Soft magnetic materials play a fundamental role in many of the electrical and electronic systems that characterize modern society. These materials are used in applications such as electrical power generation and transmission, electric motors, receipt of radio signals and microwaves, relays, solenoids, magnetic shielding and electromagnets. The properties of the materials used are being continuously improved.
Soft magnetic materials exhibit magnetic properties only when they are subject to a magnetizing force such as the magnetic field created when current is passed through the wire surrounding a soft magnetic core. Soft ferromagnetic materials are generally associated with electrical circuits where they are used to amplify the flux generated by the electric currents. These materials can be used in alternating current (AC) as well as direct current (DC) electrical circuits.
According to the iRAP report Soft Magnetic Materials – Technologies, Materials, Devices, New Developments, Industry Structure and Global Markets, and as reflected here in the Summary Table, “Global Market for Soft Magnetic Materials, 2014-2019”, the 2014 global market for soft magnetic materials stood at about $45.4 billion, and it is estimated to reach $66.6 billion by 2019. The compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) is expected to be 7.9 percent from 2014 to 2019.
The global soft magnetic material industry is a mature industry. However, a new energy paradigm, consisting of greater reliance on renewable energy sources and increased concern for energy efficiency in the total energy life-cycle, has accelerated research into energy-related technologies. New improved materials with higher energy efficiency have been demonstrated for amorphous and nanocrystalline soft magnetic materials. While amorphous steel has been used extensively as the core material for transformers and motors, the emerging nanocrystalline core material has even higher efficiency and will see much higher growth in the future.
The steel segment, which consists of electrical steel, cold-rolled lamination steel, and amorphous steel, has the largest market share followed ceramic soft ferrite. In terms of growth rates in dollar values, amorphous steel is expected to have the fastest growth rate followed by soft ferrites and other steels.
In terms of regional demand, Asia’s demand for electrical steel has increased astronomically. It is the only region in the world that increased consumption of electrical steel from 2008 and will see growth to 2019. Electrical steel is of great importance in China and India due to increasing energy consumption, concomitant with their strong economic growth. Not only are China and India putting new transformers into use, they are also replacing older transformers to improve grid reliability. Both are seeking higher efficiency, grain-oriented steels to reduce energy losses.
In terms of industry structure, China now is the largest soft magnetic materials producer in the world due to its low cost, highly trained labor force and vast raw materials.
More details of the report are available from Innovative Research and Products (iRAP), Inc., visit http://www.innoresearch.net/reportlist.aspx?cid=10.