July 2012




Feature Article



BuswellThe Process of Developing and Testing a New Transformer

By Harrie Buswell, CEO • Buswell Energy LLC


The development of a new transformer has embodied both old and new. Our current prototype model is a near toroid with eight sectors of magnetic components spread as evenly as possible around the electrical to achieve homogeneity, symmetry and an encompassing of the electrical with magnetics. The sectors are wound up with wire. Wire allows some lessening of classical sheet magnetic constraints. Not only can the geometry constraints be lessened allowing more flexibility of design also the generation of eddy currents is lessened. The prototype in Figure 1 is a 10 KVA oil-immersed distribution transformer. A design that scales well across distribution transformer sizes it is currently undergoing accelerated aging testing at Tennessee Tech EE department. < read article >

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  Sponsored Announcement

Mag2013Magnetics 2013: Call for Presentations

Magnetics 2013, taking place February 7-8 in Orlando, Fla., is an international, industry-leading conference focused on the latest economic developments and technical advancements in magnetics markets and technologies bringing together worldwide magnetics experts.


MAGNETICS 2013 will have four tracks to address the magnetics market including Rare Earths, Ferrites/Soft Magnetics, Permanent Magnets, and Magnetics for Medical Applications. Each track is designed to cover the latest advancements in the applications, technology, materials and economic development.


Call for Presentations deadline is July 19th.


Contact Sue Hannebrink for sponsorship/exhibitor information.


  New Products

MEDER electronic Announces 3-D Magnetic Mapping Of Reed Sensors

Optimize components and eliminate issues that may result in faulty operations
mederMeder electronic Inc., a manufacturer of precise, reliable, and long-lasting miniature switches, sensors and relays, announces its 3-dimensional magnetic mapping capabilities for reed sensors. This process allows designers to more accurately place sensors and magnetic components within a system, thus eliminating any issues that may result in faulty operation.

MEDER electronic conducts 3-D magnetic mapping by incrementally measuring the reed sensor’s closure and opening points as it enters and exits the influence of a magnetic field. This information is then analyzed, allowing the user to visualize the magnetic field in three dimensions. Understanding the interacting magnetic fields allows designers to better position the magnet and sensor in the system for optimal operation. 3-D mapping also helps designers adjust the magnetic sensitivity of the reed sensor and/or the magnet’s size and strength.

The ability to know where the key operating points are is critical to sensor applications, because it allows designers to properly position the magnet and sensor well within appropriate guard bands and avoid tolerance issues. It is particularly useful in applications using more than one reed sensor or more than one magnet. For applications in which ferromagnetic material like iron, steel, nickel or cobalt are present in the area where sensing takes place, 3-D modeling becomes quite extensive and unpredictable, so magnetic mapping is the only way to know for sure where the boundaries are.

In addition to ensuring operations are well within the magnetic envelopes to avoid tolerance issues, 3D magnetic mapping helps designers optimize the sensor and magnet components, which can significantly reduce costs.

Balluff Releases Economical Line of Magnetic Field Cylinder Sensors
balluffBalluff announces Global BMF; an expansion of their Global line of products to include a broad line of magnetic field cylinder sensors.  The Global Line from Balluff is an offering of economically priced general-purpose sensors and accessories for industrial automation.

Balluff’s BMF magnetic field cylinder sensors are based on non-contact, solid-state sensor technology that is compatible with both reed and Hall Effect magnetic pole orientations, making them a suitable replacement for standard magnetic switches. Electrically rugged, they feature short circuit protection, overload protection, and reverse polarity protection. Improved sensor performance and better reliability results in less downtime and increased productivity.

Balluff’s compact BMF sensors are designed to fit either C-slot or T-slot extrusions and require no additional brackets for mounting. These sensors fit flush into the slot, offering better sensor protection…nothing sticking out and nothing in the way. Flush mounting sensors make installation in space critical applications easier and less time consuming. In addition, cable clips are included for cleaner cable routing and better strain relief.

The Global BMF line includes the following models:

  • BMF 204 and BMF 214 C-slot: These magnetic field sensors are C-slot styles that are bracketless and provide rock-solid holding

  • BMF 235 T-slot: These magnetic field sensors are C-slot styles that are bracketless and provide rock-solid holding

  • Balluff’s V-Twin magnetic field sensors provide two sensors for C-slot and T-slot with a single connector in either an M8 or M12 configuration

Global BMF adds another piece to Balluff’s economical Global Line offering of control and sensor products such as: GlobalProx (inductive sensors), Global.CProx (capacitive sensors), GlobalEye (photoelectric sensors), GlobalCables (common M8 & M12 sensor cables) and DC power supplies.

New Rod-Style Sensor PCST27 For Underwater Use
posichronPosichron releases the new PCST27 series, and extends the range of its magnetostrictive position sensors. The probe sensors allow for precise positioning of hydraulic cylinders or the measurement of fluid levels.

Magnetostrictive position sensors of the Posichron product line are extremely durable and therefore suitable even for applications where other measurement principles fail. The newly presented PCST27 models were designed specifically for the integration inside of large hydraulic cylinders that are used in harsh environments such as offshore or in the shipping industry. The rod-profile design allows them to be easily installed in the cylinder and detect piston positions with high precision even under difficult conditions.

As with all models in the Posichron PCST27 series, the sensors consist of a magnetostrictive waveguide and a movable position magnet. Based on magnetically generated density waves and the measurement of time pulses this measurement principle is well suited for applications that demand extreme precision, repeatability and resistance against environmental factors such as vibration, humidity or shock. The sea water resistant stainless steel housing allows the sensor to be used in off-shore locations. Based upon non-contact measurement technology, this position sensor ensures years of trouble-free operation.

These rod-profile PCST27 sensors are available up to protection class IP68 and are pressure resistant up to 15 bar. The absolute output offers linearity up to ±0.02 percent full scale. Measurement lengths from 0 to 100 or from 0 to 5,750 mm are available.

For easy integration into various systems, there is either an analog (with 0.5 to 10 V or 4 to 20 mA), a pulse (start/stop) or SSI output available. Longitudinal cable water tightness is a first in these sensors.

New Xtrinsic Six-Axis Sensor from Freescale Enriches Mobile Devices
freescaleToday’s sophisticated mobile operating systems require the use of advanced sensor technology to provide data that is more accurate with a faster response time than ever before. Addressing this need, Freescale Semiconductor has introduced an Xtrinsic 6-axis sensor that combines high resolution motion sensing and heading technology with an accelerometer and a magnetometer in a single package.

The new Xtrinsic FXOS8700CQ sensor is optimized for mobile applications, including augmented reality, gaming, navigation and location-based services that require highly accurate orientation data. This expands a portfolio of best in class MMA845x accelerometers and MAG3110 magnetometers to combinational sensors with lower power consumption and increased embedded features in a small 3 by 3 by 1.2 mm package.
“Our Xtrinsic 6-axis sensor captures individual inputs and, with eCompass software, fuses them together, enabling it to output much more exact data that allows mobile devices to make quick, accurate decisions,” said Seyed Paransun, vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Sensor & Actuator Solutions Division. “Integrating multiple sensors into one device reduces the complexity of developing a complete system solution, decreasing developers’ time-to-market and lowering costs.”

ABI Research forecasts that the MEMS chip market will grow to nearly $1.5 billion by 2016, driven by the rapidly growing demand for smart mobile devices. Sensor fusion is being designed into many smart mobile devices, enabling advanced functionality such as augmented reality and location-based services. To facilitate the growth of these applications, Freescale has introduced several sensor fusion solutions, including the recently announced Xtrinsic 12-axis sensor fusion platform for portable devices based on the Windows 8 operating system and Xtrinsic eCompass sensor fusion software.

The Xtrinsic FXOS8700CQ 6-axis sensor combines a 14-bit accelerometer and 16-bit magnetometer with a high-performance ASIC in a single 3 by 3 mm package. This high-performance eCompass solution is capable of providing a typical heading resolution of 0.1 degrees and sub-5 degree heading accuracy for most applications.

The 6-axis sensor has a wide dynamic range of plus or minus 1200 microTeslas that allows for flexibility in placement on printed circuit boards that incorporate permanent magnets such as speakers and vibrator motors. For platforms with hard iron magnetic interference, the FXOS8700CQ has an embedded autonomous hard iron calibration for low-power hard iron offset compensation.

The FXOS8700CQ is compatible with Xtrinsic eCompass and calibration software designed with a full range of power and performance with floating point and integer code that supports Android, Windows 8 and other operating systems.

The Xtrinsic FXOS8700CQ 6-axis sensor is now available in sample quantities. Production quantities are planned for Q3 2012 from Freescale and its distribution partners at a suggested resale price of $1.55 (USD) in 100,000-piece quantities.

  Industry News

China to Stockpile 4 of the 5 “Rare Earths That Matter”
The US Magnetic Materials Association (USMMA) considers the recent announcement that the Chinese government may support a stockpile of heavy rare earth oxides with interest-free loans as further confirmation of the need for a non-China-dependent, domestic and allied nation rare earth supply chain.
These oxides include four of the five rare earth elements classified as critical by renowned industry consultant Jack Lifton of Technology Metals Research: terbium, dysprosium, europium, and yttrium.
USMMA and its member companies have long expressed their concerns to the US Government about the availability of and dependency on Chinese rare earth elements for national security and energy requirements. USMMA’s member companies are capable of creating a stable and secure supply chain for rare earth components, and we continue to urge the US Government to explore solutions to its ongoing supply chain vulnerability.

More information on the USMMA can be found here.

MPI Names John Nathan as Director of Operations
mpiMagnetic Products, Inc. (MPI), a worldwide provider of both magnetic and nonmagnetic material handling solutions, has hired John Nathan as director of operations to accommodate the company’s recent expansion and projected growth. 

Nathan brings more than 20 years of leadership experience with several manufacturers where he developed new products and implemented efficiency and quality initiatives that allowed each firm to capitalize on growth opportunities. In his new role, Nathan will be responsible for all aspects of facility operation, customer service, research and development, and continuous improvement of manufacturing and purchasing processes.

“John joins MPI at an exciting point in the company’s history,” said Keith Rhodes, president, MPI. “Our rapid and continual growth necessitates implementation of advanced manufacturing procedures and additional quality initiatives. John’s expertise in quality improvement and inventory reduction coupled with his focus on new product development will ensure that MPI meets its business objectives. John will play a key role in the company’s future,” added Rhodes. 

Most recently, Nathan was director of engineering and technical sales at Lear Corp., a global supplier of automotive seating and electrical power management systems, where he was responsible for product development, new business and sales, quality initiatives and proposal creation.  “I am very excited to join the MPI team,” said Nathan. “I look forward to helping take the company to its next stage of success.”

Molycorp Announces Successful Close of Neo Materials Acquisition
Molycorp, Inc. has announced that its acquisition of Canadian-based Neo Material Technologies Inc. has officially closed, creating a global rare earth leader with a combination of a world-class rare earth resource, ultra-high-purity rare earth processing capabilities, and full 'mine-to-magnetics' vertical integration.
The close of this acquisition follows a 99.9 percent vote by Neo Materials' shareholders to approve the transaction in a May 30, 2012, Special Meeting; final approval of the Plan of Arrangement from Investment Canada on June 8, 2012; and a Final Order to approve the Arrangement, also on June 8, 2012, by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial List).

Following the close, Neo Materials' subsidiaries will use the Molycorp corporate logo, with the exception of Neo's Magnequench subsidiary, which will use a Molycorp Magnequench logo. Combined, the companies span 26 locations across 11 countries, and have more than 2,600 employees worldwide.


“Less than two years after becoming a publicly traded company, Molycorp has now grown into one of the world's leading, vertically integrated, global rare earths and rare metals companies, with what I believe to be an unmatched combination of employees, world-class resources, and ultra-high-purity processing and materials engineering capabilities," said Mark A. Smith, Molycorp’s president and CEO. "Combining Molycorp's and Neo Materials' personnel provides us with one of the most experienced teams anywhere, and one that is second-to-none in its dedication to innovation, excellence, customer service and our ETHICS." Molycorp's corporate values are known as ETHICS, which is an acronym of Excellence, Trust, Honesty, Integrity, Creativity and Safety.

"We now have the broadest global coverage in the industry, and we can immediately access highly specialized niche markets that were not available to us prior to the Neo acquisition," Mr. Smith said. "Our expanded product line in rare earths, particularly in the 'heavies' category, and rare metals, along with our patented technology platform, and our ability to consistently meet demanding customer specifications, will make us a formidable player in these global markets for years to come."

The Neo acquisition is expected to be accretive to Molycorp’s 2012 earnings and cash flow, and positions the Company to deliver strong returns in the future. The significant synergies that have already been identified, and others expected to be implemented, will further strengthen Molycorp’s financial performance beyond 2012, especially as the Company ramps up and leverages its increased production from the Mountain Pass facility.

"I am especially pleased with the overwhelming support we received from shareholders, regulatory bodies, and our joint global customers in this transaction," Mr. Smith added. "I believe we are better positioned today to increase the diversity of global rare earth supply, which benefits all consumers of these materials, as well as to capture an increased share of global rare earths and rare metals markets."

Mr. Smith concluded: “This acquisition is a game changer for Molycorp and for our shareholders. Along with management and our board, I believe the combination of our two companies will open up new and exciting opportunities for growth in the coming years. In addition to the employees, assets, products, and customers that are part of this transaction, we have significantly strengthened our intellectual property portfolio and our high-purity processing skillsets."

Smith will continue to service as President and Chief Executive Officer of Molycorp, as well as a Director of Molycorp. Constantine Karayannopoulos will join Molycorp's Board of Directors as Vice Chair and will remain active in the business. Michael F. Doolan will become Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Molycorp. James S. Allen will serve as Senior Vice President of Finance, and Treasurer, of Molycorp.

Standex Establishes Global Presence for Electronics Group with Acquisition of Meder Electronic Group
Standex International Corp. has acquired Meder Electronic Group, which designs, manufactures and distributes a broad offering of magnetic reed switch, reed relay and reed sensor solutions in an all-cash transaction. Terms for the acquisition were not disclosed. Meder reported sales of €46 million for calendar 2011 and an EBITDA margin in excess of 13 percent. The Company expects Meder to be accretive to earnings in the range of $0.08 to $0.12 per diluted share in fiscal 2013 and $0.26 to $0.31 in fiscal 2014.1 Meder offers significant sales synergies as well as cost synergies resulting from expected procurement and infrastructure savings.

In addition, the combination of Meder Electronic and Standex Electronics results in a much stronger global organization with significantly enhanced sales and profitability growth prospects as a result of:
Global geographic coverage: Approximately 40 percent of Meder’s sales are in Germany, with the remaining 60 percent about equally split between Asia, North America and other European countries. Approximately 85 percent of Standex Electronics sales are in North America.

“We are enthusiastic about the synergistic fit and the growth prospects for the combined business,” said Roger Fix, Standex president and chief executive officer. “Meder and Standex are highly complementary in terms of geography, products and industry coverage. The combination of the two companies will allow us to bring a broad reed switch, reed relay, magnetics and sensor product offerings to our customers on a global basis. The opportunities for cross selling are exciting and include the introduction of Standex’s magnetic products into the European market and accelerating sales of Meder’s reed switch and reed relays into the North America market.1 The combined company will also provide the opportunity to accelerate sales growth in China and Asia Pacific.”

“We welcome the Meder team to Standex Electronics with the confidence that the combined organization has excellent prospects for accelerated growth and profitability,” said John Meeks, Standex Electronics president. “Founder and CEO Bernhard Meder has built a solid organization with a strong brand and reputation in the marketplace. We look forward to working with him and his team to capitalize on many new opportunities.”



Event Listings


ASTM to Hold Virtual Organizational Meeting for Rare Earth Minerals Standards Activity
ASTM International, in support of recent public-private dialogues (particularly those hosted by the US Department of Energy) on the management of rare earth minerals, will be hosting an organizational meeting for the establishment of a new ASTM standards activity on rare earth minerals. The meeting will occur Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST; the no-fee event will be held virtually. 

Previous DOE-hosted events on rare earth minerals have highlighted three primary REM-related pillars: (1) developing new substitutes (material interchangeability); (2) diversifying the supply chain; and (3) reduction, recycling and reuse. Participants in those dialogues have expressed a need to identify standards solutions for segments of the rare earth production process and life cycle. A planning meeting held on May 16 at ASTM's Washington, D.C., office, which included stakeholders from government, academia, industry and professional societies, outlined a series of additional potential standards topics including REM characterization, efficiency of manufacture and safety (chemical, physical and shipping and handling). 

ASTM stands ready to accommodate this new standardization initiative with its neutral forum wherein the private and public sectors have long worked to develop a consensus standards program.

To register for the meeting, click here. After being approved by the host, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for joining the session. ASTM International welcomes participation in the development of its standards.



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