Panasonic uses a new type of magnetic material to test the motor of the compressor for household appliances, which can improve the energy efficiency of household appliances. The magnetic material used is the low loss soft magnetic material "NANOMET" developed by Northeast University of Japan. By using this material, the energy efficiency of air conditioning equipped with compressors and refrigerators, i.e. COP (efficiency coefficient), has increased by 2.9%. Panasonic will strive to put new materials into production by 2018.
Panasonic and Northeast University have successfully developed motors using new materials by December 2014. But at that time, the diameter of the motor was 70mm, which could only be used in trial production and could not be applied to household appliances. This time, new materials were used for 125 mm diameter motors widely used in household appliances. By reducing the main loss of the motor - iron loss of magnetic material by about 60%, the energy efficiency of the motor is 3.1% higher than that of the existing material.
By embedding the motor into the compressor and testing the freezing capacity of 1kW by COP, it was found that the COP increased by 2.9% compared with the existing materials.
Panasonic hopes to turn this technology into a shotgun for improving the energy-saving performance of air conditioners and refrigerators. Statistics show that refrigerators and air conditioners account for about 1/4 of the average household electricity consumption (released by Japan's Ministry of Resources and Energy in 2009). Since the 2000's, the improvement of motor efficiency has been slow. Between 2000 and 2015, the increase was only 2%. The company believes that a 3% increase in efficiency has a huge impact on the differentiation of energy-saving performance.
Core thickness reduced to 1/10
New material "for the purpose of non-use of rare earth ferroalloys, thus reducing the cost of materials" (Professor Makino Zhanghong, Institute of Metal Materials, Northeastern University, who led the development of this material). The partial Fe of Fe (Fe) - Si-B-P-Cu system material was replaced by Ni (Ni), and the iron content was 94-95%. As the magnetic material of motor coil, it can not only reduce iron loss greatly, but also determine the saturated flux density of coil miniaturization. Among all kinds of iron loss, eddy current loss can be reduced by thinning the coil core. If the core thickness is very thin, the effect of new material to reduce the loss is better than that of existing materials.
Panasonic currently manufactures coil cores using production technology that can develop the capability of new materials. Generally speaking, once the stress is produced in magnetic materials, the characteristics will deteriorate. For this reason, the company has adopted a new processing method which is not easy to cause stress. The iron core is superimposed by metal plates made of new materials. This time, the cutting, lamination, heat treatment and other processes of metal plate did not produce stress, or no residual stress. In particular, the heat treatment has been carefully improved.
However, the difficulties in processing new materials may lead to complex processes. This is because of the hard texture of the new material. In order to reduce the eddy current loss of the core, the thickness of the metal plate has been reduced to 35 microns, which is only 1/10 of the present, and the quantity has increased to 10 times. In order to prevent the advantages of low cost materials being offset, the company will continue to improve its production technology before being put into practice.
In addition, the magnetic properties of the new material are different from those of the existing materials, so the optimal design of the circuit including coils will change. Although reasonable circuit design has been adopted in the trial production stage, there is still room for further optimization. Motors using new materials may also continue to improve efficiency.
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