A magnet is an object made of a hard magnetic material (large persistent fields and high coercive excitation). This allows it to achieve particular properties such as the ability to exert an attraction force towards any other type of ferromagnetic material.
The industrial magnets can be divided into two main categories:
- The magnets non-permanent ( electromagnets that require an external power source and are electrified to be magnetic);
- The magnets permanent (the ceramic magnets such as ferrites, alnico magnets and rare earths).
The two most important specifications for industrial magnets are the powerhouse and the strength of lifting . Industrial magnets come in many forms: blocks, bars, flexible sheets, powder, discs, spheres, poles etc.
The electro - magnets are used in industry for solenoid valves, AC and DC motors or biomagnetic separation. For permanent magnets, ceramic magnets have the lowest magnetic power and are more easily breakable, but their production cost is by far the lowest. The market is volatile and experienced a phase of depression before 2011 but seems to be back on a growth path. The China concentrates three quarters of the market, making the rest of the world almost dependent on its production. They are used for non-structural applications in motors and magnetic tools . Rare earth magnets are more expensive to produce but are much more powerful and retain their magnetism better than ferrite magnets. They are used in industry to carry and remove motors, loudspeakers and detectors. In the permanent magnet market, growth will be the most important for l´aimant neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB). Ferrites will grow reasonably, Alnico will decline and l´aimant Samarium Cobalt (SmCo) will increase moderately.
Worldwide sales of magnetic materials amount to more than 11 billion USD. The market for magnetic materials is thus growing and becoming more global. The China has established itself as world leader in the sector, it holds a near monopoly by producing 75% of the world's magnet quantities in rare earth. This domination leads Japan to be dependent on China, especially for the manufacture of car engines. As a result, Toyota has been working on an engine model using more electromagnets. In addition, for fear of shortages, market volatility and recycling concerns, the various players in the sector are trying to reduce their dependence on and use of rare earths. Although China has tried to introduce export quotas for its magnetic materials, complaints against it have forced it to withdraw its quotas. In addition, countries such as the United States and some African countries have tried to gain a foothold in the market after discovering magnetic material deposits in their countries, but without success, mainly due to a lack of investment and returns. In France the leaders are Saint-Gobain Solcera , Andrin , Alstom and Solvay France The largest company in the magnet market is American, it is Walker Magnetics .
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