According to a new report on the world linear and torque motor market from IMS Research, Austin, the continuity of supply of rare-earth magnets is the biggest threat to the industry. It is widely accepted that China now produces 97% of the world's rare-earth material and so controls the world market for it, though other countries are moving forward with exploration and production.

According to China Custom Statistics, the country exported 39,813 tons of rare earth material in 2010, much less than the nine-year average of 60,000 tons a year. The Chinese government also reportedly intends to cut export quotas of rare-earth material by 35% for the first half of 2011. Although the market for linear and torque motors had recovered to pre-recession levels by the end of 2010, and is expected to grow through 2012, how are direct-drive motor manufacturers going to ensure their supply of rare-earth magnetic components? An increasing number of motor manufacturers are opening production facilities in China, or entering into partnerships with Chinese companies to produce rare-earth magnetic components, says research analyst James Dawson. For more information, visit imsresearch.com.

SMMA meeting to discuss rare-earth magnets

Steve Constantinides of Arnold Magnetic Technologies Corp., Rochester, will discuss rare-earth permanent magnets at the SMMA 2011 Spring Management Conference, taking place May 10 to 12 in San Diego. Topics will include the supply imbalance, what is being done to mitigate it, and viable alternatives for the motor industry. Discover the latest news on the magnet industry, learn about legislative actions, and hear an update on R&D efforts into alternative materials and technologies. Visit smma.org for more information.