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  • Allison Duncan

Navigating Magnetic Separators: Key Considerations for Your Next Magnet

Puritan Magnetics EZ Clean drawer magnet
The EZ Clean drawer magnet by Puritan is pictured. It is showing the simplified cleaning mechanism requiring a minimal amount of effort. Simply release the latch assembly and pull the drawer open. As the magnetic tubes exit the housing they are drawn through a scraper assembly which physically scrapes the tramp metal off the tubes and into a collection tray. The entire cleaning process takes place outside of the product flow through area eliminating the possibility of tramp metal returning to the processing system.

In the complex landscape of manufacturing, where quality and purity are non-negotiable, the choice of a magnetic separator is a critical decision. Magnetic separators play a pivotal role in ensuring the integrity of final products and protecting equipment by effectively removing ferrous contaminants from raw materials. Here are key considerations to keep in mind when embarking on the journey of selecting the right magnetic separator for your manufacturing needs. This list is just a starting point – Tennant Specs and Puritan Magnetics are here to support you in determining the right magnet every time.

Application-Specific Requirements:

Understanding the unique needs of your manufacturing process is the first step. Different industries and applications require specific types of magnetic separators. Whether you are in food processing, mining, recycling, or pharmaceuticals, identifying the contaminants and understanding the material characteristics are crucial in choosing the right solution. Some magnetic separators are installed in food products to ensure final product does not have contaminants. Other magnets are installed upstream of other expensive equipment to protect from damage that would be caused by tramp metal.

Type of Magnetic Separator:

There are various types of magnetic separators, each designed for specific applications. Consider whether a drawer magnet, suspended magnet, magnetic pulley, plate magnet, or magnetic drum is the most suitable for your manufacturing setup. Each type comes with its advantages and is tailored to different separation challenges. One of the advantages of Puritan Magnetics is their custom fabrication to meet your exact needs.

Magnetic Strength and Configuration:

The strength of the magnetic field is a critical factor in the efficiency of a magnetic separator. The most common magnetic materials used are Ceramic and Rare Earth Neodymium-Iron-Boron permanent magnets. While Ceramic magnets are more affordable and can capture larger metals such as nuts, bolts and nails they are larger and heavier. Rare Earth magnets are much stronger and can even retain smaller metal shavings, dust sized particles and weakly magnetic metals. Consider the strength required to effectively capture and remove ferrous contaminants from your material. Additionally, understand the configuration of the magnetic field, as it influences the separation efficiency and performance. The closer you can get your product to the magnet surface the more effective the magnet will be.

Material Flow and Conveyor Speed:

The speed at which material moves through the separator and the configuration of your conveyor system are vital considerations. The material flow rate and conveyor speed impact the effectiveness of the magnetic separation process. The longer the product is in the magnetic field the better chance you have of efficiently capturing any metal. Ensure that the magnetic separator is optimized for your specific production rates and conveyor design by working with an expert in magnetic separation designs.

Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance:

Efficient maintenance is crucial for uninterrupted manufacturing processes. Consider the ease of cleaning and maintenance when choosing a magnetic separator. Once the magnet has extracted the metal, it will need to be periodically cleaned. Manual cleaning may be sufficient for your operation, or EZ Clean and POW-R Clean may be desired to reduce the amount of operator intervention required. These options can reduce downtime, ensure operator safety and make cleaning easier. In order to ensure proper function, the magnet must be regularly cleaned. To clean most magnets the product flow typically has to be terminated. For continuous operations, a Rotating Drum Magnet, Suspended Magnet or Head Pulley Magnet should be considered as they are continuously automatically self-cleaning.

Material Characteristics:

Different materials have different flow characteristics. Ensure that the magnetic separator you choose is compatible with the materials in your manufacturing process. Factors such as particle size, moisture content, and material density can influence the performance of the magnetic separator. This is why it will be imperative to supply the correct material properties when designing the magnetic separator.

Magnet Location:

The location of a magnet in the process is a critical factor. You may be wondering where the magnet should go – before or after other equipment? Tennant Specs has experience recommending layout design and is dedicated to helping you once we know your goal. Magnets can be located essentially anywhere in the facility to serve different purposes. Many people use a magnet at the first inlet to remove tramp metal. This is a great way to protect your equipment from unforeseen costs of tramp metal damage. Magnets are located in the middle of the process flow as well, potentially directly upstream of a key piece of equipment for extra protection. Magnets are also located at the end of the process flow to provide a final layer of protection on final products.

Budget and Total Cost of Ownership:

While the initial cost of a magnetic separator is a consideration, it's essential to evaluate the total cost of ownership including the savings from preventing an unseen metal problems. Consider factors such as maintenance costs, and the impact on overall production efficiency. A well-informed investment may result in long-term cost savings and improved operational performance. A major return on investment for a magnet is the damage that it prevents from happening! Keeping downstream equipment safe from tramp metal can save on repairs and downtime. Magnetic separation equipment also serves as an insurance to protect you from rejects and recalls due to metal contamination in the final product.

Conclusion: Making Informed Choices for Optimal Separation

Selecting the right magnetic separator is a strategic decision that directly impacts the quality and efficiency of manufacturing processes and your final product. By considering the unique requirements of your application, the type of magnetic separator, strength, material compatibility, and cleaning needs, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your production goals. Remember, a carefully chosen magnetic separator is not just a piece of equipment; it's an investment in the reliability and success of your manufacturing operations.

Need help determining the best magnetic solution for your process? Contact Tennant Specs and your local representative is ready to guide you in determining the right equipment! We work with Puritan Magnetics who offer a wide range of magnetic separators and engineering assistance is always available for difficult applications.

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