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Permanent Magnets - Types, applications, new developments, industry structure and global markets

  • April 2014
  • 205 pages
  • Innovative Research and Products (iRAP), Inc.
Report ID: 2083787


Table of Contents

Permanent magnets are a vital part of modern life. They are found in or used to produce almost every modern convenience today, from speakers in mobile phones to the electric motors in hybrid cars; air conditioners and washing machines. Permanent magnets are used increasingly in technological applications, including traveling wave tubes, Hall Effect sensors, high temperature-resistant permanent magnets, thin-film coating equipment and flywheel storage systems.

In all of these applications, it is important for the designed permanent magnet to be of high strength, resistive to corrosion, and resistive to demagnetization due to excessive heat. Manufacturers have gained experience in designing and producing permanent magnets to meet these needs for industries with permanent magnet and magnetic assembly applications.

There are a number of major families of permanent magnets available for designers, ranging from ferrite, known for its low cost and low energy, to rare earth materials, which are more expensive and offer higher performance. Designers need to analyze magnetizing field strength and magnetic output of magnetic materials prior to deciding on the appropriate magnet.

Permanent magnets today are 60 times as strong as they were about 90 years ago. Strong permanent magnets that can be used in industrial applications were developed in the 20th century, and Japanese and western European researchers and technologies have always played major roles in the development of permanent magnets.

With the heavy reliance on Neo magnets in manufacturing, rare earth (RE) materials neodymium and dysprosium are playing a very important role because of the scarcity of these materials and the dominance of a single country (China) in providing them. The permanent magnet industry will start to see the end of serious RE shortages as new supplies begin to hit the market during 2013 and beyond, with new designs and new materials.


This iRAP report has been prepared to highlight the many new developments in the permanent magnet industry. Many of the market segments are mature, while others are growing at very fast rates. Developing economies such as China and India are also emerging as growth engines for many industries that use permanent magnets. The markets in these new economies are expected to experience maximum revenue growth during the next five years.

Secondly, there are new applications for permanent magnets such as voice coil motors, traveling wave tubes, wind turbine generators, hybrid and pure electric vehicle motors, water turbine generators, thin-film coating equipment and flywheel storage systems applications. These have created the need for a formal analysis of technological and business issues, trends in manufacturing, competitive landscapes and Chinese domination in global markets, as well as factors such as shortages of raw materials used in Neo magnets.

This report has been prepared to:

• provide an overview of the various permanent magnets, their production technologies and applications;

• identify the technological and business issues related to the commercial production of permanent magnets;

• understand the inter-material competition among the various permanent magnets;

• determine the current size and future growth of the global markets for permanent magnets till 2018;

• identify and profile global producers, distributers, fabricators and suppliers of permanent magnets;

• assess new global funding in research of RE-free permanent magnet materials; and

• illustrate US patents in this field that were granted between 2009 and 2013.


Piezoelectric devices, combined with the development of piezoelectric materials, have become a key enabling technology for a wide range of industrial and consumer products. The piezoelectric device market experienced robust growth in last two decades and sustained fairly healthy growth even during the global economic downturns. It will again witness strong growth in the next years, and certain application markets already enjoy double digital growth.

The industrial and manufacturing area is still the largest application market for piezoelectric devices, followed by the automotive industry. However, the strongest demand comes from medical instruments and information and telecommunication, which are gaining ever-increasing importance among piezoelectric device suppliers.

The piezoelectric actuator and motor market is an attractive and still-growing multi-million dollar market characterized by very high production volumes of actuators and motors that must be both extremely reliable and low in cost. Growth in the market continues to be driven by increasing demand in camera phones for autofocus mechanisms, data storage, semiconductors, micro-electronics production, precision mechanics, life science and medical technology, optics, photonics, nanometrology, robots, toys, HVAC control systems, and other applications such as piezo fuel injectors, ink cartridges in printers, micropumps, microgrippers. microsurgery tools and piezoelectric MEMS (piezo MEMS) actuators.

iRAP conducted this study in 2007 and later in 2009. However, with increased demand for these devices, and with improved and emerging technologies as well as applications, iRAP felt a need to conduct a detailed study and update technology developments and markets. The report identifies and evaluates piezoelectric-operated actuators and motors and technologies which show potential growth.


This technical/economic study covers technical and industry overviews, materials, current and emerging production methods, business and technology issues, current and emerging applications, industry structure and an extensive market analysis. Current size and future growth of the global markets are estimated for 2013 and 2018.


This report reviews the technology of permanent magnet materials, types of permanent magnet materials and their applications, and current and anticipated demand for specific materials. For each material segment, the report provides an analysis of material and product types in that category, processing technologies, properties, applications, the global markets and foreign competition.

The qualitative and quantitative judgments embodied in this report are a valuable contribution to the current knowledge of permanent magnets, their manufacturing technologies, applications and markets. Moreover, this study has been conducted at a vital stage when new magnet materials such as neodymium-iron-boron are revolutionizing applications. Because of the miniaturization of electronic components and computers, more powerful and smaller magnets are needed for such applications. This current study identifies all such applications.

Company profiles of all global producers of permanent magnets are covered, along with major distributors, fabricators and a listing of leading consumers of permanent magnets.


This report is directed to companies that are interested in the developments in this field such as:

• companies involved in the development, manufacturing and supplying of advanced materials;

• manufacturers and suppliers of permanent magnets;

• manufacturers and suppliers of systems and subsystems which incorporate permanent magnets;

• manufacturers and suppliers of raw materials for permanent magnets;

• importers and suppliers of permanent magnets;

• users of permanent magnets; and

• advanced materials companies interested in diversification.


The permanent magnet industry has grown in the last decade and is likely to continue this growth into the next decade because of increased usage of magnetic circuit components in a variety of industrial equipment and devices. Electromechanical devices constitute the largest market for permanent magnet materials. This market is growing rapidly. Large motors use ceramic magnets, and, for certain military applications, samarium-cobalt (Sam-Co) is still the preferred magnet.

Applications related to permanent magnet direct current motors – brushless direct current (BLDC) and brush-type (PMDC) – and power generation will be the largest usage segment of neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) permanent magnets, followed by voice coil motors (VCMs) in disk drives, because of the need for reduced size and higher performance. The third major usage segment is hybrid and electric automotive drives. Several rare earth (RE) elements are essential ingredients in the highest performance magnets available in the world today; these magnets have enabled miniaturization and a significant increase in power density in hundreds of applications.

The market experienced a boom in 2011, due to increased demand for RE permanent magnets. But as demand increased, supply chain interruptions resulted in a scarcity of RE permanent magnets. This affected the market adversely, and it plunged in 2012. As the supply of REs became stable, the market became stable, and it is expected to further stabilize in the future.

The permanent magnet market has a large number of small manufacturers coupled with a few medium-sized manufacturers. The market is dominated by Chinese manufacturers. There is a scarcity of manufacturers for rare earth magnets, and they are geographically scattered.

Major findings of this report are:

• The global market for permanent magnets has reached US$11.3 billion in 2013, and is expected to grow to US$ 15 billion by 2018 with a CAGR of 5.7%

• Metallic magnets (combining neodymium-iron-boron, alnico, and samarium-cobalt magnets) dominate the market in 2013, followed by ceramic magnets (ferrites) magnets. A distant third is the bonded magnets.

• In terms of regional demand, the market is large in the Asia-Pacific region, and it is growing at a fast pace due to rising demand from end-user industries, especially in countries such as China and Japan.

• The market is growing slowly in Europe, but will continue to grow at a significant rate in the North America.

• The market is still in its infancy in Africa and Latin America, but these regions are experiencing high growth because of increased infrastructure spending and a low base effect. This market will experience an escalation in the demand of permanent magnets in the years to come.

• The five-year period of 2013 through 2018 will see more of the industry centered in China.

• The U.S. is a net importer of permanent magnets, for as much as 60% of its consumption. However, the U.S. still dominates in high performance magnets used in military and other strategic applications.

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