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Strategic permanent magnets that make more economical use of critical materials

​The Poudr'Innov powder metallurgy platform is ramping up its strip-casting process for magnetic-phase synthesis, positioning Liten, a CEA Tech institute, as a leading developer of high-performance permanent magnets.

Published on 6 January 2020

​Liten's Poudr'Innov platform is home to an end-to-end powder metallurgy pilot line that handles all process steps, from mixing alloys to compacting to sintering. The line is used to study all stages in the development of NdFeB-type permanent magnets. In 2012, the platform acquired industrial-scale equipment specific to the manufacturing of permanent magnets with the goal of helping to reduce, reuse, and replace the rare-earth minerals they contain. Permanent magnets are strategic to the continued expansion of electric mobility and to the energy transition.


The magnetic phase is prepared by strip casting the alloy—a process step that Liten masters particularly well. It is this crucial process step that determines the final magnet's composition, microstructure, and—as a result—magnetic performance. Liten can perform tests on runs of 15 kg to 20 kg, large enough to be representative of actual manufacturing conditions for industrial companies seeking to use new materials that are lower in rare-earth minerals, recycle end-of-lifecycle products through short-loop recycling, or bring innovation to electric machines through the additive manufacturing of magnets. Liten has built an international reputation in this field and is engaged in a number of EU projects that aim to reduce dependency on rare-earth minerals in permanent magnets through targeted innovations at the different stages of the value chain

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