October '21

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 O C T O B E R G R A P H I C S P R O 9 1 low stocks of raw materials, especially in the summer period. By the time produc- tion kickstarted again, magnetic materials demand was so high across major indus- tries, like technology and automotive, that smaller industries such as graphics producers continue to feel the squeeze. For the graphics industry, magnetic ma- terials are integral in sign making, pro- motional items, sheeting, industrial label- ing, POP displays, tools, and much more. With supply down and demand higher than ever, graphics professionals are in- structed to remain vigilant to the usual consequences in these dodgy economic situations: difficulty sourcing product, freight and transportation challenges, inflation-induced prices, and, inevitably, inventory availability. THE MANUFACTURING BOTTLENECK Manufacturing executives point to highly interconnected bottlenecks as serious pain points for U.S.-based manufacturers and distributors, including record-long raw material lead times and rising commodi- ties prices. Since China mines approximately 85% of the world's rare earth ores essential in most magnet products, most U.S. sourcing is conducted overseas under license. The dependency means "distributors are only as good as their Asian suppliers," according to Monroe Engineering, an ISO-certified global industrial manufacturing company specializing in several vertical markets, in- cluding magnets. Part and labor shortages both domestic and abroad are limiting factory production and hampering growth potential as well. Plus, those grappling with increased raw material costs and key component short- ages likely find themselves in another pre- carious situation: auction-style bidding wars to obtain space on shipping vessels, MAIN MAGNETIC MATERIAL FAMI- LIES AND BONDED VERSIONS: • Ceramics or Ferrites (Fe2O3) consisting of about 4 main sub-grades with C5 and C8 being the most popular • Neodymium (NdFeB) consisting of 7 sub- grades with differences mainly in maximum temperature exposure • Samarium Cobalt (SmCo) consisting of 2 main sub-grades, so- called 1-5 and 2-17 • Alnico (AlNiCo) con- sisting of about 4 main sub-grades • Bonded versions of all of the above which can be injection or compression molded SOURCE: Alliance LLC (

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