january 2013


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Contributed Blog



RichardsonGlobal Magnet Industry: 2012 Breakdown

By Ed Richardson, President – United States Magnetic Materials Association (USMMA)

The news in 2012 has been filled with topics relevant to the magnet industry. If you weren’t paying attention, you missed a lot of important information about the global magnet industry. Here’s a bit of a highlight reel... <read more>



Research & Development


MIT Researchers Discover a New Kind of Magnetism

Following up on earlier theoretical predictions, MIT researchers have now demonstrated experimentally the existence of a fundamentally new kind of magnetic behavior, adding to the two previously known states of magnetism. <read more>

For Newly Discovered ‘Quantum Spin Liquid’, the Beauty Is in Its Simplicity

A research team including scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has confirmed long-standing suspicions among physicists that electrons in a crystalline structure called a kagome (kah-go-may) lattice can form a “spin liquid,” a novel quantum state of matter in which the electrons’ magnetic orientation remains in a constant state of change.* <read more>



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  Sponsored Announcement

View BrochureMAGNETICS 2013 Addresses Rare Earth Supply Chain Issues and Its Impacts on Global Industries

Magnetics 2013 has announced an industry-leading line-up of magnetics experts who will be addressing current market conditions and what’s ahead for end-users and the magnetics industry in the years to come. Magnetics 2013, taking place February 7-8, 2013 in Orlando, Fla., features four pre-conference workshops, and more than 20 technical sessions.


Presentation Spotlights:

Recently, the speakers below offered insights into their upcoming presentations in exclusive Q&A interviews with Magnetics Business & Technology magazine. These interviews contain information you can't find anywhere else and include the scoop on why the topic is relevant & timely, impacts on the industry, who should attend the presentation & what they can expect to learn, and more!

View the brochure for conference sessions, workshop information, exhibitors, registration and hotel information, or visit the website.


Register Now!Register Today to Take Advantage of Our New Low Rates!
Online Registration Closes January 30th

  • Two-Day Pass: $695

  • One-Day Pass: $395

  • Combo Pass: $895
    (Allows access to both Magnetics and Motor & Drive Systems programs and conference proceedings)

  New Products

Chaotic ‘Spin Vortices’ Could Lead to New Computer Memories

In science, just like in life, sometimes creating the most effective organization depends on being able to handle just a bit of chaos first.


ArgonneIn this artist rendering, tiny magnetic vortices form on nanodisks, with each disk having a diameter of about 100 nanometers. Each vortex is directed either upwards or downwards. The Argonne study looked at the interaction between pairs of these nanodisks. Image courtesy Sander Munster, Dresden University of Technology.


Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have used alternating magnetic fields to control the behavior of “spin vortices” trapped in small dots made from iron and nickel that can be magnetized in two separate ways. While the majority of these structures are magnetized in-plane either clockwise or counter-clockwise, a tiny region at their centers, the vortex core, is magnetized out of plane, either up or down.


“If you were able to visualize it, it would look like a funnel,” said Argonne materials scientist Valentyn Novosad.


Novosad and postdoctoral researcher Shikha Jain wanted to find a way to control the magnetic states of pairs or even large groups of these dots that interacted with each other in a lattice.


In the resting state, the cores of the dots are randomly polarized. After applying an oscillating magnetic field to the pairs of dots, the researchers observed that the central cores began to switch back and forth repeatedly between up- and down-magnetizations – which Jain and Novosad characterized as “chaos.”

This chaotic system’s behavior is dictated by the fact that the magnetic field, when applied, oscillates at a particular frequency that can be tuned to match the “resonance frequency” – that is, the natural frequency of vibration – for a specific polarity combination in a dot-pair. Each pair of dots has two resonance frequencies, corresponding to parallel (up-up or down-down) or antiparallel (up-down or down-up) magnetization states. In the parallel state, the dots’ centers are magnetized in the same direction, while in the antiparallel state they are opposite.


By increasing and then decreasing the strength of the applied field, Argonne’s scientists were able to bring the dots’ magnetizations into and then out of chaos. When the amplitude of the oscillating field was reduced significantly, the researchers discovered that the new polarizations corresponded to the opposite state of the applied frequency. If the frequency corresponded to the parallel magnetization, an antiparallel arrangement would emerge, and vice versa.


“We were somewhat surprised that the behaviors of multiple dots could be controlled so precisely,” Jain said. “There had been a lot of work done before on single-dot systems, but no one had really investigated how magnetic dots interact with each other in this kind of environment.”


By achieving consistent control of the central polarization’s direction, the researchers moved one step closer to creating new magnetic devices, including non-volatile random access memories. These devices are the subject of intense research in academia and industry worldwide as they offer energy efficiency, high operating speed and exceptional reliability. Unlike the silicon-based chips in today’s computers, their magnetic counterparts employ spin rather than electric charge to store and process information.

According to Novosad, the underlying physics that governs the two-dot interaction should apply as well to a system of many elements. Future studies will seek to explore the collective dynamics in larger three-dimensional crystal-like magnetic structures.

Eriez SafeHold MPL Series Lifting Magnets are Safe, Reliable and Efficient

EriezSafeHold MPL Series Permanent Lifting Magnets from Eriez provide the ultimate in operator convenience, safety and reliability. These durable magnets make quick work of previously difficult, time-consuming steel handling.


With SafeHold MPL Series Permanent Lifting Magnets, users can lift, move or position materials in less time, without having to manually release the magnet and without the need for slings, hooks or cables. SafeHold MPL Series Lifting Magnets are well suited for loading and unloading steel sheets from burning tables or anywhere that operator access is limited.


They operate on 115 VAC power and turn on and off, so there is no need for a high cost, high maintenance battery system. In the event of an interruption in power supply, the magnets remain in their current position (on or off) and cannot be operated until power is restored. This capability keeps plant workers safe from accidental dropped loads.


SafeHold MPL Lifting Magnets are superb for handling both flat and round materials, especially semi-finished products with flat surfaces such as machine parts, press molds for forming and steel plates. These magnets are also an excellent choice for loading round bars into lathes.


Maximum lifting capacity (with 2:1 safety factor) is 4,500 pounds (2041 kg) for a flat steel plate and 3,000 pounds (1363 kg) for a round surface product. Thin sheets, rough and irregular surfaces, odd shapes and scale all affect holding power and must be considered when establishing a safety factor.


SafeHold MPL Series Permanent Lifting Magnets are part of Eriez’ extensive line-up of powerful permanent lifting magnets. Other models in the SafeHold line include XPL Series, RPL Series, EPL Series and APL Series. For more information, click here.

  Industry News

Molycorp’s New Rare Earth Complex is Operational, Ramping Up Production

Molycorp, Inc. has announced that all key production components of its new state-of-the-art rare earth manufacturing complex in Mountain Pass, California are up and operational and that the facility has begun ramping up to its full-scale “Phase 1” run rate.


The Company expects that with an orderly ramp up of production it will reach or exceed its Phase 1 run rate of 19,050 metric tons per year (mt/year) of rare earth oxide equivalent (REO) by mid-year.


“Mountain Pass is the world’s largest, most technologically advanced, and most environmentally responsible rare earth manufacturing complex ever built, and reaching operational status is a historic event. I am very proud of the work of the entire Molycorp team in achieving this extraordinary milestone,” said Constantine Karayannopoulos, Molycorp president and CEO.


The Mountain Pass complex is designed to be able to allow for expanded production to a “Phase 2” rate of as much as 40,000 mt/year of rare earth oxide equivalent. However, the Company stated that, while most of the equipment necessary to complete Project Phoenix Phase 2 is already on site, the decision to complete Phase 2 construction and start-up will not be made until market demand, product pricing, capital availability, and financial returns justify additional increases in production beyond Phase 1.


Company officials said that controlling capital and operating costs continues to be a top priority. With the combination of the new Phase 1 ramp-up schedule and current rare earth pricing environment, the Company anticipates lower than expected revenue and cash flow for 2013, and is evaluating its capital needs for 2013.

VCU Receives NSF I-Corps Grant to Advance Work on Permanent Magnets

VCUA VCU research team, led by Everett Carpenter Ph.D., associate professor of inorganic and materials chemistry and affiliate professor of chemical and life science engineering in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, has been selected to participate in the inaugural I-Corp at ARPA-E program to help academic scientists expand their focus in ways to transition technology from basic research to commercial applications. ARPA-E is the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).


The program is part of the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps Team program (NSF I-Corps Teams) and will focus on developing new rare-earth free permanent magnets for energy efficient electric car motors or wind generators.


The I-Corps Team program was designed to help scientists and engineers to not only develop and nurture fundamental research, but also to translate it into technologies, products and processes that may ultimately benefit society. The grant will provide the team with access to resources to help determine the readiness to transition the technology.


Carpenter, who is also director of VCU NANOCenter, is joined by Daniel Hudgins, a fourth-year graduate student in his research group, and Vincent G. Harris, founder and chair of Metamagnetics, Inc. The team is called Nanofoundry. Carpenter serves as principal investigator and Hudgins the entrepreneurial lead, and Harris will serve as the entrepreneurial mentor.


“This is an extremely prestigious award which will help add credibility to our team if and when we decide to create a spin-off company,” said Carpenter. “The program will help us connect with other teams and learn from their successes and failures. In addition, it will help us to connect with potential funding groups to further advance our goal of a spin-off company.”


The VCU project was sparked by a push for more energy-efficient and green-powered technologies. Materials scientists are particularly interested in creating permanent magnets that can perform equivalent to the best commercial magnets, and are less expensive than what is available on the market – without relying on rare earth elements. Rare earth elements are difficult and costly to process and refine the metal.


The goal of the three-year project is to use the magnetic carbide-based composite – which looks like a fine black powder – to develop a magnet for use in a prototype electric motor. The transition metal carbide nanomagnets, which require no rare earth elements, are being developed by Carpenter and his team.

According to Carpenter, the program, if successful, would result in the first commercially viable rare-earth free magnet in nearly 50 years.


Earlier this year, the team became one of 14 projects to be funded through ARPA-E’s Rare Earth Alternatives in Critical Technologies program, or REACT. The REACT program is focused on the development of alternatives to rare earth elements, which are minerals that occur naturally in the environment, for use in technologies such as electric motor and generator applications.

Lake Shore Acquires PMC and Its MicroMag Systems

Michael Swartz, CEO of Lake Shore Cryotronics, and Harry Reichard, president of Princeton Measurements Corporation (PMC), have announced that PMC is now part of Lake Shore. This acquisition brings together two leaders in magnetics expertise, joining the MicroMag magnetometer systems from PMC to the growing family of Lake Shore products for advanced materials research.


“Since 1989, Harry and the PMC team have pioneered in magnetics research with their Alternating Gradient Magnetometer and Vibrating Sample Magnetometer systems,” Swartz said. “We are pleased to announce that these high-performance systems will be part of the Lake Shore product line, complementing our own VSMs and related systems, and further broadening what we offer for our customers in materials characterization research.”


“We are excited to become part of Lake Shore,” Reichard said. “Over the years, Lake Shore and PMC have shared the same spirit of dedication to customers and innovation. Working together, we plan to advance this technology by developing next-generation systems that will allow our research customers to conduct breakthrough research.”


Lake Shore will continue to sell the Lake Shore VSM line alongside the MicroMag AGM and VSM systems. Field support for existing and new PMC equipment will be provided through Lake Shore’s global service network.

“For PMC customers, this acquisition provides them with Lake Shore’s world-renowned sales and service and recognized technical expertise,” said Reichard.


Swartz foresees considerable leverage in the combined strengths of the two companies. From early beginnings in the cryogenics arena, Lake Shore has grown to become a leading provider of sensors, instruments and systems that materials researchers increasingly rely upon for exploring and developing new magnetic, electronic, electro-optic, and related materials. “It’s a win for the magnetic research community,” he said.


“It’s a new twist on what we’ve said all along,” Reichard affirmed. “Two heads are better than one!”



Event Listings


Attend a Workshop to Increase Your Technical Skill-Set

Magnetics 2013, taking place February 7-8, 2013 in Orlando, Fla., offers an industry-leading line-up of magnetics experts who will be addressing the latest developments in materials, design and testing, along with current market conditions and what's ahead for the the magnetics industry in the years to come.


Magnetics 2013 is offering informative pre-conference workshops on February 6th, 2013 to complement its in-depth conference program. The workshops, which have limited seating to ensure each attendee receives individual attention, will sell out.

Stan TroutMagnetics Bootcamps
Instructor: Dr. Stan Trout - Spontaneous Materials
The Bootcamp Workshops focus on the basics of Magnetics and will take place on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 in Orlando, Fla. at the Rosen Plaza hotel. If you need to understand magnets better for your job, want to get more from the conference presentations or are new to the field, then Basic – Bootcamp I is the right place to start. If something more advanced is what you are looking for, attend Bootcamp II.


Basic – Bootcamp I (taking place from 8 AM to 12 PM) assumes that one has little or no background in magnetics. The Bootcamp I workshop will cover the fundamental magnetic concepts such as hysteresis, what is magnetism, units, basic processing, magnetizing and thermal effects.


Advanced – Bootcamp II (taking place from 1 PM to 5 PM) assumes someone has either taken a previous Bootcamp or has some basic technical understanding of magnetics. After a brief review of the basics, including self-demagnetization and loadlines, we will discuss raw materials and their pricing, advanced processing techniques, manufacturability, design basics, new design case studies and what’s new on the horizon.


Basic/Advanced Bootcamp Package (8 AM to 5 PM). Attend both Bootcamps for a full day of training and save!

Learn More

SamirPower Inductors and Transformers Workshops
Instructor: Samir Kagalwala - Power Magnetics Consultancy (PMC)
The Power Inductors & Transformers Workshops, focusing on the basics of power inductors and transformers, will take place on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 in Orlando, Fla. at the Rosen Plaza hotel. If better understanding of electromagnetic principles in easy to understand lingo would help you in your job function, if you want to refresh the basic theory of magnetic coils or if you are new to the field, then the Electromagnetic Principles & Basic Magnetic Theory of Operations workshop is for you. Or, attend the In-Coming Quality Control (IQC) and Assurance of Outsourced Magnetics workshop, which is designed to introduce power magnetic and their quality parameters in simple terms without detail mathematical formulas and technical jargon to provide functional understanding of the parameters.


Electromagnetic Principles & Basic Magnetic Theory of Operations (taking place from 9 AM to 12 PM) is designed to benefit personnel at all levels associated with magnetic coils and high frequency power supplies. This course would provide personnel responsible for designing, manufacturing, testing, procuring and selling inductors, transformers and high frequency power supplies an opportunity to refresh basics. Marketing and sale personnel will benefit communicating better with customers. Component qualification and supplier qualification personnel would gain needed insight to perform their tasks effectively. Managers and executives will have refreshing insight into basics of power magnetics.


In-Coming Quality Control (IQC) and Assurance of Outsourced Magnetics (taking place from 1 PM to 5 PM) is designed to introduce power magnetic and their quality parameters in simple terms without detail mathematical formulas and technical jargon to provide functional understanding of the parameters, and to help set and/or improve IQC & Assurance processes for consistently receiving magnetic devices to specified quality level.


Power Inductors & Transformers Package (9 AM to 5 PM). Attend both workshops for a full day of training and save!

Learn More

WorkshopPermanent Magnet (PM) Motors: Design, Modeling and Control

Instructors: Dr. Thomas Wu, University of Central Florida and Eric Lin, ANSYS Corp.

This eight hour short course, will take place on Wednesday February 6th in Orlando, Fla. at the Rosen Plaza Hotel, addresses the key issues of permanent magnet (PM) motors, which are of great interest to the industry. Following a brief review of magnetic materials and circuits, the workshop will focus on how to design surface and interior permanent magnet motors. After that, we will discuss finite element modeling and optimization using ANSYS RMxprt and Maxwell. Finally, we will discuss close loop control technology.


Topics Covered Include:

  1. Basic concepts of a PM machine, distributed and concentric winding
  2. Magnetic materials and circuits, airgap magnetic fields
  3. Reference frame theory and steady state analysis of PM machine
  4. Surface PM (SPM) motor design
  5. Interior PM (IPM) motor design
  6. FEM modeling and optimization using ANSYS RMxprt and Maxwell
  7. Close Loop Control Technology of PM motor

Learn More


Register Now!Register Now to Ensure Your Spot!


MotorsMotor & Drive Systems 2013, co-located with Magnetics 2013 and taking place February 7-8 in Orlando, Fla., is featuring six pre-conference workshops and more than 20 technical sessions on new motor and drive technologies and design considerations, motion control, power electronics/modules and components. Sessions will also cover market trends and growth areas as well as regulatory and safety issues.

The conference serves technical and management professionals involved in all sectors of motor, drive and motion control technologies including OEMs, end users, integrators and dealers including:

  • Equipment OEMs that use AC motors, DC motors and other motion control components in their equipment

  • Designers of AC motors, DC motors, drives, uninterruptable power supplies, power modules,

  • Manufacturers and suppliers of components and assemblies used in power electronics

  • Manufacturing, quality and test engineers involved with motors and related power equipment

  • Compliance engineers testing and qualifying motors and related equipment

This conference provides the best forum to learn from leading motor and drive system manufacturers on new technologies entering the market and what’s ahead.


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