Magnets in the Automotive Industry

Recently, advancements in the automotive industry force manufacturers to respond to the swiftly increasing need to produce vehicle control systems that are more sophisticated, use less fuel, and produce lower emissions.

As a consequence, there has been a significant increase in the complexity of vehicle electrical control systems which has risen the demand for powerful automotive magnets used in the manufacture of automotive actuators and drives. This has resulted in the need for rare earth metals and the production of compact and powerful samarium cobalt (SmCo) and neodymium (NdFeB) magnets. These can be formed into complex shapes and geometries.

Strong competition has stimulated the development of very sophisticated automotive magnets in the industry.

Goudsmit’s ISO9001 quality, TS16949 automotive accreditation and AS9100c Aerospace accreditation) can be utilized to provide quality components and solutions for the automotive industry.

Lately, the shift in vehicle control systems from mechanical, pneumatic, and hydraulic control towards electrical control have inspired the need for magnets in motors, sensors and actuators to help drastically improve vehicle control systems. The applications of which have been detailed below;

  • Actuators: Brakes, cruise control, doors, fuel injectors, suspension, and vents.
  • Motors: Alternators, drive motors, fans, power steering, starters, seat motors and windscreen wipers.
  • Sensors: ABS speed sensors, air bags, engine control, position sensors, and seat belt sensors.

There are hundreds of magnets used in vehicles, and therefore Goudsmit Magnetics has an array of design capabilities, analysis software, assembly techniques and application experience to help with component design.

In addition to this, other factors that have also contributed towards the increased demand for automotive magnets include the growing complexity of vehicles, the trend towards vehicle autonomy and the move towards hybrid and electric vehicles.

It should be noted that although traditional ferrite magnets are favored by many manufacturers, the demand in special magnets for cars has increased the need for compact high-performance magnets. These include neodymium magnets, samarium magnets (SmCo) and aluminium-nickel-cobalt magnets (Alnico).

Although these modern magnetic materials are powerful, many are sensitive to temperature. For example, the most powerful neodymium magnets, NdFeB, lose their magnetism at 80°C. By changing the alloy composition, it is possible to increase the maximum magnet operating temperature to around 250 °C. This is despite a reduction in magnetic strength will occur.

There is a wide spectrum of assembly methods which include mechanical, gluing, heat staking, welding, brazing, and molding. The method of manufacture chosen depends upon the final application of the magnet. Cost, field strength, shape and temperature must be considered when choosing an assembly method.

Marc Teeuwen of Goudsmit Magnetics explains that ‘Magnetic measurements give automotive suppliers the guarantees they need,’ he continues ‘Firstly, for ourselves, because these measurements are simply a standard part of the ISO/TS process, and above all for our customers in the automotive industry.’

These measurements are used to calculate what is called a Cpk value which is necessary to guarantee a reliable magnet for products such as actuators, sensors, and electric motors. The Cpk value is part of the statistical process which provides information about how well the manufacturer controls their process. In short, the higher the Cpk value, the more control the magnet supplier has. Goudsmit Magnetics boasts that this makes the statistical chance of non-conforming products negligible.

The automotive industry will continue to demand new and better magnets for cars capable of high performance under difficult conditions. Therefore, the continuous development of better ways to supply high-performance magnets for the automotive industry is imperative. Goudsmit Magnetics is known to be a leader in the field regarding technological innovation, production capability and efficiency.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Goudsmit Magnetics Group.

For more information on this source, please visit Goudsmit Magnetics Group.

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