Are Neodymium Magnets Expensive?
Neodymium magnets are taking over the magnet market with their versatility. The demand for these magnets increased year after year and has since been exponential increase in demands. With the many uses and applications it poses, it is important also to ask the price of one neodymium magnet. This article discusses the costs of a neodymium magnet while comparing it to the market.
What are Neodymium Magnets?
Before we go into depth about neodymium magnets, let us first understand what they are and how they came into existence.
Neodymium is the fourth rare earth element in the lanthanide family. The periodic table indicates that it has an atomic number of 60. Unexpectedly, neodymium ranks as the 27th most frequent element in the Earth’s crust despite neither naturally occurring in metallic form nor unmixed with other lanthanides. The most well-known rare earth magnets are made of neodymium, boron, and iron alloys. Neodymium is magnetic and specifically antiferromagnetic in its pure state, but only at temperatures lower than 19 K (254.2 °C; 425.5 °F). Their maximum recommended operating temperature, resistance to demagnetization, temperature coefficients, and magnetic field output strength are used to classify them. There is a classification scheme for sintered NdFeB magnets that is recognized worldwide. They range in value from 28 to 52. Neodymium, or sintered NdFeB magnets, are indicated by the initial N before the values. Letters that represent intrinsic coercivity and maximum operating temperatures are listed after the numbers. These vary from the default (up to 80 °C or 176 °F) to the TH (230 °C or 446 °F) and are connected to the Curie temperature. A greater number indicates a stronger magnet. However, compared to all other types of magnets, all neodymium magnets exhibit amazing magnetization, independent of gradation. Due to their high saturation magnetization and resistance to demagnetization, neodymium magnets are incredibly powerful.
How were Neodymium Magnets Discovered?
The first neodymium magnet was created by Austrian scientist and inventor Dr. Carl Auer von Welsbach in 1885 by splitting didymium into the novel elements neodymium (“new didymium”) and praseodymium (“green didymium”). The elements’ original names were later changed to neodymium and praseodymium, respectively. On June 18, 1885, Dr. von Welsbach presented his innovations to the Vienna Academy of Sciences. Most scientists reacted to it with skepticism rather than enthusiasm. Auer von Welsbach’s finding was backed by Robert Bunsen, who also invented the Bunsen burner, but many other chemists disregarded him. The breakthroughs made by Dr. von Welsbach weren’t appreciated for more than a century. The material used to create neodymium magnets, neodymium-iron-boron alloy, or Nd2Fe14B, was first used in 1982. General Motors (GM) and Sumitomo Special Metals developed the Nd2Fe14B combination in response to the escalating expense of the key component for cobalt and samarium permanent magnets. Magnequench, a product of General Motors, debuted in 1986 and eventually merged with Molycorp. GM developed and marketed melt-spun nanocrystalline isotropic Neo powder to produce bound Neo magnets. Sumitomo Special Metals, a branch of Hitachi Corporation, developed and is now manufacturing full-density sintered Nd2Fe14B magnets under license for other businesses. Currently, Hitachi is the owner of more than 600 neodymium magnet-related patents. Due to its abundant availability of rare earth ores, China is now a prominent manufacturer of Neodymium magnets worldwide. They manufacture over 87% of the world’s neodymium magnets.
As the worldwide market turns to longer-lasting and more inventive items, neodymium magnets are finding more and more applications. The need for permanent magnets in conventional and electric vehicles drives the market’s expansion. The demand for these goods is anticipated to increase as the middle-class population expands, which will help the market expand. Additionally, it is anticipated that, over time, consumer demand for electrical and electronic products will support market growth. In a recent analysis, Grand View Research, Inc. predicted that the worldwide neodymium market will grow to $3.39 billion by 2028. It is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 5.3% between 2021 and 2028. Numerous consumer and automotive electrical gadgets employ neodymium magnets. The automobile industry dominated the end-use market with a worldwide revenue share of more than 55.0% in 2020. Additionally, they are necessary for refrigerators, washers, dryers, and inverters for air conditioning. According to predictions, when MRI scanners and other medical equipment are implemented, the healthcare industry will also offer fresh opportunities for market sellers.
With These Market Demands, are Neodymium Magnets Expensive?
Neodymium magnets, sometimes known as “super magnets,” are more expensive than other magnets. This is because practically all of the raw materials needed for this, including neodymium, are mined in China. Therefore, the nation has the power to establish the price and limit the supply. China’s export limit for rare Earth decreased by almost 60% in 2010. The price of neodymium increased significantly in 2011, directly affecting the cost of neodymium (NdFeB) magnets. Neodymium’s price rose significantly in 2021, around ten years after the previous substantial price spike. Before then, prices had long been constant, but beginning in October 2020, the cost of raw materials has dramatically grown. Neodymium magnet costs have risen for more than fifteen months, starting in November 2021. Neodymium magnets are far more costly now than they used to be. For instance, a neodymium magnet that cost $2 in the first half of 2020 may now cost $3.50. Neodymium magnet users who have been committed customers for a long time complain that they can no longer get them. It is impossible to predict how the development will go in the foreseeable future.
There are many factors leading to the different pricing of neodymium magnets. Magnets made of neodymium are fragile and challenging to manufacture. The simpler the form, the easier it is to process the magnet, the lower the rate of scrap, and the lower the cost of processing. Another factor is neodymium magnet grading. If you want the strongest magnet, expect it to be the most expensive of all grades. At this point, why don’t others go for the strongest one to ensure quality? Wrong. It takes more than just picking a magnet with a strong magnetic force to make a good choice. Excessive magnetism can result in rare earth element waste and higher prices too. On top of that, prices for container capacity have climbed in tandem with the demand, which has risen significantly in recent months. Transportation costs directly impact both imported items and neodymium magnets.
According to statistics from the China neodymium magnet manufacturing sector, the three primary elements that affect the price of neodymium magnets are direct material, direct labor, and production cost. Each organization will have a different percentage of the three parts depending on their unique situation. Large magnet businesses often have greater labor expenditures for management. These magnet producers also have stronger financial standing, and the fraction of material expenses are low.
To conclude, at the moment, neodymium magnets are relatively more expensive than other magnets. The high costs are mostly attributable to the high costs of the raw materials for the rare earth metals praseodymium-neodymium metal (Pr-Nd) and dysprosium-iron alloy (Dy-Fe). Neodymium magnet costs are not cheap due to the high degrees of fluctuation in the price of rare-earth metal components. Equipment, processing method, processing volume, material characteristics, product form, size, accuracy, and a host of other factors also impact production costs. But we also have to consider the value you are getting. Neodymium magnets are, as mentioned, one of the most sought-after magnets because of their versatility and strength. These magnets, as of 2022, stand as the strongest magnet in the market. So, purchasing a neodymium magnet is relatively expensive, but it is a great investment and a buy that will not disappoint. Other than that, the versatility of its uses will return your investment more than the amount you expect. Since neodymium is not a one-to-one fit, you can reuse the magnet after your initial plan for it if something fails to work in the worst case. To put things in simpler words, a neodymium magnet will always be worth the purchase especially when it has already been plotted for its specific use.
One has to speak with a provider knowledgeable about magnets since neodymium is a highly sought-after magnet that needs to be treated carefully. ROBO Magnetic produces different types of neodymium magnets. Additionally, ROBO Magnetic can enlighten and educate individuals about the benefits and risks of employing neodymium magnets. Numerous articles are available, including ones that cover handling neodymium magnets safely and things you should know before obtaining unique ones. Visit their TechTalk Blog at www.robomagnetic.com/techtalk-blog to read more of their writings. You can learn more about ROBO Magnetic by visiting their website at www.robomagnetic.com.