A conveyor magnet traps magnetic material as it moves along a production line. The range of metal types targeted by the magnet can depend on how it is constructed, and may include ferrous and nonferrous materials. These magnets can be added to an existing conveyor line, or built into a new conveyor product from the ground up. Once installed, the maintenance needs are typically minimal.
One use for a conveyor magnet is in quality control. Magnets can pull stray metal scraps out of foodstuffs, powders, and other materials as they are processed. This ensures that they are not contaminated, and will be approved for use. Scraps of metal can potentially ruin an entire batch of a product if they are not caught in time, resulting in costly waste because the company may be obliged to discard the load.
Materials separation can also be accomplished with a conveyor magnet. This tool is used in locations like recycling centers to pull some materials out of the sorting stream as early as possible. A common configuration uses an overhead magnet which hovers over the processing line, attracting magnetic materials and removing them. It can be moved over another conveyor and triggered to release the load of metal.
Such tools can also be useful for the protection of machinery. In environments where metals are worked, large amounts of scrap metal and powder may be in circulation. These can damage equipment by jamming and creating other problems. The conveyor magnet can keep the worksite clean, reducing the risk that pieces of metal with foul the rest of the equipment. It can be periodically emptied to recycle the metal scraps or take them to another facility for disposal.
Magnets can be shipped as grates, plates, or overhead units, depending on the application. Grates can be useful for materials processing, as they allow the material to flow through the grate and on to the next stage of production while trapping the metal. Plates and overhead units may be useful for separation of larger metal components. Conveyor magnet manufacturers may be able to produce units of custom size and shape for specialized applications where standard products may not be appropriate.
Technicians may need to exercise caution around a conveyor magnet. Some are extremely strong and could create a risk of injury by entrapping both people and equipment. The area around the device may need to be kept clear for safety.