Magnetic Separators in Wineries

Installing magnetic separators in wineries means reducing damage to expensive processing equipment.

If you are a wine-maker, then you are probably familiar with the costs of an emergency breakdown during the harvest period. During this crucial period, do you know how much downtime you can save? How much of your product ends up wasted due to equipment damage?

There are multiple types of contamination which damage expensive grape processing equipment. These include pieces of wire, nails, fasteners, small to medium-sized metal brackets and tools, wear particles originating from harvesters and other machinery, and finally, the little metal nightmares better known as fencing or vine staples, which are one of the most common causes of emergency breakdowns and excessive wear and tear.

Luckily, all of these are magnetic contaminants - and we have a few magnetic separation solutions designed specifically for the wine industry which can put your mind at rest during the production season. The magnets target and effectively collect the metal which enters the grape intakes area, preventing damage to expensive equipment such as crushers, press equipment, must-pumps, de-stemmers, etc.

Typically, a replacement of a lacerated bag press can cost more than $20,000! This is not including the loss of production during the harvesting season. Significant issues can occur with running must pumps and knife valves after they have been affected by contamination such as vine fencing staples pictured below.

Vine fencing staples cause damage to various types of processing equipment

The upside of this is that using magnetic separators to extract metal fragments from wine product prior to processing prevents damage to the expensive equipment, and in most cases, the return on investment comes very fast!

Let's have a look at the magnetic separation options we have on offer:

Multi-Finger Winery Receival Bin Magnet

The Multi-Finger Receival Bin Magnet was originally designed for a winery in New Zealand in the late 1990's, where it proved very effective in collecting metal contamination and protecting equipment.

This HACCP-Certified unit is typically positioned under receival/must-bin outlets and on bulk intakes. The bar diameter, spacing, and lengths are variable and customizable to suit various dimensions and installs, tonnage rates, as well as to allow for difficult product characteristics. The magnet bars are mounted on a special adjustable mounting rail so that spacing and angle of repose can be adjusted to suit.

The RE80® Receival Bin Magnets feature multiple high-intensity >11,000 gauss RE80® Finger Bars, which are angled downwards into the product stream. These magnets protect crushers, de-stemmers, pumps, and screw flights from a variety of tramp iron contaminants which will cause extensive damage and result in high maintenance costs.

Multi-Finger Winery Receival Bin Magnet
Multi-Finger Winery Receival Bin Magnet

Some advantages of this magnet:

  • Must-pump protection
  • Protection of crushers and screw flights
  • Compliments harvester magnets
  • Reduces plant & production downtime – especially in busy vintage seasons
  • Prevents damage to expensive equipment
  • Foreign metal contamination risk reduction

Mag-Ram® Self-Cleaning Grate Magnet

As a self-cleaning alternative to the Multi-Finger Winery Receival Bin Magnet, the Mag-Ram® ensures that the magnetic bars are always automatically cleaned.

In most winery applications, the Mag-Ram® can be customized to retrofit to the side of an existing hopper, above the de-stemmer. This self-cleaning magnet can be supplied with a toggle-switch to manually activate the cleaning cycle as required. It can also be supplied with a timing control system to automate cleaning before, during, and after production runs, with the magnetic rams retracting separately or simultaneously to clean.

Each magnet is the Ram of a pneumatic cylinder. This means no 'walking' or 'jamming' when attempting to clean multiple bars simultaneously, as is the case with conventional designs attempting to coordinate two air cylinders to pull a bank of magnet bars through a common wiper. The conventional cleaning method has always been troublesome and difficult to achieve success. The Mag-Ram® design, however, permits the use of tight wiper seals which ensures the greatest versatility of control and highly efficient magnet cleaning is achieved.

A huge benefit of having a self-cleaning magnetic separator installed is operator safety and ensuring magnets are consistently cleaned for optimum performance.

Mag-Ram® Self-Cleaning Grate Magnet
Top view of Mag-Ram® (with a stainless cover) showing magnets extended beneath grape intakes screw
Mag-Ram® Self-Cleaning Magnet
Another Mag-Ram® Self-Cleaning Magnet installed at a winery, with Magnetic Rams retracted for cleaning

Dimple-Mag® Plate Magnet

The Dimple-Mag® Plate Magnet Extraction System was engineered to prevent bridging and wrap-around of vine and stem material.

This innovative design allows for effective flow-over of grape material where turbulence on the raised dimples creates a continuous movement of the grape product - whilst still retaining trapped smaller fragments down below the surface of the dimples.

The purpose of the dimpled magnetic plate is to assist with flow and direction of product, with the dimple feature creating a self-cleaning-like action. This builds turbulence behind the flow of product and water to prevent build-up of leaves, debris, grape stalks, etc. This design also helps to break up the conveyed material and expose the magnetic fragments as they move towards the +11,000 gauss Separation Bar Magnet, which maximizes the extraction ability at the retention point of the magnet.

The high-intensity RE80® Round Nose Magnet on the system means weaker magnetic fragments are worked around to the underside of the round nose, preventing them from being washed back into the product flow.

The HACCP-Certified Dimple-Mag® Plate Magnet is installed under auger discharges, on chute outlets, or suspended over conveyors and discharge points.

Dimple-Mag® Plate Magnet
Dimple-Mag® Plate Magnet

How effective have these magnetic separators been in wine processing?

Our clients have had great success with the above options. Recently, one of our clients told us that after installing the right type of magnet, they were able to save $9,000 on their must pump overhaul alone!

Read our case study about how the Dimple-Mag® saved thousands in winery equipment repairs.

How to choose the best magnet for a winery application

It is important to consider a number of factors when selecting a magnetic separator in order to ensure you find the best fit for your application. Selecting the wrong magnet can result in ineffective metal fragment control, meaning a waste of money invested in fixing an issue that remains.

To help you find the correct magnet, consider the following:

  • Does the design allow for optimum coverage of incoming grapes without grape bunches and stems becoming entwined or entangled in the magnets?
  • Is the magnet design sanitary and compliant?
  • Is the magnet simple and effective to clean and maintain?
  • Does the separator assembly comprise of high grade magnetics (such as RE80®) to ensure longevity and maintaining of the magnet strength?
  • What design criteria is in place to ensure effective magnetic separation is achieved without blockages?
  • What means are taken to ensure magnet strength is maintained over time?
  • Does the magnet comply with current HACCP and best practice standards (e.g. 0909MAGSEP 1-2010)?
  • Is the magnet supplied with adequate certification?

It is also best to consult with an expert in the field when choosing a magnetic separator. Get in touch with our experienced team by submitting a contact form, or book a free consultation.

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