The Three S’s of Industrial Magnets: Sweepers, Sorters, and Separators
When it comes to industrial uses for magnets, there are three pillars –– sweepers, sorters, and separators. These three categories, and the magnets that fall under them, are vital to the operation of warehouses, loading docks, construction zones, conveyor belts and more, and in all sorts of industries. Without them, there would be more accidents, lower quality control, and overspent budgets.
Let’s dig into their individual strengths and specifications!
Magnetic sweepers are used in many industries, typically on the warehouse floor. First, they reduce costs that come with broken equipment, like flat tires. Second, the removal of ferrous waste reduces the chance of employee injury. Some of the magnetic debris normally left on the warehouse floor could also be reused to save money.
Sweepers are particularly important at airports because they can save a punctured airplane tire. If an airplane tire is punctured, that can throw the daily operation of an airline into chaos. Flights will be delayed, and sometimes canceled, leaving operators with costly repairs and disgruntled flyers. And who doesn’t want to improve safety protocols in their business?
Magnets are used to sort magnetic and non-magnetic material. Similar to how a vendor might sort coins, sorters are used to separate metal from ore in the mining industry. The food industry is another big proponent of the magnetic sorting method. Working among machinery, it’s not impossible to lose a nut or bolt, but obviously, manufacturers and distributors don’t want bits of metal getting lost in their product. If it’s allowed to pass without being sorted and makes it into the distribution phase, a consumer could seriously injure themselves biting into or ingesting metal debris.
Similar to sorters, separators are used in many industries, particularly mining. A few common separators include suspended plate magnets above conveyor belts, cross belt separators that self-clean, and magnetic drum separators, which are essentially large rollers on a drum. When ongoing magnetism is required (even when power is lost, ruling out electromagnets) permanent magnets like neodymium and ceramic are the best options.
Magnetic grates are another form of separator –– one that you can actually make pretty easily. To create yours, stack and align neodymium disc magnets to form the teeth of the grate. Then, when placed in the stream of the product, it will attract unwanted metal material.
Apex Magnets and You
Sweepers, sorters, and separators are the primary uses for magnets in an industrial setting, but you are only limited by your own imagination. Regardless of your industry, contact one of our friendly sales representatives at any time to discuss the most important factors in industrial magnets. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the many variables to consider. Ask your rep about proper size and shape, operating temperature, pull force, and corrosion-resistance.