Project Name An innovative manufacturing Technology for Magnets
Project Acronym ANATEMA
Partner name PoliTO: Polytechnic of Turin, Materials Science and Chemical Engineering Department
CNR ISM: National Research Council, Matter Structure Institute - Rome - Italy
INRIM: National Metrology Research Institute - Turin - Italy
METEC: Transfer Tecnology - Turin - Italy
TECOS: Slovenian Tool and Die Development Centre
Start date January 2nd 2011
End date December 31th 2014 Closed
The main goal of ANATEMA (from ancient Greek ἀνά - above and τίθημι - to put, to cast) is the development of innovative production processes for production of magnets for high end applications.
The specific innovation objectives of the present proposal, consistent with the goal, are two: the experimentation of a radically new technology, the Inkjet Printing (IjP), for the production of permanent magnets with extremely high energy product, for unprecedented efficiency electrical motors / generators and the introduction of the improved Powder Injection Moulding (PIM) manufacturing technology for the production of permanent magnets with particular complex shapes.
The main production methods so far industrialized can be classified as powder metallurgy processes. The microcrystalline structure of biphasic alloys obtained in this way is not sufficient to reach the theoretical performances estimated in scientific literature, while having a nanostructured material with a careful control of the shape and size of the hard phase inclusions would lead to a great increment in performances.
The manufacturing technology here proposed to solve these problems is IjP, used to produce a stacked structure of biphasic lamellae (soft material alternated to the hard one); all intellectual properties concerning this innovation have been previously protected by A. Chiolerio and P. Allia with the Italian patent TO2008A000462, later extended as PCT international application PCT/IB2009/052502.
The IjP manufacturing process has the advantage of a complete control of the biphasic material at the nanometric lamellar structure level, allowing the volume fraction of rare-earth based, hard alloys to be limited to the theoretically expected values.
This means a better performing, lower cost final product and a lower content of expensive rare-earth raw materials.
The results of current research show that application of PIM in manufacturing of magnets with complex shapes is possible but requires further optimisation of injection moulding, sintering and thermomagnetic treatment processes and also of the debinding procedure.
Especially market needs for NdFeb magnets produced with PIM process are increasing rapidly. Market for other plastic bonded magnets is also increasing. For successful production of such magnets it is necessary to master initial material properties and properties of production process.
The following main innovations will be delivered regarding PIM manufacturing process: development of an optimized system in virtual environment for the establishment of robust PIM production processes; design and development of smart moulds for PIM process with integrated sensors and actuators for extreme precision; introduction of improved coatings for increasing mould and machine (screw) life; development of PIM process for production of micro magnets.