Vacuumschmelze develops new cobalt-iron magnetic alloy for motors

A new cobalt-iron magnetic alloy material for electric vehicle motors and other applications has been developed by Vacuumschmelze, building on its expertise in making lightweight high-power alloys for race cars and aircraft. 

The company says that its Vacoflux X1 material closes the gap between electrical steel and materials with a high cobalt content, enabling engineers with a new tool for achieving high power and low weight. “We are delighted to be able to make motorsport technologies available to a wider audience with this groundbreaking material,” says Norman Lemm, head of business intelligence & communication.  

Laminations of cobalt-iron alloys are often used for high-performance electrical drives in aviation and motor sports where typically 20-30 percent higher power densities can be reached compared to electrical steel, he explained. But for long the technology transfer to premium vehicles or high-performance industrial applications has not made sense due to economic reasons. The new material enables engineers to adapt cobalt-iron to a broad range of applications. 

Its advantages were demonstrated in a comparative study conducted by the Swiss company drivetek ag. The basis of the study was a traction machine with an output of 250 kW. The design aimed at the highest possible torque density. With the new alloy, torque increases of up to 12.5% compared to Grade 20 non-oriented electrical steel (NO20) were achieved. It was not necessary to adapt the rotor, so effort for the qualification of the new material is negligible, since no recalculation and optimization of the rotor strength are necessary. 

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