Metal recyclers are challenged to consistently achieve the highest degree of ferrous and nonferrous metal separation in order to optimize the value of these materials. Achieving maximum value while using the appropriate magnets for lifting or separating the material can lead to a smaller equipment footprint, as well as lower capital equipment expenditures and related maintenance costs.
Moley Magnetics manufactures magnet systems and mobile hydraulic shears. “We’ve chosen to focus on products for the scrap, demolition and railroad industries,” said Ron Slaby, owner. “We offer four different lines of magnets to metal recyclers. Our traditional DC magnets are powered by stand-alone generators, which are either hydraulically or diesel driven. We’re especially proud of the innovative ESA Fully Enclosed Hydraulic Magnet. The product runs off an existing auxiliary circuit, which installs in minutes, so one machine can use multiple tools, or one magnet can be shared on multiple machines,” Slaby stated.
Moley also offers a full line of separator magnets including induction, cross belt, plate, pulley and drum magnets. They are custom-designed to client specifications and according to the material being sorted and the degree of separation required.
“Installation time and maintenance issues, specifically generator issues, are two of the biggest issues scrap yards face when considering a magnet. It is beneficial whenever a supplier can reduce magnet system install and maintenance time. Our ESB Battery Operated Magnet offers reduced install and maintenance time. The system has the lowest ownership cost on the market because there is no generator to install or maintain. A hydraulic generator system costs more to purchase, takes about 40 hours to install and has an expensive generator to maintain, but our ESB product costs much less, installs in about 2 hours and has virtually no maintenance parts,” Slaby explained.
According to Ken Richendollar, sales manager at Ohio Magnetics, there are three basic components used in a lifting magnet system for mobile scrap handling: the power supply – typically a DC power take-off generator; the magnet controller – a device used to energize and de-energize the magnet; and, the lifting magnet itself.
Richendollar explained that DC generators can be installed on a mobile crane as v-belt driven, hydraulically driven or even coupled into an all-in-one power supply package that often also contains a magnet controller. “It is important to properly gauge the speed at which the DC generator is rotated. To properly ensure that your generator is equipped to handle the magnet on your crane, know the magnet’s cold operating amps. A nameplate on each magnet indicates the cold operating amps that the magnet will draw when first energized,” he said.
Richendollar said the magnet controller’s function seems simple, but is complex because a lifting magnet creates a lot of inductive energy which needs to be captured immediately when the switch is turned off. Controllers are available in many size ranges with the most popular being 20 to 100 amps. Controllers should be properly matched with the cold operating amps of the magnet involved.
Nearly all scrap magnets are circular in design, wound with aluminum conductor and require 230 volts DC to operate. Applications vary from unloading junk in pickup trucks to loading rail cars with processed auto shred and everything in between. Scrap magnet sizes range from 20” to 93” in diameter. Aluminum coils are the material of choice for today’s scrap magnets because they are lighter compared to copper. “When selecting a scrap magnet, know how much weight your material handling crane can lift with the boom fully extended to the side of the cab. The total magnet weight including its load of scrap iron must be sized below what the crane can handle in its most vulnerable position so that it does not tip over during operation. After magnet size is determined, other components in the system are sized around it,” explained Richendollar.
He said, “Our magnets can be found in junk yards, scrap processing plants, steel mills, steel service centers, rail industries and waste recycling operations throughout the world. The Ohio brand name of magnets was the first in the market to obtain ISO quality certification, and we also make our own line of DC generators, magnet controllers, rectifiers and battery backup systems exclusively for magnet systems. We also manufacture Stearns® magnetic separation equipment, including electric magnetic drums for auto shredders, magnetic pulleys and wet and dry specialized magnetic drum separators. Ohio magnets were recently featured on The History Channel Modern Marvel’s program titled Magnets.”
For over 30 years, Magnetic Products (MPI) has designed and manufactured a range of magnetic separators commonly used for scrap metal processing. MPI offers suspended cross belt magnets, magnetic drums, magnetic head pulleys and eddy current separators. “Because we’re aware of the challenges that recyclers face, our engineers build equipment that provides maximum ferrous and nonferrous separation, reliably – even in the harshest operating environments. MPI also provides free testing to recyclers to ensure that selected equipment meets operational, environmental and financial goals,” Keith Rhodes, president, described.
MPI’s patent-pending magnetic separator system significantly improves magnetic separation, when compared to traditional systems which rely on several magnets being “stacked” in the system. The MPI system uses only one magnet, providing reduced operational costs and the value of metals being recycled are improved. This new system is in use at several automotive and recycling facilities. “The anticipated market for this equipment is widespread, with applications found in nearly all traditional recycling facilities including material recovery facilities, electronics recycling, automotive recycling, automotive shredded residue, and plastics and tire recycling,” said Rhodes.
He explained that understanding the design capabilities and limitations of a magnetic separator is critical during the selection process to ensure adequate system performance. “When evaluating a magnetic separator, users should consider the magnet’s circuit design and construction. Both factors are critical to ensure that equipment produces the magnetic strength required to effectively capture ferrous metals with minimum entrapment of nonferrous metals for maximum separation. Also, understanding which components of the magnetic separator, if any, require periodic inspection and/or maintenance can often mean the difference between successful or faulty magnet performance,” stated Rhodes.
Increasing automation improves operations via increased throughput and reduced operating costs. MPI’s new patent-pending separation system can assist recyclers in that effort. Rhodes said that recyclers have many options when purchasing magnetic systems and when the correct magnet design is selected, the recycler should carefully evaluate the vendor’s construction quality – critical for reliable performance – and service capabilities. “Both factors are as important as design and price and should never be overlooked,” he concluded.