eggs: NIST Nanomagnets Offer Food for Thought about Computer Memories
nistMagnetics researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) colored lots of eggs recently. Bunnies and children might find the eggs a bit small—in fact, too small to see without a microscope. But these "eggcentric" nanomagnets have another practical use, suggesting strategies for making future low-power computer memories.


For a study described in a new paper,* NIST researchers used electron-beam lithography to make thousands of nickel-iron magnets, each about 200 nanometers (billionths of a meter) in diameter. Each magnet is ordinarily shaped like an ellipse, a slightly flattened circle. Researchers also made some magnets in three different egglike shapes with an increasingly pointy end. It's all part of NIST research on nanoscale magnetic materials, devices and measurement methods to support development of future magnetic data storage systems.


It turns out that even small distortions in magnet shape can lead to significant changes in magnetic properties. Researchers discovered this by probing the magnets with a laser and analyzing what happens to the "spins" of the electrons, a quantum property that's responsible for magnetic orientation. Changes in the spin orientation can propagate through the magnet like waves at different frequencies. The more egg-like the magnet, the more complex the wave patterns and their related frequencies. (Something similar happens when you toss a pebble in an asymmetrically shaped pond.) The shifts are most pronounced at the ends of the magnets.


To confirm localized magnetic effects and "color" the eggs, scientists made simulations of various magnets using NIST's object-oriented micromagnetic framework.


The egg effects explain erratic behavior observed in large arrays of nanomagnets, which may be imperfectly shaped by the lithography process. Such distortions can affect switching in magnetic devices. The egg study results may be useful in developing random-access memories (RAM) based on interactions between electron spins and magnetized surfaces. Spin-RAM is one approach to making future memories that could provide high-speed access to data while reducing processor power needs by storing data permanently in ever-smaller devices. Shaping magnets like eggs breaks up a symmetric frequency pattern found in ellipse structures and thus offers an opportunity to customize and control the switching process.


"For example, intentional patterning of egg-like distortions into spinRAM memory elements may facilitate more reliable switching," said NIST physicist Tom Silva, an author of the new paper. "Also, this study has provided the Easter Bunny with an entirely new market for product development."


* H.T. Nembach, J.M. Shaw, T.J. Silva, W.L. Johnson, S.A. Kim, R.D. McMichael and P. Kabos. Effects of shape distortions and imperfections on mode frequencies and collective linewidths in nanomagnets. Physical Review B 83, 094427, March 28, 2011.

pm report





  Sponsored Announcement

Permanent Magnets 2010-2020: A Comprehensive Overview of the Global Permanent Magnet Industry
The report will be a bound book designed to be a resource for every sector of the Global Permanent Magnet Industry including producers, users, fabricators & distributors and industry suppliers.  It is a must have for anyone seeking to understand today's dynamics and planning for success in the ever-expanding Global Permanent Magnet Industry of tomorrow.


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  New Products

mederMEDER electronic Inc. - New Environmentally Sound Aluminum Sensor & Actuator Pair MK27/M27

The all new aluminum MK27 is a magnetically activated Reed Sensor supplied as a set with its mating M27 actuator magnet.  The sensor and the magnet are supplied in a robust aluminum housing, which is designed for screw fastening.  Additionally, the cable, unlike other standard sensors is insulated with a metal jacket, providing an additional security feature. 


The sensor is typically mounted to the fixed surface, while the actuating magnet is mounted on the moving surface.  Introduction or removal of the magnetic field determines the closing and opening of the Reed Switch.  The robust aluminum housing protects the magnet and sensor from extreme environmental conditions as well as against vandalism or sabotage.


The MK27 Reed Sensor & M27 Actuator Magnet are particularly suitable for use in alarm systems, position and end position sensing, door and window control, commercial vehicles, engineering, mining, forestry, construction and agricultural machinery.  These reed sensors are RoHS compliant.  Call 1-800-870-5385 for samples today!


About MEDER electronic Inc.: MEDER electronic is a private company offering a complete line of Magnetic Reed Switches, Reed Sensors and Magnets, Reed Relays and Opto-couplers worldwide.  MEDER leads the way in designing and manufacturing customer specific switching and sensing solutions for products driven by all major market segments including, but not limited to,  Test & Measurement, Medical, Security, Household, Automotive, Industrial, Marine, Navigation, Farm/Lawn Equipment and Telecommunications.

brukerBruker Expands Ascend NMR Magnet Series
Bruker has expanded its Ascend series of high performance and compact NMR magnets, now covering a range from 400 MHz to 850 MHz. The Ascend magnet product line builds on Bruker’s UltraShield Plus magnets, with innovations for improved performance and convenience. Ascend magnets feature advanced superconductors and proprietary magnet technology, which together enable the design of smaller, lighter magnet coils, resulting in a reduction in physical size, weight, magnetic stray field, drift and cryogen consumption. Ascend magnets are therefore even easier to site, even safer to run and less expensive to operate.


Bruker’s unique and further improved External Disturbance Suppression (EDS) technology provides suppression of external magnetic field disturbances, making Ascend magnets well suited for challenging urban environments and space-restricted laboratories. In addition, Bruker’s proprietary superconducting joint technology yields improved drift behavior with now 10 parts per billion (ppb) drift per hour. The previous generation of magnets had 50 percent higher drift specifications. These new low drift rates translate into improved magnetic field stability, which is very important for demanding NMR experiments.


With their reduced physical size and weight, the new Ascend magnets make important contributions to environmental sustainability and reduce operational costs due significant reductions in Ascend Helium consumption of up to 50 percent, compared to previous generations of Bruker magnets.


Ascend magnets are compatible with new and recent Bruker NMR probes, spectrometers, automation technology and software, for integrated high performance NMR systems used in structural biology, small molecule and materials research applications. Access for submitting NMR samples has just become much easier, using the optional new SampleCase, the first NMR automation solution that provides easy, safe and convenient sample insertion at user height, and is wheel-chair accessible.


“Built on the proven reliability, performance and wealth of experience gained from thousands of UltraShield magnet installations worldwide, the Ascend magnet series is designed with unique additional protective features for both magnet and user safety,” said Dr. Rene Jeker, managing director of Bruker BioSpin. “We are excited that all the latest Bruker NMR magnet technologies have now been incorporated into one new magnet series, resulting in unsurpassed performance, convenience, reliability and minimum operational costs.”

eriezEriez Aftermarket PM RE Drawer Magnets Now Available Through ProGrade Magnetic Separator Program
Eriez Aftermarket Model PM Rare Earth (RE) Drawer Magnets are now a part of the company’s ProGrade line of Magnetic Separators. Like all ProGrade products, these aftermarket drawer magnets are available for quick shipment. Eriez’ PM RE magnets are up to three times stronger than competitive RE magnets and 50 times stronger than many ceramic magnets.


Eriez aftermarket PM RE drawer magnets, available in four sizes, are installed in less than five minutes and can even be used with mild steel housings because of their unique guide-rod design. Other advantages include close tube spacing for more effective ferrous removal and their ability to handle resin temperatures up to 250°F, while improving separation performance and helping to keep equipment running smoothly. Adhesive backed gaskets are included for installation on the door or housing.


Eriez aftermarket PM RE drawer magnets capture and hold fine and weakly magnetic particles, preventing plugged valve gates, machine damage and equipment downtime.


The Eriez ProGrade line includes high quality, low cost standard magnetic plates, grates, traps and tubes that are in stock and available for immediate shipment. ProGrade series professional grade magnets are available at three different degrees of magnetic strength, enabling professionals in diverse industries to choose the ideal level of protection for their specific application. Eriez offers ProGrade Ceramic series, ProGrade Rare Earth series and ProGrade Xtreme series.

bridgeportSmaller Power Inductors for High Frequency Applications
The Alpha-Core Division of Bridgeport Magnetics Group Inc. introduces a line of high power inductors for high frequency applications with a minimum 30 percent size and weight reduction using high performance gapped amorphous ribbon cores instead of conventional cores of silicon steel   or powdered iron.


Alpha-Core’s new amorphous core power inductors combine high inductance and current levels with low losses at frequencies in the 20 KHz range. High wattage switching mode power supplies   benefit from the compact design and much reduced weight. Other applications include power factor correction and harmonics filtering in UPS systems, variable frequency inverters and on-grid solar and wind power systems.


Alpha-Core power inductors are box shaped and fully encapsulated in black epoxy resin. The insulation system is class F (155C). The two leads exit from the short end. Initially Alpha-Core offers inductance values ranging from 100 uH to 5,000 uH and RMS current ratings up to 60A. Prices start at $25.00.

  Industry News

Correcting the Record: Myths and Facts about the Rare Earths Supply Chain
The United States Magnetic Materials Association (USMMA), a trade association dedicated to restoring a competitive, secure, end-to-end rare earth supply chain to support the domestic manufacturing of rare earth permanent magnets, has released a “Myth-Fact” paper to clarify key points relevant to the successful re-introduction of a “mine-to-magnets” strategy. This paper is necessary to provide accurate information in response to news and academic reports, “think tank” positions, US Government generalizations, and promotional activities by some private sector entities, which have oversimplified or downplayed the seriousness of the rare earth crisis.


This Myth-Fact paper lays out seven common assumptions about the rare earth supply chain, determines whether these assumptions are grounded in reality, and provides accurate quantitative and policy support for the truth of the situation. In particular, the paper highlights that:

  1. “Rare earths” are rare due to access issues. While rare earth elements are abundant in the earth’s crust, the ability to locate economically viable concentrations is indeed rare;

  2. China is an unreliable supplier of rare earth materials on the global marketplace. China, which produces more than 95 percent of all rare earth oxides and nearly 100 percent of rare earth metals for world consumption, has dramatically reduced exports, decreased production, increased taxes, and embargoed trading partners. Anticipating further price increases, many Chinese suppliers have proven reluctant to quote pricing and availability to consumers;

  3. Extraction is not simple and US companies cannot quickly develop extraction capabilities. In fact, processing rare earth elements is much more complicated and costly than processing other ores. The multi-step process can cost more than $500 million per location and take up to 10 years for mine development and permitting;

  4. Increasing global demand will outstrip supply of key rare earths, such as neodymium, dysprosium, europium, terbium and yttrium. Critical shortfalls in these elements will impact green technologies (e.g., hybrid cars, wind turbines), digitized and miniaturized electronic goods (e.g., mobile phones), and defense applications (e.g., missiles, radars, avionics). To address the most critical national security aspect of this looming crisis, the US Government can establish a stockpile of neodymium iron boron and dysprosium iron alloys, as called for in H.R. 1388, the Rare Earths Supply-Chain Technology and Resources Transformation Act of 2011 (or RESTART Act), introduced by Representative Mike Coffman (CO-6) in April 2011;

  5. Domestic production capabilities are limited or nonexistent. The US produces limited rare earth oxides and alloys and no rare earth metals and has one supplier of samarium cobalt magnets and no suppliers of neodymium iron boron magnets. It recommends robust activity in key areas to support a “manufacturing first” approach that supports mining of rare earth ores domestically and in cooperation with ally nations and promotes US capabilities on the manufacturing end of the supply chain. Such an approach would include stockpiling value-added materials to support defense requirements and emphasis on re-starting a reliable, domestic magnet manufacturing capability;

  6. Years of research into substitutes have produced no viable alternatives to rare earth materials. US national security will continue to rely on rare earth metals, alloys, and magnets in the foreseeable future. Defense legacy systems alone will require access to rare earths for decades; and

  7. No large-scale reuse or recycling programs are ongoing. While necessary research and development, led in large part by Japanese companies, is underway, US companies have not yet participated in these efforts in a meaningful way.

Text of the Myth-Fact paper and more information on the USMMA can be found at http://www.usmagnetmaterials.com.

Defense Bill Calls for a Competitive, Multi-Source Rare Earth Inventory Plan
The United States Magnetic Materials Association (USMMA) welcomes the inclusion of important and timely rare earth-related language in the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 1540) that was passed by the House Armed Services Committee. The USMMA lauds the leadership of Representative Mike Coffman (CO-6), whose amendment recognizes current supply-chain vulnerabilities, focuses the Department of Defense on establishing an inventory of required materials, and encourages domestic manufacturing in this critical area.


In particular, this provision would require the Defense Logistics Agency Strategic Materials (formerly the Defense National Stockpile Center) to develop a plan to establish an inventory of rare earth oxides, metals, alloys, and magnets for defense purposes. By also identifying “the steps necessary to develop or maintain a competitive, multi-source supply chain to avoid reliance on a single source of supply”, the plan would mitigate our nation’s current overdependence on unreliable foreign sources for critical rare earth materials. It would also encourage US manufacturing capabilities and thus reinvigorate a competitive, multi-source domestic rare earth industry.


Key defense applications, ranging from precision-guided munitions to satellite wave tubes to certain lasers, depend on rare earth materials for functionality. So do increasingly popular green technologies and electronic goods like hybrid cars, wind turbines and mobile phones. As growing global demand begins to outstrip supply of key elements, this plan will help to ensure that oxides, alloys, metals, and magnets are available for critical defense requirements. Representative Coffman’s provision is a significant step forward in safeguarding U.S. national security, and USMMA commends him for his foresight.

Text of the legislative language can be found here.


More information on the USMMA can be found at http://www.usmagnetmaterials.com.

Neo Material Technologies Becomes Latest Member of REITA
The Rare Earth Industry and Technology Association (REITA) has  announced that Neo Material Technologies, Inc., headquartered in Toronto, has joined the association of rare earth technology stakeholders.
“The members and I are honored to have Neo Material Technologies as a part of our consortium,” said Keith Delaney, executive director of REITA. “Neo brings a wealth of experience and capabilities to our group as the majority joint venture partner in two rare earth processing facilities in China, the owner of Magnequench and its line of rare earth magnet powders, other rare metals and recycling technology.  The company has nine production facilities, six R&D centers and 13 sales / administration offices in 10 countries employing approximately 1,475 people.”

The addition of Neo brings to seven the number of REITA members that are rare earth companies with resources in Australia, Canada, China, Estonia, South Africa and the USA.

Molycorp Reports 1Q 2011 Results
Molycorp, Inc. has released its financial and operating performance for the first quarter of 2011.

Molycorp generated revenue of $26.3 million in 1Q 2011, an increase of 21 percent sequentially and 770 percent year over year. Sequential growth was balanced between increased volumes and higher realized prices. Year-over-year growth was driven by higher volume, substantially higher market prices for rare earth oxides (REOs), and our expanded product suite, which is commanding higher prices than the lanthanum products that comprised essentially all of sales in 1Q 2010.


Net loss in 1Q 2011 narrowed to ($0.9 million) and net loss attributable to common stockholders was ($2.2 million), or ($0.03) per share. Excluding stock-based compensation expense, Molycorp generated adjusted net income of $2.0 million and adjusted net income attributable to common stockholders of $0.8 million, or $0.01 per share.


The company sold 696 metric tons of REO products in the first quarter of 2011, a 9 percent sequential increase and 65 percent year-over-year increase. The company realized an average sales price of $37.73 per kilogram, compared to an average sales price of $34.02 per kilogram in 4Q 2010, and an average sales price of $7.13 per kilogram for 1Q 2010. Excluding sales under a contract with a price cap currently in effect, which covers one product line and terminates prior to the commencement of run rate production in 2012 at Molycorp’s new Mountain Pass processing facility, the average sales price during 1Q 2011 was $65.95 per kilogram. Market prices for REOs continued to increase throughout April.


“We were very pleased to see both sales volume and revenue increase for Molycorp in the first quarter of 2011, as this quarter is typically characterized by slow buying and depressed activity in China due to its New Year celebrations,” said Mark Smith, Molycorp president and CEO. “In spite of this, and in spite of the natural catastrophes experienced by Japan in the first quarter, we continued to see strong global demand for our products. Market prices of REOs rose significantly in the first quarter, helping to boost our price realizations.”


“A very significant development in the first quarter is the fact that we saw domestic Chinese REO prices rising along with prices for Chinese rare earth exports,” Smith said. “This points to several trends that we have noted for some months now: growing demand by China’s burgeoning manufacturing sector for Chinese rare earths; continuing success in the Chinese government’s efforts to crack down on illegal mining and exports; greater industry consolidation forced by the Chinese government; continuing impact on production of new environmental regulations on Chinese producers; government-mandated production quotas; and a halt to the issuance of new licenses for domestic exploration.”


“All of these trends underscore our long-held view that China will continue to restrict rare earth exports to the rest of the world, and is likely on a path to becoming a net rare earth importer in the next several years,” Smith said.


“This is also why the two acquisitions we have made so far this year are so important,” Smith added. “They provide us with expertise, an experienced workforce, and production capabilities in four of the five production steps needed to deploy the world’s first fully integrated mine-to-magnets supply chain outside of China. All that remains is for Molycorp to integrate permanent rare earth magnet manufacturing capabilities into our supply chain, and we are on track to do just that.”
An audio webcast is available on the Investor Relations section of the Company's website at www.molycorp.com. The webcast will be archived on the website for 60 days.

Great Western Minerals Group Receives Approvals from South African National Nuclear Regulator for Steenkampskraal Rare Earth Project
Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. (GWMG) has received full approval for its work program, under the existing Nuclear Authorization for the Company's Steenkampskraal Rare Earths project, from the South African National Nuclear Regulator (NNR). The approvals cover programs that include radiation protection, integrated waste management (including the long-term storage of radioactive material) and the transportation of radioactive material.


These approvals enable GWMG to immediately commence the refurbishment of the former-producing mine site and to undertake an exploration project at site. Additionally, the approvals enable GWMG to develop a mineral resource estimate that is compliant with disclosure requirements as defined by the Canadian Securities Administrators National Instrument 43-101, utilizing available historic data.

The Company filed the application with the NNR on November 1, 2010 with additional information provided April 7, 2011, and officially received the approvals on May 6, 2011.


“This is one of the most important milestones to date for the Steenkampskraal project,” said GWMG President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Engdahl. “With these approvals in hand, our Company can immediately launch three vital project steps. Firstly, we have already sent out the tenders for the shaft refurbishment work and are now positioned to select the contractor who will commence work immediately. Secondly, we can select and deploy a drilling contractor for the exploration program at the Steenkampskraal site. And thirdly, with the ability to work underground, GWMG can move ahead very quickly to complete the work necessary to verify the available historic data and produce a NI 43-101 compliant technical report.”


The project steps facilitated by receipt of the NNR work program approval are on schedule with the fast track development program announced by GWMG on April 21, 2011.


Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. is an integrated Rare Earths processor. Its specialty alloys are used in the battery, magnet and aerospace industries. Produced at the Company's wholly owned subsidiaries Less Common Metals Limited in Birkenhead, U.K. and Great Western Technologies Inc. in Troy, Michigan, these alloys contain aluminium, nickel, cobalt and Rare Earth Elements. As part of the Company's vertical integration strategy, GWMG has signed an Off-take Agreement for 100 percent of the Rare Earth Elements to be produced at the former producing Steenkampskraal mine in South Africa and holds 92.6 percent equity ownership in Rare Earth Extraction Co. Limited, the owner of the Steenkampskraal mine. In addition to a planned exploration program at Steenkampskraal, GWMG also holds interests in six Rare Earth exploration and development properties in North America.



Event Listings


buttonSave the Date: Magnetics 2012

This two-day conference is a leading global event within the magnetics market, bringing together worldwide magnetics experts. This is a once-a-year opportunity for professionals involved in magnetics technologies to learn the latest advancements in magnetic applications, technology and materials.


Magnetics 2012 will focus on the latest advancements in magnetic applications, technology and materials. Serving OEM developers of products that utilize magnets and magnet systems, design engineers, OEM developers involved in EMC technology and magnetic effects, magnetics manufacturers and integrators, and material suppliers in the magnetics industry.


Magnetics 2012 is an opportunity to learn from technical experts and network with peers, professionals and potential business partners involved in a variety of applications. Learn about advancements in magnetic materials, as well as the latest technical innovations and application developments in the field of magnetics. Learn the outlook for pricing and economics. Discover the latest techniques, equipment and materials involved in the performance and control of magnetics. Learn from leading technical innovators the latest developments in how magnets are being applied, and magnetic effects utilized, to help optimize system and product performance in diverse applications.


The conference will be held March 13-14, 2012 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel. The event will be organized to provide numerous opportunities for networking including refreshment and networking breaks, discussion sessions, daily luncheons, reception, and tabletop or portable exhibits. The conference is organized by Magnetics Business & Technology magazine and produced by Webcom Communications Corp., the magazine's publisher.


Back by Popular Demand!
The 2012 Magnetics Conference will again be co-located with the Motor, Drive & Automation Systems Conference. We feel this addition has been a natural fit, one that provided added benefit to attendees, exhibitors and sponsors of both these world class technical events. Attendees to either event will again have access to the combined exhibit halls and networking breaks, receptions and luncheons. And for a nominal additional fee, attendees can have access to both conference programs.  

Interesting in Sponsoring or Exhibiting?
Contact Sue Hannebrink at sueh@infowebcom.com


Interesting in hosting a pre-conference workshop or speaking at the conference?
Contact Heather Krier at heatherk@infowebcom.com


sensorsSensors Expo & Conference

June 6-8, 2011
Rosemont, IL

Sensors Expo & Conference is the only industry event in North America exclusively focused on sensors and sensor integrated systems, providing over 25 years of technical innovation and thought leadership! The 2011 event will take place June 6-8 in Rosemont, IL, and will explore the most up-to-date innovations in sensor technology, including MEMS, energy harvesting, wireless, and more in both an in-depth conference program and a jam-packed exhibitor floor. PLUS – new event features for 2011 including MEMS Pavilion, MEMS Innovation Area, Energy Harvesting Pavilion, Technology Update Theater, and more! Register today at www.sensorsexpo.com and use code: 301H to save up to $400 with low Early Bird Rates!

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