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Permanent magnet motor market heads above $45bn

15 January, 2015

Global sales of permanent magnet (PM) motors will expand at an average annual rate of 11.7% over the coming six years to reach $45.3bn by 2020. A new report, from Allied Market Research, says that industry is witnessing a shift from induction motors to PM machines, driven by factors such as the PM motors’ high efficiencies and power densities, their simple construction, and their durability.

The study suggests that the PM motor market has recovered its losses and regained its stability, following the disruption to the permanent magnet supply chain that occurred in 2012 when China, the world’s largest producer of the rare-earth materials, hiked its prices for these materials which are key to high-power permanent magnets.

The report, Global Permanent Magnet Motor Market - Size, Industry Analysis, Trends, Opportunities, Growth and Forecast, 2014-2020, covers both AC and DC PM motors. The former are mainly used in industrial applications, while the main market for the latter is the automotive sector. Factory automation is the sector that generates the highest revenues for PM motors globally.

The report says that new markets are opening up for PM machines in areas such as robotics and transport. For instance, in September 2014, Toshiba launched the world's first train propulsion system to be based on totally-enclosed permanent magnet synchronous motors and silicon carbide (SiC) variable voltage and frequency traction inverters. This system is now being used on the Tokyo Metro, and is cutting its power consumption by up to 37%. The easy-to-maintain PM motors have a rated efficiency of 97%, compared to 90% for conventional induction motors used on trains.

New market: Toshiba's PM synchronous motor and SiC inverter for railway traction applications

According to Allied, Neodymium-based magnets are the most widely used type of permanent magnet for motors because of their moderate cost and ability to operate at high temperatures. It predicts that the use of neodymium magnets will grow at a CAGR of 10.8% during the forecast period from 2014–2020.

The presence of a large number of PM motor manufacturers in the Asia-Pacific region is generating significant revenues for the PM motors market in this region, compared to other parts of the world. China is the leading manufacturer of permanent magnets and it produces PM motors at a lower cost than other countries, the report says.

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