Alnico belongs to the group of permanent (hard) magnets primarily composed of aluminum, nickel and cobalt. They are hard ferromagnetic substances which are widely used in temperature sensitive applications such as hall-effect and MR-based electronic and automotive sensors. They are also known as composite magnets which are usually manufactured from sintering or casting offering superior mechanical characteristics. Alnico magnets are made from the combination of aluminum, nickel and cobalt with small amounts of iron and other small elements that improve the property of the magnet. After rare earth magnets, Alnico is considered as the strongest permanent magnet. It is also used in various household appliances as well as for the production of horse shoe magnets.
Adams Magnetic Products Co., Arnold Magnetic Technologies, Dexter Magnetic Technologies Inc., and Tengam Engineering Inc. are some of the leading manufacturers of alnico dominating the industry.
The global market for alnico has been witnessing significant growth owing to rapid expansion of the automotive industry. Alnico magnets are majorly used in several components of an automobile including exhaust systems and sensors among others. Asia Pacific accounted as the largest market for alnico magnets, which was majorly supported by China, followed by several regions in Rest of the World (RoW) such as Latin America and Middle East. After the global economic slowdown in 2008-09, the manufacturing industry in North America has been slowly gaining pace. Alnico magnets are being increasingly implemented in electric motors and various sound reproductive systems such as microphones and loudspeakers. However, over the years, the industry for alnico magnets in this region has been noticeably saturated due to increasing consumption of NdFeB magnets. These magnets have been increasingly superseded by rare earth magnets such as NdFeB as well as ferrite in different automotive and electronic equipments, resulting in low demand from retail and manufacturing companies. However, alnico magnets cannot be replaced completely by rare earth elements due to their wide temperature range and stability. Thus, besides the automotive industry, growing demand for electric motors and sound systemshas been strongly contributing towards the growth of the alnico market.Moreover, rapid growth of industrial activities in emerging regions such as Asia Pacific has resulted in growth of various application sectors such as healthcare, electronics and power generation among others, which in turn is expected to contribute towards the demand for alnico magnets in Asia Pacific over the forecast period.
Increasing demand for alnico magnets on account of growth of the automotive industry is expected to be one of the vital factors driving the demand for alnico magnets over the forecast period. Rise in disposable income, improved infrastructure and increasing population are some of the factors driving the demand for automobiles.Moreover, increasing use of alnico magnets in temperature sensitive applications owing to growing industrialization and electronics industry is also expected to contribute towards the growth of the market. However, increasing substitution of alnico magnets by rare earth magnets such as NdFeB on account of larger energy products and stronger magnetic fields, allowing smaller size magnets to be used for a given application is expected to hamper the growth of the market. Increasing application scope of alnico magnets in HEVs coupled with growing demand for these vehicles is expected to open opportunities for the growth of the market over the next few years.