Materials company Elkem, in collaboration with EU-funded SOMA, has pioneered a specialized iron-silicon powder for 3D printing electrical motor components. Traditional manufacturing methods often involve cutting and molding from metal sheets, but 3D printing offers heightened efficiency and reduced material consumption.
The project has focused on developing a soft magnetic powder essential for electrical motors. This powder, known for its ease of magnetization and demagnetization, underwent production in a small-scale pilot atomizer at the Future Materials, Norwegian Catapult Centre. Elkem’s iron-silicon powder demonstrated its potential by 3D printing components with enhanced ductility and competitive magnetic properties.
Partners involved in the project included VTT, Siemens, Stellantis, and Gemmate Technologies, contributing to the success of the SOMA project. The collaborative effort aimed to overcome challenges associated with 3D printing larger motor parts, which often resulted in brittleness and breakage.
The final application of this innovative powder was in the production of an electric scooter motor. Gemmate Technologies and VTT provided crucial modeling support, enabling novel design opportunities for electrical motor components. Jan Ove Odden, the Project leader at Elkem, announced the introduction of the powder to the market for evaluation, emphasizing its availability in small test volumes.
With a growing emphasis on sustainable transportation, electrification has become a focal point for industries and governments worldwide. Elkem, a leading provider of silicon-based materials, plays a crucial role in advancing silicon-based products across various mobility and transportation sub-sectors.
As Elkem introduces its iron-silicon powder to the market, the future of 3D printed electrical motor components looks promising. This development not only signifies a significant leap in manufacturing capabilities but also aligns with the global shift towards sustainable and efficient modes of transportation.
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