PM Review Autumn/Fall 2021

Page 99

SMCs for the EV revolution

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Designing AC motors for the electric vehicle revolution? Forget laminations, think Soft Magnetic Composites In the field of AC motor design, Powder Metallurgy soft magnetic composites offer a viable alternative to the lamination assemblies that have, until now, been the norm. A major potential application area for the PM industry, they offer reduced core losses and higher efficiencies. However, comparing the DC performance of these materials, or relying on Epstein Frame testing of SMC structures against individual sheets of lamination steel, can suggest otherwise. To counter this misleading data, Horizon Technology’s Francis Hanejko, Jennifer Thorwart and Phil McDonald present test data comparing lamination assemblies to press and heat treated SMC assemblies for motor stators and AC electrical devices.

A new era has dawned in engine design – one in which the ‘sun’ around which the industry revolves is the electrification of automobiles, and seemingly everything else you can stick an electric motor in. In Europe and elsewhere, engine design is centred around improving efficiency to meet carbon emissions standards. And, of course, every engine designer wants to be the next to take the worldwide lead in general performance levels. Specific to alternating current (AC) motor design, there are two ways to approach the future of electrification from a material/ process standpoint. One is to work around the limitations of traditional electrical steel laminations, which for decades have been the standard for motor component designers. The other option? If you’re designing for an AC electromagnetic product, that means using an emerging material group called soft magnetic composites (SMC).

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SMCs, and Powder Metallurgy as a whole, have understandably faced some scepticism from OEMs who have been sticking with ‘what works’ for 100 years or more. In the hope of addressing some of that scepticism, this article will present

test data on lamination assemblies produced via welding and mechanical joining vs press and heat treated SMC assemblies. In doing so, it will show that SMCs are a viable alternative for the production of motor stators and AC electrical devices with reduced

Fig. 1 Horizon Technology, Pennsylvania, USA, has been conducting extensive R&D in the area of electric motor design incorporating PM for the past five years

Autumn/Fall 2021

Powder Metallurgy Review

99