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What Is a Magnetic Conveyor?

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  • Written By: Paul Scott
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 24 August 2016
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A magnetic conveyor is a material transport mechanism used to move ferrous metal items using a combination of conventional conveyor technology and electromagnetic force. These conveyors are typically used to transport unit parts, scrap, or metal cuttings from one point in an industrial or manufacturing process to another. There are two basic types of magnetic conveyor system, namely the moving belt and the static bed slider conveyors. Both, however, use electromagnets to hold the metal load onto the surface of the conveyor during transit. This adhesion to the transport surface makes the magnetic conveyor an ideal solution for applications requiring steep inclines on the conveyor route.

Most conventional conveyor systems have one basic weakness — spillage, particularly around steep turns and inclines. The magnetic conveyor addresses this issue by holding the load firmly in place on the transport bed by means of electromagnets placed below its surface. Obviously, this means that the systems are only effective when used to transport ferrous metals that attracted by the magnetic field. These materials are typically loose production parts, stamping off-cuts, or scrap metal. The swarf, or cuttings, from large scale metal machining processes are also commonly removed using a magnetic conveyor system.

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There are two basic types of magnetic conveyors in general use. The first is the moving belt type, which is a conventional conveyor with a continuous array of powerful electromagnets placed below the load-bearing portion of the belt. When metal items are placed on the conveyor, they are attracted by the magnetic field and adhered firmly to the surface of the belt. The magnet array will end just before the conveyor discharge point, meaning that the items are then free to fall off of the belt into the discharge chute or hopper.

The second type of magnetic conveyor is the static bed slider variant. These devices feature a smooth, static transport surface, with the magnet array moving below it. As the items are loaded onto the bed, they are attracted by the magnetic field and pulled along the smooth transport surface. The magnet array is situated in a continuous loop and will reach the end of its travel at the discharge point, allowing the material to leave the transport bed. Due to the fact that spillage with these systems is minimal, the magnetic conveyor is an ideal choice for processes that require conveyor routes with tight turns and steep, or even vertical, inclines.

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