The process of forming a neodymium magnet begins with the raw materials. Neodymium, iron and boron are melted together in a furnace and then cooled into a solid ingot of metal. This log is then broken down into smaller pieces, which are then further processed into a fine powder.
Once the powder has been refined, it is ready to be shaped into a magnet. There are several ways to form neodymium magnets, but the most common method is called the powder metallurgy process.
In this process, the neodymium powder is mixed with a polymer binder and pressed into a mold using a hydraulic press. The mold is designed to give the magnet its final shape, such as a cylinder/disc, block or ring. More advanced shapes can also be produced, but there is always a limitation on how you can magnetize the finished magnet. The magnet is then removed from the mold and heated in an oven to cure the polymer binder.
After the binder has hardened, the magnet is sintered in a furnace at a high temperature, usually around 1000°C. During sintering, the magnet grains fuse together to form a solid piece, and the magnet acquires its final magnetic properties. The sintered magnet is then machined to its final dimensions, such as its thickness or diameter, using precision cutting tools.
Finally, the magnet is coated with a protective layer to prevent corrosion and improve its durability. The coating can be a variety of materials, such as nickel, copper or epoxy. The type of coating used depends on the intended use of the magnet. See our Neodymium Surface Treatments page for more information.
Neodymium magnets thus take their shape through a complex process involving melting, refining, pressing, sintering, machining and coating. This process requires specialized equipment and expertise to produce magnets with desired magnetic properties and dimensions. Understanding how neodymium magnets are made can help us appreciate their importance to modern technology and innovation.
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