The Future of Magnetic Separator Systems

Magnetic separation equipment of all kinds is now widely used in farming and recycling plants either to remove metallic items to improve the purity in the food or to separate items so that they can be reprocessed. The magnetic separator industry works on a number of design patterns, but the principle is always the same – to utilise the power of magnetism to separate ferrous and non-ferrous material. Traditionally, this has been achieved by using strong neodymium magnets but ferrite magnets are also used in some magnetic separation equipment. In recent years, however, new developments have come about which mean that the future of the metal separator looks rosy. Why is this and what will the next generation of separation equipment offer industry?

Recent Magnetic Separator Manufacturer Developments

The latest generation of magnetic separation plant is now introducing the next level of magnets that remove tiny metal particles more effectively than ever before. Indeed, it is now possible to remove ferrous particles that are less than 30 µm in size meaning that metallic powders can be separated for the first time in a reliable way. This is likely to be of use in a wide range of applications including the food production, chemical manufacturing and the ceramic sector.

There are two principle reasons for the improvement in the development products offered by a typical magnetic separator manufacturer today. The first is the extremely high Gauss values that are built into the current magnet themselves. Separation equipment requires very strong magnets and the industry has worked towards ever greater numbers in this regard. Many separators that are currently in operation have been built with magnets and stainless steel tubes which can reach anywhere between 8,000 to 12,000 Gauss. This constitutes a very strong magnetic force already, but the next generation of equipment coming on line in the next few years is expected to exceed this with figures of around 13,000 Gauss, to begin with.

A number of metal separator developers have also made use of new measurement techniques. Including the laboratory simulation of magnetic fields, these new methods – now the industry standard – have repeatedly shown that higher separation yields can be achieved with improved magnet technologies. If the modelled results are to be repeated in prototype equipment, then the next generation of separators are likely to significantly outperform anything that is currently on the market.

The second reason that manufacturers are expecting the next generation of metal separator equipment to be much improved is because of a shift in the way their bars are designed. This is because thicker bars are now considered to be more efficient than thinner ones. Many product developers have moved over to using slightly thicker bars because they have been shown to remain in contact with any magnetic particles they detect for a longer period of time. Obviously, attracting ferrous particles more effectively is beneficial, but another noteworthy advantage is that it means that a reduced height for the magnet as a whole can be achieved. As such, the equipment will take up less space and a single row of bars can be used, resulting in improved product flow. This is considered by many in the industry to be especially beneficial when it comes to removing tiny particles the size of powders which are generally poorly flowing materials.

With so much going on with magnetic separation equipment, why not get in contact with IMA to learn more about how developments in the industry can be of benefit?

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