Permanent Magnets

Published - Feb 2000| Analyst - Thomas Abraham| Code - AVM029A
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Report Highlights

  • The 1999 U.S. consumption of permanent magnets is estimated to reach $744 million. The market is projected to reach $1.06 billion by the year 2004 with an annual average growth rate (AAGR) of 7.5% per year.
  • In terms of industry structure, there are over 50 U.S. producers of cast, sintered, and bonded permanent magnets and there is severe competition between them. Also, there is intermaterial competition because of the availability of cheap neodymium-iron-boron magnets from China. In fact, China has become a big player in the international markets.


Permanent magnetic materials are those that remain permanently magnetized after the application of a magnetic field. Permanent magnets constitute a very important and highly sophisticated class of engineering materials with a wide range of industrial and commercial applications. Permanent magnets are a vital part of modern life. They are found or used to produce almost every modern convenience today.

The permanent magnets are used in everything from refrigerator and bulletin board magnets, to the most advanced magnets used in computer applications. Permanent magnets are superior to electromagnets in many uses because they maintain their fields without expending electrical power and without generating heat.

In the last decade, the permanent magnet industry has been on the brink of far reaching and possibly fundamental changes. One important factor contributing to potential change has been the emergence of the neodymium-iron-boron magnets and their rapid commercialization. Also, the need for sophisticated gadgets used in everyday life from the automobiles to audio speakers and security alarms have contributed to the growth in this industry. Several major domestic and foreign magnet producers have committed themselves to these new and very probably lower priced, higher energy product materials.


This BCC report has been prepared because a lot of new developments have been taking place in the permanent magnet industry. Many of the market segments are mature while others are growing at very fast rates and yet others are declining. Secondly, there have been new applications for permanent magnet materials such as electronic and computer applications. These have created the need to make a proper analysis of technological and issues, trends in manufacturing, U.S. markets as well as foreign competition.

This report has been prepared with the following objectives:

  • To provide an overview of the various permanent magnets, their production technologies and applications.
  • To identify the technological and issues related to the commercial production of permanent magnets.
  • To understand the intermaterial competition among the various permanent magnets.
  • To analyze the domestic and foreign competition among companies within each of the permanent magnet market segments.
  • To determine the current size and future growth of the U.S. markets for permanent magnets.
  • To identify and profile all U.S. producers and suppliers of permanent magnets.
  • To identify the foreign producers of permanent magnets.


BCC's technical/economic study covers the technical and industry overviews, materials, current and emerging production methods, and technology issues, current and emerging applications, and an extensive market analysis. Current size and future growth of the U.S. markets are estimated for 1999 and 2004.


The findings of this report are based on information derived from interviews with almost all producers, distributors and major users of permanent magnets. Several industry experts were also contacted for this study. In all, about 150 persons from 100 companies were contacted for this study.

Secondary data were obtained from industry associations such as Magnetic Materials Producers Association (MMPA); American Society of Materials (ASM); trade publications; technical journals; and government statistics from agencies such as the U.S. Department of Commerce (Bureau of Census) and U.S. Trade Administration.


This report reviews the technology of permanent magnet materials, the types of permanent magnet materials, their applications, and current and anticipated demand for specific materials. For each material segment, the report provides an analysis of material and product types in that category, processing technologies, properties, applications, the U.S. markets and foreign competition.

The qualitative and quantitative judgments embodied in this report are a valuable contribution to the current knowledge of permanent magnets, their manufacturing technologies, applications and markets. Moreover, this study has been conducted at a vital stage when new magnet materials such as the neodymium-iron-boron are revolutionizing the application areas. Because of the miniaturization of electronic components and computers, more powerful and smaller magnets are needed for such applications. This current study identifies all such applications.

Readers are referred to Appendix I, the Glossary of Items, for an explanation of terms and units used in discussing permanent magnet materials. This report uses Standard International (SI) units for the more common engineering units, such as density, temperature, etc. However, units pertaining to magnetism will be given in the old units because it is very probable that more readers will be familiar with these as opposed to SI units for magnetism.

Appendix II carries profiles of all U.S. producers of permanent magnets. Appendix III lists all foreign producers, and Appendix IV lists major U.S. distributors and consumers of permanent magnets.


This report is directed to the various strata of companies that are interested in the developments in this field such as:

  • Companies involved in the development, manufacturing and supplying of advanced materials
  • Manufacturers and suppliers of permanent magnets
  • Manufacturers and suppliers of systems and subsystems which incorporate permanent magnets
  • Manufacturers and suppliers of raw materials for permanent magnets
  • Importers and suppliers of permanent magnets
  • Users of permanent magnets
  • Advanced materials companies interested in diversification.

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