Materials developer Elkem has developed an iron silicon powder, a soft magnetic material, suitable for additive manufacturing of electric motor components.
The company notes that 3D printing larger motor components has proven difficult to date, with parts tending to be brittle, and that the new material will address this. The powder material was developed via the EU-funded SOMA project (Lightweight solutions for e-mobility by AM for soft magnetic alloys), with project partners VTT (coordinator), Siemens, Stellantis and Gemmate Technologies.
“The powder developed in the SOMA project will now be introduced to the market by Elkem for evaluating the product for future commercial production. The product is currently available in small test volumes,” said Jan Ove Odden, project leader at Elkem.
The powder is produced in a small-scale pilot atomizer, located in Kristiansand at the Future Materials, Norwegian Catapult Centre. So far, the powder has been used to 3D-print components for evaluation of the quality and manufacturing of demo devices. The 3D printing and part qualification has been done at VTT in Finland and Siemens in Germany.
The final use-case was to produce a motor for an electric scooter. The use-case was supported by modeling carried out by Gemmate-Technologies and VTT.
“This is a project with potential to transform motor parts manufacturing. We have successfully created a new specialized powder with good printability based on silicon-steel (with additives). 3D-printed components show enhanced ductility and competitive magnetic properties,” said Tomi Lindroos, research team leader at VTT.