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Electrical Steel Structuring, Insulating and Assembling by means of the Laser technologies

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - ESSIAL (Electrical Steel Structuring, Insulating and Assembling by means of the Laser technologies)

Période du rapport: 2021-05-01 au 2022-07-31

Classical soft magnetic materials, made from stack of steel sheets separated by insulating layers, are widely used in magnetic circuits of electrical components and machines (transformers, sensors, actuators, motors, generators …). According to a report issued by Market & Markets in 2015, the global soft magnetic material market was valued at 18.02 billion US dollars, and is projected to reach 28.15 billion dollars by 2021 at an annual growth rate of 7.8%. The use of soft magnetic materials is becoming crucial in the various end-user industries and applications based on the aforementioned electrical equipment, as it maximizes power density. It is unfortunately also the cause of energy losses (called iron losses in addition to copper and mechanical losses) and noise (due to induced constraints and vibrations). This important growth in the demand of soft magnetic materials calls for a quick improvement of the performance and functionalities of laminated soft magnetic circuits to reach the objectives of the energy transition agenda. Moreover, these new materials should be eco-friendly without emitting any pollutant during their working life; and ought to be made of materials that are easy to recycle.
The aim of ESSIAL (Electrical Steel Structuring, Insulating and Assembling by means of Laser technologies) is to improve some of the characteristics of these soft magnetic materials in the magnetic circuits of electrical machines. Primarily, ESSIAL technology increases magnetic permeability, reduces magnetic energy loss, magnetostriction and noise pollution, while preserving a high mechanical resistance and thermal conductance. The ESSIAL consortium investigates and applies advanced surface texturizing and structuring manufacturing processes to increase the performance and functionality of laminated soft magnetic circuits. To this end, ESSIAL uses Laser technologies (surface texturizing and structuring, de-coating, welding) on electrical steel sheets of electromagnetic components and electrical machines (transformers, inductors, rotating electrical machines, …). The following specific impacts have been reached:
1. Improvement of product performance:
• Improvement of energy conversion efficiency by using higher performance magnetic circuits. In this respect, the iron losses due to magnetic reversal processes should be reduced by 20% (excess losses)
• Control and reduction of mechanical vibrations and decrease of acoustic noise by 20%
• Deposition/removal of insulating layer for sustainable manufacturing process chains made easier
2. Integration of new laser process with maximum 10% price increase
• The cost of the new laser-based technologies shall not exceed the cost of conventional production by more than 10%
• In any case the Return Of Investment (ROI) is possible after a duration comprised between 1 and 6 years. As a conclusion, the ESSIAL technology should provide a reduction of global cost, whatever the price increase
3. Strengthening of the global position of European manufacturing industry
• Implementation of innovative technologies along the European manufacturing value chain
• Transfer of technology to European companies
The work performed in WP2a led to the definition and use of specific and dedicated metallurgical and thermal processes able to include the ESSIAL technology in coherence with the coating process (silicon electrical steels) and the second recrystallization step (silicon electrical steels and special alloys). The work performed in WP2b led to the development of the surface Ultra-Short-Pulsed-Laser (USPL) process dedicated to the reduction of magnetic losses and vibrations with anisotropy, including the use of powerful lasers to make the process faster for the prototypes (USPL, PATENT). The work performed in WP2c led to the development of the home made (re)coating process after the laser process, the Hybrid Stacking Technology (HST, PATENT) and the laser de-coating process dedicated to electrical steels.
The work performed in WP3a&b led to the development of methods able to correlate the process parameters to the magnetic structure and finally to the control of magnetic and magneto-strictive properties of materials. Physical analysis have eased and accelerated the optimization of laser process parameters which allowed to converge towards optimal configurations for the prototypes. The work performed in WP3c led to the development of other multi-physical methods to control electrical steels after the laser process and after the coating process to ensure mainly the insulation and the lifetime.
The tasks in WP4 included the design, manufacture and test and measurements of proof of concept strips and magnetic circuits at the laboratory scale:
• Toroidal transformers with USPL treated special alloys
• Laboratory scale transformers with USPL treated Grain Oriented Electrical Steels (GOES)
• AC choke inductors with USPL treated GOES
• Proof of concept magnetic circuits dedicated to Rotating Electrical Machines (REM)
The tasks in WP5 included the design, manufacture and test and measurements of prototypes
• Transformers with USPL treated GOES
• DC choke inductors with GOES assembled thanks to the HST technology
• REM with USPL treated GOES
The tasks in WP6 resulted in the integration of the in-line monitoring system and the proposal of upscaling solutions, checked with samples in WP4, with a complete exploitation strategy.
The tasks in WP7 resulted in a website, leaflets, events, Market study, PI patents proposals and the complete Life Cycle-Analysis and the Life-Cycle-Cost analysis (global cost reduced).
The main achievements of the project beyond the state of the art are inline with the expected results mentioned in RP2:
• Tailor made USPL ablation process for GOES, NGOES and special alloys associated to specific coating and second recrystallization processes
• 2 routes metallurgical process dedicated to the manufacturing of GOES or NGOES associated to USPL process and second recrystallization process
• Laser hybrid joining solution and application for stacking, insulating, assembling/disassembling and life cycle of laminated magnetic circuits for electrical equipment
• Laser de-coating process adapted to electrical steels with potential re-use for the same or other applications, while reducing the recycling cost
• Formulation in a Finite Element Method (FEM) software based on the Tensor Magnetic Phase Theory
• Customizing method for surface laser treatment of electrical steels
• Experimental set-up and modeling tool to measure magneto-mechanical and thermal behaviour on strips with or in prototypes before/after laser treatment
• Consider new manufacturing process and adapted product design to include the laser treatment and bring a benefit on the life cycle of the electrical machines and transformers of end-users
Part of the innovation have led to the definition and deposition of two patents:
1) PATENT a: Method for assembling and disassembling an arrangement of one or more substrates, arrangement of one or more substrates
And finally, the patents are accompanied with an exploitation strategy that involves:
1) Metallurgists as end users with exploitation of PATENT b
2) ESSIAL subcontractors as new end-users with exploitation of PATENT a
Negotiations are under progress with service offering to end-users.
ESSIAL - Laser treatment