Soft Magnetic Composites
Our value to customers
Competition is fierce for electric motor designs that meet specific performance and size requirements.
To develop robust electric motor designs, manufacturers can leverage our powder metallurgy expertise and advanced technology in Soft Magnetic Composite (SMC) materials. Our expertise drives results in:
- Transverse flux motors (TFM)
- Axial flux motors (AFM)
- High power density applications
- High torque density applications
About Soft Magnetic Composites
SMC materials are made of pure iron powder particles. The material's particles have an electrically isolating coating which remains actives even after pressing and curing. Because of the material's high electrical resistance, SMCs allow for low eddy-current losses in electromagnetic applications. Each particle has an isolation coating, meaning the material is three dimensional and isotropic, providing full 3D motor design freedom.
These advancements in SMCs eliminate the need for the laminate steel sheet structure in a conventional motor design.
With SMC's material properties and GKN Powder Metallurgy's advanced e-motor development support center, our customers can create three dimensional designs in a compact form.
SMCs create unparalleled advantages for electric motor designs:
- Three-dimensional design capability to meet complex requirements
- Compact designs create space and weight savings
- Unique material to meet high power and torque density
- Lean manufacturing processes and design development to create cost savings
The Fleat Pump meets requirements for a small motor that delivers in high torque and power and integrates the pump’s heating function into the motor.Find out more
Benefit from our expertise
3D isotropic material
SMCs are made up of pure iron particles with high electrical resistance and three-dimensional design capability. What does this mean for applications?
- Full 3D motor design freedom is possible
- Innovative motor concepts are implemented
High torque density and power density
SMCs allow e-motor manufacturers to make complete use of design space to maximize torque and power requirements. The transverse flux motor for a direct drive application showcases these results against conventional motors:
- 20% higher peak torque
- 40% higher constant torque
- 20% greater range of efficiency
- 20% smaller motor diameter
Due to the advancements in the motor design and lower iron losses from SMC's material properties, electric motors increase efficiency greater than conventional motor designs.
Expert development support
Our dedicated team provides support from concept development to full production capabilities. Choosing GKN Powder Metallurgy means benefiting from:
- 3D-electromagnetic simulation for powder metallurgy-specific optimization
- Designs for manufacturers and the ability for creative redesigns
- Material development opportunities
- In-house prototyping and benchmarking
- Serial production-focused development
Advanced press technology
GKN Powder Metallurgy leads the industry in advanced press technology that enables mass production of products with complex designs and geometries. Our global locations are equipped to specialize in the SMC composite.
Our team has the capacity and support needed for the complete product development, from the motor's design concept to the production of SMC-based products.
Electric motor design challenges
Compromising space for efficiency
Conventional electric motor designs can meet performance requirements, but typically require additional space to do so. New electric motor designs need to balance both performance and size specifications. Automotive manufacturers continue to target reduced size and weight of applications, so engineers must pack the highest efficiency in the smallest functional design.
With powder metallurgy and SMC materials, space and weight are significantly reduced with compact design possibilities.
Conventionally featured in electric motors, lamination steel sheets are made from an anisotropic material with a 2D isolation layer. With this, there are lower iron losses only at a low and mid frequency, but it is not ideal for high frequency. The lamination steel sheets are only feasible with two dimensional designs, limiting the engineer's capabilities.
With SMC materials, engineers benefit from a 3D isotropic material that experiences lower iron losses even at a high frequency.
Efficiency for high torque
Conventional motor designs show a decrease in efficiency once torque increases to a higher operating level. Engineers face the challenge to create motor designs that keep efficiency levels high even if torque is increased.
Proven through a transverse flux motor case study of an e-bike application, GKN Powder Metallurgy's motor design can double the efficiency of a traditional motor design once torque levels are reached, especially at low speeds.
How to choose a qualified electric motor supplier
Unconventional requirements in the automotive manufacturing industry require innovative design solutions from experienced suppliers.
As customer requirements continue to evolve, traditional designs and processes will fall short of exceeding the specifications of these new challenges. While SMC technology presents opportunities to transform electric motor designs, manufacturers must choose suppliers with a robust portfolio and experience in serial production excellence.
GKN Powder Metallurgy presents the unique combination of powder metal experience with an forward-thinking team of engineers who are eager to create custom opportunities for manufacturers. As an advanced SMC supplier, our dedicated R&D team has designed applicable solutions for transverse flux motors and axial flux motors that meet power/torque density and efficiency requirements in compact designs.
Choosing an experienced powder metallurgy supplier for electric motors will ease the entire manufacturing process:
- Large suppliers can leverage their global footprint for cross-functional collaboration and production needs
- Powder metallurgy suppliers have substantial experience in conversions, compact designing, and material properties
- Select suppliers, like GKN Powder Metallurgy, have the capacity to support the complete development of new solutions, from concept to production