DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), has published a new study that highlights the current status of additive manufacturing (AM) of magnetic components such as rotors and stators for large electrical machines. Modern wind turbine generators are large, complex, electrical machines that can benefit from advanced lightweight materials and manufacturing as they increase in size and efficiency. The layer-by-layer 3D printing process of additive manufacturing opens up new opportunities by being able to print complex shapes, reducing the number of parts and production lead time, and reducing use of expensive critical materials such as rare-earth magnets as well as nanocrystalline and amorphous soft magnetic composites.

The study also discusses AM process selection guidelines, hybrid printing technologies, and the associated opportunities and challenges. This work is part of the Manufacturing and Additive Design of Electric machines enabled by 3D printing (MADE3D) initiative.