RE-Fe-B powders are largely based upon Nd-Fe-B or Nd-Pr-Fe-B alloy compositions for the manufacture of bonded magnets. They are produced by Magnequench by employing a proprietary rapid solidification process followed by a milling process and heat treatment. By substituting iron and/or rare earth materials with other specific elements, both magnetic and mechanical properties can be tailored to specific application requirements.
For example, by including niobum into an alloy system, the resultant magnetic powder will display improved high-temperature characteristics, critical for certain automotive applications. Moreover, certain compositions are also designed to include lower cost rare earth materials like Lanthanum and Cerium, which are well-suited for cost sensitive applications.
Neo powder is ultimately incorporated into numerous end market applications that utilize Neo magnets. These
products are primarily motors and sensors used in a range of products, including computer and office equipment (e.g. hard disk drive and optical disk drive motors and fax, copier and printer stepper motors), consumer electronics (e.g. personal video recorders and mp3 music players) and automotive and industrial applications (e.g. instrument panel motors and air bag sensors). In 2005, the total bonded Neo market size was approximately 4,000 metric tons and the market share held by Magnequench was approximately 83%.
Neo powder is also increasingly used in applications that require higher performance, smaller size, greater efficiencies, and/or reduced costs, than that which can be achieved with ferrite magnets. Examples of such “ferrite replacement” applications include air conditioner fan motors, power tool motors, automotive seat motors and many others. As outlined in the paper, Replacing Ferrite with Bonded Neo, Neo powder provides motor designers the opportunity to optimize many facets of an application.