Permanent magnets are increasingsly intrinsic to innovative technology. Fully aware of this is Bakker Magnetics in Science Park Eindhoven, a hi-tech company boasting 50 years’ experience, which has seen rapid growth in recent years and is increasingly receiving more complex and international orders. Bakker is renowned not just for its high-quality magnets and engineering, but also its enthusiastic, hands-on attitude, meaning Bakker Magnetics can optimise and manufacture more and more customers’ concepts in the field of magnetics.
Hands-on specialist in smart magnetic engineering
With the production and assembly of the world’s largest wind turbines last year illustrating this perfectly. The design of the 12-megawatt offshore wind turbines had been altered at a late stage one year earlier, with the resulting time pressure meaning the client needed a magnet specialist that is on the ball. ‘This is highly specialised work for a colossal project of tremendous importance’, says Maarten de Bekker, Product Group Manager at Bakker’s Magnetic Technology & Assemblies (MTA) division. ‘It took our engineers a year to develop the magnet modules, working alongside the client. Despite seeming along time, for a mega project of this nature this is extremely fast. Being a very flexible and receptive system partner, Bakker managed to pull it off. Our engineers have in-depth expert knowledge, as well as considerable experience with projects in all kinds of markets.
We understand our clients as well as being very much approachable, making co-creation a transparent and dynamic process, and so with this client we could change tack in no time. I would even venture to say that among magnetics companies, only Bakker Magnetics could have produced such a successful outcome.’
“Here is where we truly stand out from the crowd”
Bakker Magnetics is one of Europe’s leading businesses in magnet technology. Through a joint venture with one of China’s largest magnet factories, Bakker has full control over neodymium-magnet production of all grades. ‘We can manufacture standard and even customised grades in China , in any energy density and temperature resistance required. Our joint venture partner is continuously developing new magnet grades with increasingly enhanced features or fewer heavy rare-earth elements. Our Chinese partner’s product quality is world class, and they are also an attractive alternative for the series production of simple assemblies. We nevertheless retain responsibility, meaning we inspect each magnet delivered from China to the Bakker Magnetics quality laboratory in the Netherlands, using highly accurate measuring equipment. Customers receiving defective magnetics will neverhappen. For Bakker, the highest quality is paramount at all times’, says Maarten.
Smart Magnetic Engineering
Bakker Magnetics provides magnet solutions to a wide range of international clients, and maintains their stock levels, with the supply chain remaining intact even throughout the corona crisis. However, Bakker has a particular focus on smart magnetic engineering: developing and producing mostly complex magnet assemblies. ‘Here is where we truly stand out from the crowd’, says Maarten. ‘A lot of clients already have an idea or design involving permanent magnets, and they approach us asking to hone these further. This is what we excel in. After calculating the best magnet grade and geometry, we position the magnets with high angle accuracy and apply the suitable adhesive, mechanical fixture or wrapping to ensure the magnets can withstand major forces. The right coating and the utmost precision means the magnets resist even the most extreme substances and conditions. Clients therefore receive the absolute best assembly for each application.’
“50 years of knowledge and experience give our clients the lead”
Maarten believes that developing the absolute best assembly is crucial, as it ensures the end product performs optimally: ‘Take an electric motor, for instance. The better the magnets are position in correct setup, the higher the motor’s output; that’s simply a fact. The best possible adhesion is also ensured, resulting in the safest application requiring the least maintenance. This likewise prevents demagnetisation by taking potential threats such as high temperatures, magnetic counter fields and corrosion into account during the design process. A wind turbine, for instance, must run flawlessly for 25 years. Imagine it working at 0.1 percent less efficiency or gradually loses magnetic power due to non-optimum magnet assemblies; The long-term financial and enduring aftermath could be enormous. Without a doubt: producing optimal magnet assemblies is a specialism through and through.’
When it comes to true co-engineering, Bakker Magnetics shines. Bakker thus recently developed a complex arrangement for an MRI scanner, consisting of many multiple magnets set at various angles, gauging the quality of oil retrieved. ‘A very clever product’, says Maarten. ‘We devised an ingenious way of attaching all those separate magnets into the assembly as efficiently as possible, at relatively low costs. It’s all set for series- production.’ Working alongside the client, Bakker also developed a magnetic-coupling for powering a reactor vessel’s mixer, meaning chemicals can be mixed safely. A special way Bakker co-creates is its collaboration with various universities worldwide in the field of magnetic cooling. ‘In about ten years’ time, this will become a true revolution’, according to Maarten.
Finding Each other
This is how more and more innovations, in which magnets form a key role, come into being. Electric cars, e-bikes, wind turbines, ship’s engines, agricultural machinery, warehouse systems and robots. Wireless, contactless, efficient and maintenance-free technology are replacing traditional drives and couplings across the board. Many of these innovations also integrate Bakker Magnetics magnets and assemblies. ‘For us, it’s truly inspiring to be at the heart of this technological development. I hope that companies intending to use magnets know where to find us. Just recently, we produced refined magnets for a cochlear hearing implant and a sturdy magnet system for track-side magnetic maintenance.. These types of client don’t find us, they find us; and we’re glad to meet them. We’re hands-on, shared focused on knowledge and discovering sustainable energy: within everyone’s reach This is true co-creation. And that’s what smart magnetic engineering is all about’, Maarten de Bekker concludes.