Rare Earths: TDK acquires Showa Denko R&D branch of magnet alloys

TDK Corporation has reached an agreement with Showa Denko to acquire the latter’s neodymium magnet alloy research and development business sector. The transfer to TDK is scheduled to be completed by the end of January 2019. TDK’s magnet business already includes neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets and ferrite magnets for a variety of applications. The acquisition of advanced NdFeB magnet formulations from Showa Denko is designed to accelerate the development of high-performance and high-quality neodymium magnets and to establish a more efficient production system.

Roskill view:

NdFeB magnets are used in a variety of applications including hard disk drives, air conditioners, generators and electric motors, each with different specifications and operating conditions. In order to achieve maximum efficiency and operating performance in motors and generators, the magnet composition typically includes heavy rare earths dysprosium. Dysprosium is a costlier rare earth compared to neodymium, the main rare earth element in the magnet formulation.  The average November 99% oxide prices for neodymium and dysprosium were US$45.4/kg and US$167.4/kg, respectively. The dysprosium content has already been engineered to much lower volumes by some magnet manufacturers using grain boundary diffusion technology, which dopes the heavy rare earth into the rim of the magnet grains.

Roskill’s automotive and NdFeB magnets datasets track and forecast the rare earth demand from electric vehicle drivetrains, which are expected to account for around 60% of NdFeB demand by the end of the next decade. While some magnet applications can use lower quality magnets without any dysprosium, dysprosium is expected to remain part of the high-quality magnet formulation required in electric vehicle drivetrain motors. As a result, magnet manufacturers looking to capture a piece of the NdFeB growth market are moving to improve their product quality range and remain at the forefront of innovation to optimise the cost and performance of NdFeB magnets.

Roskill’s new Rare Earths: Global Industry, Markets & Outlook report will be published in December 2018 and include supply, demand and price forecasts out to 2028. Click here to download the brochure and sample pages, or to access further information.

To discuss the rare earths market with Roskill, contact David Merriman: merriman@roskill.com or Nils Backeberg: nils@roskill.com