Globally, China represents the largest producer and consumer of NdFeB and SmCo magnets, possibly due to well-diversified and increasing industrial applications. Government initiatives to promote green technologies in order to decrease carbon emissions are also expected to drive the global rare earth magnets market in the coming years.
Now the whole global rare earth magnet market has reportedly grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 8% during 2009-2016, reaching a market value of approximately $11 billion in 2016, according to a recent report available from Research and Markets. Neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) magnets may be considered well-suited for use in electric motors, power tools and other products requiring strong, compact permanent magnets. They reportedly offer the highest magnetic field strength and magnetic stability, but have a lower Curie temperature. Since they tend to be more vulnerable to oxidation than samarium cobalt (SmCo) magnets, protective surface treatments are often applied on them.
Unlike NdFeB magnets, SmCo magnets have a weaker magnetic field strength but a higher Curie temperature and are extremely useful for applications requiring high field strength while operating at high temperatures. Another advantage of SmCo magnets may be that they have a high resistance to oxidation and can be more susceptible to chipping and cracking. These magnets are currently being used for certain niche applications, particularly in the defense and aerospace sectors.