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4, APRIL 2014

2004304

in Modern Electric Machines and Devices

Andreas Schoppa and Patrice Delarbre

Research and Development, PMG Fssen GmbH, Fssen 87629, Germany

Powder metallurgical manufacture has the singular ability to produce net shaped products (gear box parts and motor parts) for

the automobile industry. Soft magnetic composite (SMC) powder coupled with the P/M production process open new possibilities in

the design and manufacture of parts for electrical applications. With increasing values of operating frequency, the use of SMC can

contribute to a substantial decrease of specific core losses of the machine, simultaneously increasing its total efficiency. In contrast

to laminated cores, the manufacturing process of SMCs does not influence their final magnetic properties. These properties are

homogenous and do not change after assembly of the motor. New SMC materials can outperform current laminated steel materials

when measurements are done in the same conditions with similar samples. Many of the existing prejudices about the magnetic

properties of SMC can thus be eliminated or attenuated if we respect its optimal use in adequate applications.

Index Terms Electric machines, frequency, powdered magnetic materials, soft magnetic materials.

I. I NTRODUCTION

power density electric motors bring new challenges to the

laminated motor construction. It is well known that traditional

laminated motor construction is limited to 2-D magnetic

flux to minimize losses in the direction perpendicular to the

steel lamination. In contrast, the topologies of the transversal

flux motors require very complex 3-D magnetizing directions

where the use of electrical steels is often not practicable [1].

In addition, the use of conventional electrical steels is generally limited to medium frequency values <1000 Hz. With a

very high specific electric resistivity, soft magnetic composite

(SMC) materials act as insulators to the classical eddy current

and thus provide overall low specific core losses. The use of

SMC becomes interesting at frequency values >500 Hz [2] and

can increase the power density of electric machines. A relevant

example is the product line DYNAX of Compact Dynamics

GmbH. These SMC-based transversal flux machines can reach

power values of 2540 kW, torque of 80 Nm, and speed

of 10 000 r/min. Because of the small size and low weight

(1014 kg), these machines can be used as drives for small

electric vehicles or as generators in hybrid solutions. The

stators of these machines are technically feasible only by the

use of SMC, Fig. 1.

Powder metallurgical manufacture has the singular ability

to produce near net shaped products (gear box parts and

motor parts) for the automobile industry. SMC materials

coupled with the P/M production process open new possibilities in the design and manufacture of parts for electrical

applications.

It is a matter of common knowledge that the magnetic properties of electromagnetic components depend strongly on their

manufacturing process [3][5]. In the case of electrical steels,

Manuscript received July 26, 2013; revised September 24, 2013; accepted

November 5, 2013. Date of current version April 4, 2014. Corresponding

author: A. Schoppa (e-mail: andreas.schoppa@pmgsinter.com).

Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available

online at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.

Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TMAG.2013.2290135

Fig. 1. SMC stator of the transversal flux machine DYNAX 60i manufactured

by Compact Dynamics GmbH.

of laminations (automatic stacking, riveting, welding, etc.),

and pressing into the motor frame. These processing steps

cause an interior deformation of the material resulting in

deterioration of magnetic properties [6]. This deterioration can

be considerable in dependence on the size, air gap, and the

operating range of the electric machine.

Manufacturing of SMC-based magnetic components occurs

in conventional powder metal processing, which is well established for high-volume manufacturing of net shape or near net

shape complex products [7]. SMC use a processing sequence

as follows:

1) mixing of powder with lubricant or binder;

2) compacting;

3) curing at relatively low temperatures (200 C650 C).

Since the SMC-based magnetic cores obtain their final shape

after compacting and their final magnetic and mechanical

0018-9464 2014 IEEE. Personal use is permitted, but republication/redistribution requires IEEE permission.

See http://www.ieee.org/publications_standards/publications/rights/index.html for more information.

2004304

core loss at J = 1 T of electrical steel grade M330-35A [9].

Fig. 2.

Influence of sample geometry (Epstein versus toroidal) on the

magnetizing behavior of electrical steel grade M330-35A.

magnetic properties after manufacturing process.

II. M ETHODS OF M AGNETIC M EASUREMENTS

For magnetic measurements of electrical steels, the Epstein

method is widely used. This standardized method is applied

on sheet samples, which are cut longitudinal and perpendicular to the rolling direction of the steel strip. The Epstein

method was developed exclusively for quality reasons and

ignores the negative influence of manufacturing process of

electric components on their magnetic properties. To correlate these properties measured on Epstein samples with

a real motor, the designers apply various correction factors

for different types of electric machines as a solution to this

problem.

In contrast, the magnetic properties of SMC are typically

measured on compacted and annealed rings, considering all

magnetizing directions.

To ensure a fair comparison between the magnetic properties of electrical steels and SMC, the measurements were

done on samples with the same geometry (toroidal samples;

OD = 55 mm, ID = 45 mm, and thickness = 5 mm).

The influence of geometry on magnetic properties of electrical steel grade M330-35A is shown in Figs. 2 and 3.

of 0.200.35 mm confirm this tendency.

III. M AGNETIC L OSSES OF SMC IN C OMPARISON W ITH

E LECTRICAL S TEELS AT E LEVATED F REQUENCIES

The distribution of magnetic losses in SMC cores deviates

from the behavior in laminated cores because of a different

structure of ferromagnetic material components. Because of

specific microscopic structure of SMC (Fig. 4), their hysteresis

losses are higher than the hysteresis losses of electrical steels.

In contrast, the amount of dynamic losses is lower for SMC

materials. This is a result of high specific electric resistivity

of SMC cores. For high values of (according to own

measurements of SMC is 3 103 1.3 104 higher than

of electrical steels), the amount of classical eddy-current losses

of SMC in comparison with electrical steels, according to [8]

Pe =

( B f d)2

6

(1)

thickness (m), is the density (kg/m3), and is the specific

electric resistivity ( m) which is very low.

The specific core loss of standard electrical steel grades used

traditionally at elevated frequencies: M330-35A, M270-35A,

and NO20 were compared with SMC grades Siron S280b,

Siron S300b, Siron S360, Siron S400b, and Siron S720

manufactured by PMG Fssen GmbH. The results at J = 1 T

are shown in Fig. 5.

SCHOPPA AND DELARBRE: SMPCs AND POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS IN MODERN ELECTRIC MACHINES AND DEVICES

Fig. 4.

2004304

materials (SIRON manufactured by PMG Fssen GmbH) at f = 1000 Hz [9].

and the resulting lower density of ferromagnetic element iron

(Fe) in comparison with electrical steels is a reason for lower

permeability of SMC. The designers, however, have to decide

whether this fact is relevant for the calculated magnetic circuit

because of the resulting ratio between the iron path and the

air gap. Fig. 6 shows the permeability of tested materials

as measured and Fig. 7 under consideration of an air gap

(1 mm = 0.6%) according to the simplified equation [8]

Fig. 5. Comparison of frequency behavior between selected SMC grades

and electrical steels at J = 1 T [9].

nominal thickness of comparable electrical steel and can vary

for the typical commercial grades between 500 and 1500 Hz.

Therefore, the application of SMC becomes interesting for

machines operating at elevated frequency or for machines with

a substantial amount of higher harmonics.

IV. M AGNETIZATION P ROCESS OF SMC IN C OMPARISON

W ITH E LECTRICAL S TEELS

The magnetization process of SMC is hindered by the

typical structure of SMC including pores. The electrical steels

have a smooth microstructure with some minor impurities but

1

1

r

lL

l Fe

r is the relative permeability of soft magnetic material, lL is

the length of air gap, and lFe is the length of (soft) magnetic

path (e.g., Fe).

According to this equation, the difference between the

permeability of SMC and of electrical steel becomes negligible

with increasing length of the air gap. For typical transversal

flux motors and machines with permanent magnet excitation,

the resulting air gap is substantially higher than for, e.g.,

asynchronous machines, decreasing the significance of permeability of applied soft magnetic materials.

In addition, the advantage of higher permeability

of electrical steels becomes substantially reduced with

2004304

the net shaping possibilities allow us to introduce new 3-D

design solutions with minimal iron losses and optimized

copper winding. The ongoing development in the area of

SMCs proceeds as follows:

1) improvement of magnetizing behavior;

2) improvement of saturation polarization;

3) shifting of transition point of the eddy-current loss

(see Fig. 6) to lower the values of frequency;

4) optimal choice of application according to the relevance

of permeability;

5) improvement of mechanical strength.

These improvements are accomplished through optimization

of the compacting and curing process as well as the addition

of special binders or lubricants.

VI. C ONCLUSION

materials (SIRON manufactured by PMG Fssen GmbH) at f = 1000 Hz

under consideration of 0.6% air gap in magnetic circuit according to (2) [9].

electric machines, a combination of all factors has to be considered: operating frequency, permeability, and the air gap of

the magnetic circuit, to achieve the best possible performance.

V. SMC AS A LTERNATIVE M ATERIAL

FOR E LECTRIC A PPLICATIONS

In comparison with widely used electrical steels, SMCs

have advantages making them suitable for special topologies

of electric machines. These advantages are as follows.

1) High power density by 3-D magnetic flux conduction.

2) Lower core losses at elevated frequencies in comparison

with electrical steel.

3) Good formability complex shapes can be directly compacted without destroying the material structure and

resulting deterioration of magnetic properties.

Since the magnetic cores obtain their final shape after

compacting and their final magnetic and mechanical properties

after curing, they can be immediately wound with wires and

assembled into the motor frame. This enables the magnetic

core manufacturer to scale the design, and simplify both the

core winding geometry, and the motor manufacturing process.

for high-efficiency motor applications. Simultaneously, new

applications requiring high operating frequencies are becoming more relevant and available. SMCs are the upcoming

development in the powder metallurgy offering optimal magnetic properties at elevated frequencies and contributing to the

increase of the power density and miniaturization of electric

machines. This makes SMC perfect for applications with

limited space, e.g., in the automotive industry, robotics, or

selected home appliances. In these fields of electrical applications, SMC can even outperform the commercially available

electrical steels.

R EFERENCES

[1] O. Anderson and P. Hofecker, Advances in soft magnetic composites

Materials and applications, in Proc. Int. Conf. Powder Metallurgy

Particulate Mater., Las Vegas, NV, USA, 2009, pp. 112.

[2] A. Bhm and I. Hahn, Comparison of soft magnetic composite (SMC)

and electrical steel, in Proc. 2nd Int. EDPC, Nuremberg, Germany,

Oct. 2012, pp. 229234.

[3] A. Schoppa, Influence of the manufacturing process on the magnetic

properties of non-oriented electrical steel, Ph.D. dissertation, Aachen,

Germany, 2001.

[4] W. Deprez, J. Schneider, T. Kochmann, F. Henrotte, and K. Hameyer,

Influence of the manufacturing process on the magnetic properties of

electrical steel in E-cores, in Proc. SMM Conf., Dsseldorf, Germany,

2003, pp. 167171.

[5] H. Harstick and W. Riehemann, Influence of punching and tool wear

on the magnetic properties of non-oriented electrical steel, soft magnetic

materials, in Proc. Conf. SMM, Budapest, Hungary, 2013, p. 126.

[6] K. Hameyer, D. van Riesen, and F. Henrotte, About the modelling of the

magnetic circuit and the ferromagnetic materials in electrical machines,

in Proc. WMM, Freiberg, Germany, 2004, paper no. 19.

[7] Y. Guo, J. G. Zhu, J. J. Zhong, and W. Wu, Core losses in claw

pole permanent magnet machines with soft magnetic composite stators,

IEEE Trans. Magn., vol. 39, no. 5, pp. 31993201, Sep. 2003.

[8] R. Boll, Soft Magnetic Materials. Hanau, Germany: Vacuumschmelze,

1990.

[9] A. Schoppa, P. Delarbre, and A. Schatz, Optimal use of soft magnetic powder composites (SMC) in electric machines, in Proc. Int.

Conf. Powder Metallurgy Particulate Mater., Chicago, IL, USA, 2013,

pp. 10-13010-139.

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