Clean Technology Leaders from across the globe gather at Rare Earth Magnet Conference

Organised by the University of Birmingham’s Magnetic Materials Group, the 300-delegate REPM conference took place from the 3rd to the 7th September 2023.

The speakers and attendees gather outside Aston Webb.

The 300-delegate REPM (Rare Earth and Future Permanent Magnets and their Applications) conference was organised by the University of Birmingham’s Magnetic Materials Group (MMG), part of the Birmingham Centre for Strategic Elements and Critical Materials.

REPM (Rare Earth and Future Permanent Magnets and their Applications) 2023 brought together world-leading scientists and engineers working on rare-earth permanent magnets and their applications, to facilitate the exchange of recent results and exploration of ideas on topics such as raw materials, resources, processing, and properties of rare-earth and future permanent magnets.

REPM is the leading global conference on permanent magnetic materials. It has been nearly 30 years since the UK hosted this prestigious event and it was an absolute privilege to provide a forum for the world’s leading experts to meet and present their latest research. The conference was supported by companies working across the entire value chain in rare earth magnets and it was attended by industry, academia and policy makers.

Professor Allan Walton, Co-Director of the Birmingham Centre for Strategic Elements and Critical Materials and head of the Magnetic Materials Group

It was a fitting celebration for the 40th anniversary of the invention of the world’s strongest magnetic material, neodymium-iron-boride (NdFeB). The inventor, Dr. Sagawa, was recently awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering for this discovery, and was speaking at this conference on his influences, including the work of Birmingham’s Magnetic Materials Group.

Over the course of the four-day conference delegates were treated to eighty talks and 90 poster presentations. Leading experts from the field delivered seminal plenary talks, these experts included the inventors of rare earth magnet materials, Dr. Masato Sagawa (NdFeB) and Professor Michael Coey (SmFeN).

Speaking about REPM 2023 David Brown,  Professor of Magnetic Materials at the University of Birmingham said: "This was a wonderful conference that  provided a unique platform for policy makers, magnet users, scientists and manufacturers to discuss and collaborate on the future direction of clean technologies."

This was the culmination of many months of planning, collaboration and hard work. The event went perfectly, and it was a pleasure for the MMG to host the global magnets industry at Birmingham.

Dr Vicky Mann, REPM co-ordinator and Research Fellow in the Magnetic Materials Group

Outside of the main conference, UKRI hosted an investor showcase to explore how they might support investment in this sector and link-up opportunities and the SUSMAGPRO team hosted an interactive permanent magnet exhibition and laptop dismantling competition. Delegates were also invited to tour the pilot Magnet Recycling Facilities at the University of Birmingham.

REPM 2023 delivered fourteen sessions that explored the full spectrum of challenges facing the world of rare earth and permanent magnetic materials, these included:

  1. Raw Materials, Resources and Mining
  2. Supply Chain Development and Magnet Processing
  3. Alloy Design and Machine Learning
  4. Recycling of Rare Earth Magnets
  5. Unconventional Processing
  6. Nanocrystalline & Thin Film Magnets
  7. RE-Fe-B Magnet Processing and Properties
  8. Rare Earth-Free Magnets
  9. RE-Co Magnets and Processing
  10. Density Functional Theory (DFT) and Micromagnetic Modelling
  11. Applications of Permanent Magnets
  12. Applications and Sustainability of Magnets
  13. Advanced Characterisation
  14. Rare Earth Nitride Magnets

The discussions at REPM presented a unique opportunity for the global magnet industry spanning five continents to come together, present their work and network in a highly developed event covering a wide range of themes. Connections made at the conference have already led to new collaborations being explored and new international partnerships being formed.

REPM 2023 was sponsored by Innovate UK; Less Common Metals; Grundfos; Bunting; HyProMag; Netzsch; Bomatec; Brockhaus Measurements; GKN; Vacuumschmelze; Dexter; Hirst; BQD; Daido Steel; UK Magnetic Society; Kolektor; Spontaneous Materials; Hearaeus Remloy; Amen, Max Baermann GMBH; and The Magnetics Show.