The Growth of Actuators & Other Motion Control Components In Electric Vehicles

With the electric vehicle (EV) industry expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 29% over the next decade, there has been a significant increase in demand for actuators and other motion control components for electric vehicles. Powdered and sintered metals offer improved magnetic performance, lightweight, and reduced noise vibrations, making them an excellent option for enhancing the performance of various EV components. Two piece assembly sintered together automotive shift by wire

Challenges of the Electric Vehicle Industry

EV engines deviate from internal combustion engines in some significant ways. For instance, electric motors are far more compact. Additionally, rotation in electric motors is restricted just to the central axis, thus naturally reducing engine vibrations. This creates new challenges for EV automakers. For example:

  • All electric automotive components need to be lightweight and have better thermal management to increase fuel efficiency.
  • Actuated auxiliary system components must be far more compact.
  • Noise vibration harshness (NVH) levels must be reduced even more than usual to address driver expectations and comfort.

While challenging, these scenarios present automakers with opportunities to push innovation and rethink standard manufacturing expectations. The use of powdered metal components offers:

  • Quiet Performance. Powdered metal components are quieter that traditional parts made with laminations.
  • Compact and Lightweight. Powdered metal components are compact an lightweight without compromising strength.
  • Improved Magnetic Performance. Powdered metal components have enhanced magnetic performance, which improves the overall performance and fuel efficiency of an EV.

Vehicle Systems Powered by Sintered Components

Engineered sintered components lend themselves well to numerous EV components, including:

By-Wire Applications

All EV powertrains, including fully-electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles, require strong, efficient, compact, and lightweight by-wire application solutions. This makes them prime candidates for sintered components. While steer-by-wire applications were once primarily reserved for vehicles in the luxury class, it has now spread to all classes of vehicles. Powdered metal components are already in-use for many shift-by-wire, brake-by-wire, and steer-by-wire applications.

Electrified Gears and Gear Boxes

A planetary gearbox, which is made up of toothed carriers and high-strength gears, plays a key role in the EV’s mechanical actuator. Powdered metal components help convert the vehicle’s electric signal into the actual force required to clamp down and brake. Because of the enhanced magnetic performance of powdered metal components, they are far more advantageous compared to traditional steels.

Sensors and Cameras

Sensors and cameras aren’t just for autonomous driving. They also help to process important data required for most EVs to change gears, brake, etc. Because powdered metal components are lightweight and durable, they’re ideal for sensor fixtures on the body and chassis of EVs.

Electric Pumps

Electric pumps and other electromagnetic applications have specific magnetic material requirements. Soft magnetic sintered components provide cost-effective solutions. The magnetic capabilities of powdered metal components also boost pump efficiency.

E-Motor Stators

EVs use either transverse flux or axial flux e-motors. These e-motors require 3D-magnetic flux and therefore need very EV-specific stator designs. Sintered stators are especially useful in this application because the pure iron material used to manufacture these components helps to reduce eddy current losses in the e-motors.

Batteries

Sintering has numerous applications for EV batteries. For instance, anodes for the vehicles’ lithium-ion can be created from sintering silicon nanopowder. Sintering glass-ceramic powder is also often used as an ion-conducting electrolyte in batteries.

Linear Actuators

Linear actuators, like other electromagnetic applications in EVs, require precise magnetic material characteristics. Sintered soft magnetic materials, such as iron, meet these specifications.

Cooling and Thermal Systems

Powdered metals support all thermal management systems. This is due to improved thermal behavior from using just one unique material, versus the varied materials or layers in more traditional thermal management systems.

E-Drive Traction Motors

E-drive traction motors have specific requirements for magnetic material characteristics, making powdered metal the ideal solution.

Engineered Sintered Components from Allied Sinterings

At Allied Sinterings, we’ve been a globally recognized leader in powdered and sintered metal manufacturing for decades. Our powder metallurgy manufacturing provides precision engineering, high-quality controls, and cost savings for all EV applications and motion control solutions. Our facility has the resources and experience to meet the rapidly growing demand for sintered components fueled by the growth of the EV industry. Contact us today to learn more.

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