If you have kids, then you’ve probably seen Toy Story 3. In a fun twist, it actually includes a little bit of magnet education. Near the end, the toys are trapped on a conveyor belt in a scrapyard. They escape the shredder by hanging onto bits of ferrous metal and getting pulled up and out by the magnetic separator. While there are certainly some finer points they glossed over, it’s a fun way to introduce kids to how magnets are used in the recycling industry. 

Separating Ferrous from Nonferrous 

Magnets are placed strategically along assembly lines and conveyor belts (above or below) to either extract or hold down ferrous materials. Ultimately, recycling centers aim to sort material into ferrous and nonferrous scrap. From there, it’s further separated based on material. In addition to causing technical issues, mixed metal is also inopportune because contamination lowers the value of the material. Strict guidelines must be adhered to so it can be repurposed for manufacturers. 

Types of nonferrous metals include aluminum cans and types of copper, brass, and lead. Ferrous metals include steel and iron. Some metals may contain both ferrous and nonferrous material (e.g., there may be steel screws in aluminum), in which case it would still be attracted to magnets, sorted, and ultimately worth less. In the case of the screws, they could also be removed to maintain the same price. 

Apex Magnets for Separation

There is an increased demand for recycled materials, but a significant challenge is separating mixed products. Ultimately, just a little bit of contamination can have a serious impact on the yield. Magnetic separators really are the answer. 

Apex can help you customize a magnet suited for your magnetic separating needs. We offer a range of neodymium and ceramic magnets that may be used in magnetic separation due to the required ongoing magnetism. Fill out a custom order form, and we’ll give you a quote for free!