CONTRIBUTING FACTORS TO THE DEMAGNETIZATION OF MAGNETIC SEPARATORS

INTRODUCTION

The strength of a magnet, usually measured in gauss or ounces pull, is one factor that determines the effectiveness of a magnetic separator.

In the food industry, equipment is exposed to a variety of different temperatures, environments, products, and other circumstances that can affect the magnet's strength. High-quality magnetic separators can retain adequate strength and effectiveness for many years, however, low-quality cheap systems can lose their strength rapidly - despite being 10,000 gauss or higher upon supply!

Loss of magnetic strength is referred to as 'demagnetization'.

This whitepaper explores the causes of demagnetization and measures you can take to prevent your magnets from rapidly decreasing in strength – thus negating the effectiveness of your foreign metal fragment control.

Cheap magnet systems tend to wear faster than high-quality systems, especially in abrasive product

Cheap magnet systems tend to wear faster than high-quality systems, especially in abrasive product

CAN MAGNETS REGAIN THEIR STRENGTH?

One question that is frequently asked, is ‘can magnets regain their strength?’

The answer to this question can vary.

If magnets are heated, some magnetic strength loss will occur. This is temporary up to the maximum operating temperature of the magnetic material. Below this, the original magnetic strength is restored provided thermal shock is not experienced. If magnets are heated above their maximum operating temperature, permanent partial loss occurs which requires re-magnetizing to restore.

If a magnet is heated beyond its Curie point, the magnet is completely demagnetized.

CONTRIBUTING FACTORS OF DEMAGNETIZATION

It is inevitable that magnetic separators will lose their strength over time, however, not all systems will demagnetize at the same rate. Often, it is not one sole factor that is responsible for demagnetization, but a combination. The rate of a magnets demagnetization is determined by a variety of factors including the quality of the magnet and the environment in which the magnet is exposed to.

There is no way of knowing when, or by how much, a magnet will decline in strength. Usually, high-quality magnet separators will retain within tolerance of 10,000 gauss strength for many years, but sometimes they can unexpectedly decline at a fast rate.

A magnetic separator damaged from abrasive product stream

A magnetic separator damaged from abrasive product stream

Contributing factors which may cause magnet strength loss include:

  • Low-cost inferior rare earth magnet elements
  • Settling in strength loss. This is usually 5-7% in the first 6 months for high-grade magnets.
  • Poor quality manufacturing procedures, including welding
  • Oxygen and moisture absorption, corrosion
  • Magnet damage resulting from mishandling, impact, or excessive vibration
  • Magnet wear from abrasive product types and/or high-tonnage lines
  • Operating temperatures and thermal shock
DOWNLOAD WHITEPAPER

To explore these factors in further detail and learn how you can guard against magnet strength loss,
please download the Magnattack™ whitepaper “Contributing Factors to the Demagnetization of Food-Grade Magnet Separators.”

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