The automotive manufacturer wants to source magnets locally in Europe and North America.
British GKN Powder Metallurgy will deliver permanent magnets for electric vehicle appliances to German motion technology company, Schaeffler AG. The two companies announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding in a joint press release on Tuesday. GKN manufactures permanent magnets made of neodymium, dysprosium, and other rare earth elements (REEs) specifically for the automotive industry. The company joined the permanent magnet market just last year, announcing plans to reach an annual production of 4,000 tons by 2024. GKN’s magnets project team operates out of the company’s Innovation Centers in Cinnaminson, USA, and Radevormwald, Germany.
The move is part of Schaeffler’s overarching goal of expanding its e-mobility division. In June last year, the then-fifth-largest German automotive supplier announced aspirations to position itself among the top three in this area. As part of the same goal, Schaeffler signed a supply agreement with REEtec, a Norwegian producer of rare earths, as the first known agreement of a European automotive supplier or carmaker to source rare earths from the region.
The memorandum signed with GKN and the agreement signed with REEtec will make the German automotive supplier’s North American and European value chains less dependent on imports from China and form a local-to-local delivery strategy. More than 90 percent (PDF) of rare earth permanent magnets are produced in China, which has recently sparked intentions in the European Union to diversify its raw materials strategy, especially in rare earth permanent magnets.
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