Hitachi develops high-efficiency motor without use of rare metals

April 11, 2012 (Source: Mainichi) — Hitachi Ltd. said Wednesday it has developed a high-efficiency industrial motor without using rare earth metals, aiming to commercialize the product in the business year starting April 2014.

The rare earth-free motor to be used for pumps and fans at plants and tunnels adopts amorphous metals and achieves the same efficiency as motors using rare earth magnets including such elements as neodymium, the Japanese electrical machinery manufacturer said.

“The prices of rare earth metals have been soaring in recent years,” said Yuji Enomoto, senior researcher at Hitachi Research Laboratory, at a news conference in Tokyo. “We are facing the urgent need to not use rare earth metals.”

Though prices of rare earth metals have shown a declining trend recently, they are still high, he said.

The company plans to adopt the technology to develop motors for other uses such as automobiles and home appliances in the future, it said.