How are neodymium magnets produced?
It is very time-consuming to produce super magnets made of neodymium iron boron (NdFeb). Manufacturing takes place in China where the necessary raw materials are extracted as well. Below we will show you the individual steps necessary to produce magnets.
Table of Contents
1. Producing the alloy
The three elements, iron, neodymium and boron, as well as other components, are pulverised and fused together in a vacuum. The resulting alloy has the chemical formula NdFeB. By the way: The alloy NdFeB was discovered in 1984. Thanks to research, new additions and manufacturing processes, neodymium magnets have since gained a little in strength.
2. Manufacturing the raw magnets
The neodymium iron boron powder is being lightly magnetised and then pressed into a basic form (mostly cylinder or cuboid-shaped). Thereafter, the mixture is sintered (=heated up in a vacuum) and slowly cooled down. The alloy has now a very special crystal structure that benefits a magnetisation later on.
Then, the raw magnets are sawn or rotated until they have the desired size and shape (disc, rod, block, sphere, etc.). That makes NdFeB raw magnets.
3. Adding a coating
Thereafter, the raw magnets are galvanically coated, normally with a layer of nickel. Without this coating, magnets would quickly oxidise and disintegrate into grey dust. Most neodymium magnets have a nickel copper nickel coating. Other coatings are also possible (see Which magnet coatings are there?).
4. Magnetising the magnets
Now the finished magnets are placed in a magnet coil, through which a strong electrical current is shot for one millisecond. This coil produces a strong magnetic field and the super magnets are being magnetised through this magnetic field, meaning the molecules and crystals align along the coil's magnetic field. When the coil is turned off again, the super magnets remain very magnetic due to their special crystal structure (see also remanence).
5. Inspection, packaging and shipping
After quality control (magnetization, coating) the magnets are counted and packaged in bags...
... which are packaged in stable cardboard boxes.
Packaged in large cardboard boxes or stacked on palettes(if need shipping by sea), the magnets are being prepared for the transport to all over the world.