Metal Found in Ben & Jerry’s Icecream

The Latest Metal-in-Food Health Scare

The BBC has reported that ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s has had to recall tubs of ‘Cookie Dough’ as they may contain fragments of metal.  The exact number that may be contaminated is unclear and consumers are being told to discard the tubs.

Ben & Jerry’s is widely regarded as a premium brand of ice cream and so how could metal end up in the end product?

Metal contamination can be introduced into a food process at a number of weak points.  The metal could have been:

  • Present in the ingredients when delivered to the factory (eg sugar);
  • Introduced with the ingredients at the beginning of the process;
  • Originated from worn or broken processing equipment (eg a broken screen or worn pump);
  • Accidentally introduced during maintenance (eg a metal item being dropped into the process);

Tube Cartridge Magnets Bunting Magnetics-5

Irrespective where the metal was introduced, there should be a number of safeguards against the metal-contaminated ice cream leaving the factory.  These include:

  • Magnetic Separators at various stages in the process to capture metal.  In the case of ice cream, Magnetic Separators would be located:
  • Later in the process, especially once the product is packaged in the tub, Metal Detectors are used to identify the presence of metal;

Other Food Safety reports relating to Metal-in-Food include:

For more information on preventing Metal Contamination Food Safety Scares, please contact the Bunting team on:

Phone:  01442 875081


Via the website

Bunting Metal Contamination Solutions at K2016

Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors for the Plastics Industry

Metal Separation Equipment will be displayed by Bunting Magnetics in Hall 10 on stand G16 at the International Plastics and Rubber trade fair, K 2016 (19th – 26th October 2016 Dusseldorf, Germany.

Bunting Drawer Magnet in a Plastics Operation

On stand G16 at K 2016, Bunting will be displaying a range of Metal Separation equipment including Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors specifically designed for the plastics and rubber industries.  Metal contamination is a common problem within the Plastics and Rubber industries, causing product defects and damaging processing equipment.  The type of metal can range from small fine metal to larger screws or nuts and bolts.  Effective removal is essential and achieved by using the right Metal Separation equipment installed in the correct location.

pulling-a-nut-off-a-bunting-plate-magnetBunting will be displaying a working Metal Separator (a combination of a Drawer Magnet Grate following by a Metal Detector) and Quicktron Metal Detector.  Also on the stand will be production-sized examples of FF Drawer Magnets, Plate Magnets and Tube Magnets where customers can experience the strength of the magnetic force by attempting to pull steel bolts off the surface.“On our stand at K 2016, we want to show visitors the effectiveness of our Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors in removing metal from the plastics and rubber production process,” explained Dave Hills, Bunting’s Head of Sales.

“When customers visit our stand we want to show them the separation capabilities of our equipment.  It is one thing to say a piece of ferrous or non-ferrous metal will be separated, but another to actually show it happening,” said Hills.

“We will be demonstrating the Metal Separator.  Metal contaminated plastic will be gravity fed into a feed hopper and immediately into a FF Drawer Magnet.  Here magnetic particles are captured before the remaining plastic falls into the Metal Detector which identifies and rejects any non-ferrous metals,” said Hills.  “Visitors will also be able to see Tube Magnets being passed over metal and the force in which it is attracted.”

Hills is excited by the opportunities at the show.  “The K Show is the number one exhibition for the Plastics and Rubber industry in Europe and one of the premier events on the global calendar.  We [Bunting] have been helping the industry solve their metal contamination problems for decades.  Having a stand and demonstrating our Metal Separators is really important and we look forward to helping companies address the costly issue of metal contamination.”

At K, Bunting is also looking to meet potential marketing agents and distributors to join the expanding global representative network.  If this is of interest, please contact Dave Hills ( to arrange a meeting on the stand.

Further information on separating and removing metal with Magnetic Separators or Metal Detectors will be available in Hall 10 on stand G16 or by contacting us on:

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081


Via the website

5 Unusual Items Recovered Using Magnetic Separators

What Gets Recovered by a Magnet?

Having worked in the recycling industry for over 30 years, it never ceases to amaze me what is recovered from secondary materials and waste.  Here are 5 unusual items:

  1. Spanish peseta coins – Out of date and, more oddly, recovered from metal that had passed through a car shredding operation in the UK. One coin dated back to 1937!
  2. Wedding rings – A frightening number of wedding rings get recovered from material like incineration ash by Eddy Current Separators. But the real question is how did the wedding ring end up in the waste?  Was it lost or thrown away?
  3. Cast iron engines – By this we mean the whole engine.  To increase the weight, engine blocks are found inserted into the centre of bales of Aluminium Beverage Cans.  The significant weight difference is a give away, but if the bale does get through it can cause serious damage to the primary shredder;
  4. Mobile Phones – Not so unusual you may think, until it started ringing as it got lifted up off the conveyor by the Overband Cross Belt Magnetic Separator;old-mobile-phones-2
  5. A Trophy – But not just any old trophy, a large silver plated cup for a Sunday league football competition in the North East. Discarded by accident or in disgust?

All the items listed were recovered using either:

For ferrous magnetic metals:

For non-ferrous, non-magnetic metals:

For more information on the strange items separated by Magnetic Separators, please contact us on:

Phone: 01442 875081


Via our website

The Highest Gauss Magnetic Separator is the Not Always the Strongest!

3rd of 10 Magnetic Separator Myths

On a regular basis, we will receive an enquiry requesting a Magnetic Separator of a specific size.  However, it is only when the enquiry also requests a specific gauss figure that it all starts becoming a little complicated.

Frequently, the gauss figure has been added with little understanding of the meaning of ‘gauss’.  It is a figure commonly quoted by companies supplying magnetic separators, but what is the relevance?  Is 100,000 gauss better than 10 gauss?

Gauss’ is the cgs (centimeter-gram-second) unit of measurement of a magnetic field, which is also known as the ‘magnetic flux induction’ or the ‘magnetic induction’.  One gauss is equal to one Maxwell per square centimeter.


But does that really help or simply add to the confusion?  And does it help a purchaser understand if one Magnetic Separator is stronger than another?

There are several inherent problems with basing a magnetic separator purchasing decision on the ‘gauss’ value alone.  These include:

  1. How do you know that the Magnetic Separator you are purchasing actually has the quoted level of gauss?
  2. Even if you have a gauss meter to measure the gauss, have you been trained how to correctly use it?
  3. Where on the Magnetic Separator is that highest gauss reading, as different levels of gauss will be found at various points on the Magnetic Separator?
  4. The ability of the Magnetic Separator to capture metal particles is not only a function of gauss alone and, in many cases, higher gauss Magnetic Separators will not provide the best metal separation;

In fact, if the word ‘gauss’ is swapped for ‘elephants’ they may be equally relevant.  This is only because a value is meaningless unless it is quantifiable.  A request for a Cartridge or Tube Magnet with 11,000 gauss on the surface could be perceived as having the same meaning as asking for one stated as having the strength of 11,000 elephants. This is only because the ‘gauss’ figure is exceptionally difficult or impossible for a customer to actually measure.

However, help is at hand!  There is a simple way to assess and measure the magnetic attractive force on a Magnetic Separator.  Undertaking a physical test at least partly removes the ‘gauss’ reading from the assessment.  The process is simple:

  • Use a Spring Balance with a 3mm steel ball on the end;
  • The Steel Ball is placed on the surface of the Magnetic Separator;
  • The Steel Ball is then pulled away and off the Magnetic Separator;
  • A reading is taken on the Spring Balance (in kilogrammes).  This is the break away force;
  • The test is repeated at several locations on the Magnetic Separator;

Magnetic Pull Test Kit Bunting MagneticsBy conducting this test, you know have a real tangible figure than means something.  You can conduct the same test on other Magnetic Separators and then you will be able to confirm which Magnetic Separator requires the highest kg force to extract the Steel Ball from the Magnetic Field.

As part of the internal auditing system, the Magnetic Separator test can be repeated at regular intervals to ensure that the Magnetic Separator is not losing strength.  It is a simple and very effective method of assessing the magnetic strength of smaller Magnetic Separators and doesn’t need extensive training using costly and high tech equipment.

So, when requesting a price for a Magnetic Separator, it is recommended that you ask for the number of kilogrammes needed to pull the 3mm steel ball from the surface and, when you receive the equipment, test it to check that what you have purchased is what was ordered.

Interestingly, many of our customers have found that some Cartridge or Tube Magnets with high quoted ‘gauss’ figures actually need less kilogrammes of force to remove the steel ball from the surface of the Magnetic Separator.  In reality, this means that they are magnetically weaker than those with lower gauss figures.  Now, isn’t that rather odd?

Magnetic Separator Myth 1 – Should You Always Use the Strongest Magnet?

Magnetic Separator Myth 2 – Are all Rare Earth Magnetic Separators the Same?

For more information or a site review by our trained sales engineers, please contact us on:

Phone:  01442 875081


Via our website

Metal Separation Demo Success at RWM 2016

Seeing Is Believing at UK Recycling Exhibition

Exhibiting at a show is all about showing off and demonstrations.  Showing off spanners and bolts hanging in mid-air under a Twin Pole Overband Magnet.  And demonstrating the separation of Stainless Steel and Printed Circuit Boards on a working High Intensity Separation Conveyor (HISC).

Bunting Magnetic Europe at RWM 2016

At RWM 2016 (UK recycling and waste exhibition held between 13-15th September 2016), we took full advantage of the opportunity to ‘show off’.  And it worked!

When we ran the HISC, visitors gathered around the machine questioning how it was possible for a Magnetic Separator to separate Stainless Steel.

“Is it a trick?” one visitor asked.

Just that one question illustrated that people remain skeptical about anything they read in the press or on websites.  Seeing is believing.  And we showed that it is possible to separate stainless steel and printed circuit boards.

The Metal Separator was also working on the stand.  The complete metal removal system comprises of a FF Drawer Magnet followed by a Metal Detector.  The Bunting Europe team poured metal contaminated plastic beads into the top of the Metal Separator and showed magnetic particles being captured on the Tube Magnets and non-ferrous metals being rejected by the Metal Detector.

Although not on the stand, there was a high level of interest in the Non-Ferrous Metal Eddy Current Separator.  The recent press coverage of the installation at Recapture Plastics in Kent had been seen by many visitors and they were keen to discuss new projects.

“Footfall at the show appeared to be lower than last year, but visitors were coming to the stand with specific metal separation requirements,” said Dave Hills, Bunting’s Head of Sales.  “Next week, we will be receiving samples to run at our test facility, especially for Stainless Steel separation on the HISC.  We have a busy month ahead!”

We wish to thank all those who visited our stand at RWM 2016 and will be in contact over the next couple of weeks.  Photographs of the Bunting equipment and stand can be seen in our Flickr gallery.

For further information on any metal separation issue, please contact the Bunting team on:

Bunting Magnetics Europe at RWM16
Bunting Magnetics Europe displaying Magnetic Separators at the UK recycling and waste exhibition RWM16 (Sept 13-15 2016)

5 Misconceptions about Eddy Current Separators

Getting the Most Out of an Eddy Current Separator

Eddy Current Separators are used extensively throughout the recycling industry to separate non-ferrous metal (e.g. aluminium beverage cans, shredded aluminium and copper etc) from non-metallic materials.  However, there are many misconceptions about the design and operation of the Eddy Current Separator and this blog looks at 5 key operating parameters.


There are many suppliers of Eddy Current Separators, each making different claims about the performance of their design of separator.  To dispel some of these myths, we wrote 5 separate blogs, investigating the claims in a practical and scientific way to determine their relevance and importance.  The blogs focused on:

1 of 5 Rotor Speed

2 of 5 Belt Speed

3 of 5 Belt Length

4 of 5 Ferrous Metal Removal

5 of 5 Magnetic Rotor Strength

So how does someone select which Eddy Current Separator to purchase?

The chances of successfully installing an Eddy Current Separator increases significantly if you are talking with someone who understands the application.  Experience of the recycling industry and how separation equipment really works in this difficult environment makes all the difference.


The Bunting Magnetics Europe team (including Dave Hills, Carlton Hicks and Paul Fears), will be on the stand at RWM16 (NEC, Birmingham, 13th-15th September 2016) to discuss specific separation issues and requirements.  Carlton and Paul have over 30 years’ experience and of specifying and supplying Magnetic Separators and Eddy Current Separators into the recycling industry.

For further details on the Bunting range of Eddy Current Separators, Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors please contact Carlton Hicks ( or our technical sales team on:

Seeing Is Believing For Bunting at RWM 2016

Magnetic Separators on Display at UK’s Leading Recycling Exhibition

Demonstration is the focus on the Bunting Magnetics Europe stand 5R81 at RWM16 (13th – 15th September 2016 NEC Birmingham UK) with a fully operational High Intensity Separation Conveyor (HISC) separating both stainless steel and printed circuit boards from non-magnetic materials.


Bunting Magnetics is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors and the European manufacturing headquarters are based in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, UK.  Since first exhibiting at RWM in 2013, Bunting has developed a strong reputation for supplying high specification Magnetic Separators and Eddy Current Separators.

On stand 5R81 at RWM16, Bunting will have a High Intensity Separation Conveyor (HISC), a Twin Pole Overband Magnet, a Metal Separator (combined magnetic separator and metal detector), Grate Magnets, Plates Magnets and Tube Cartridge Magnets.

“We have a ‘Seeing Is Believing’ attitude at exhibitions,” explained Dave Hills, Bunting’s Head of Sales.  “When customers visit our stand we do not want to just talk about how a Magnetic Separator performs, we want to show it.  Our HISC will be seen separating stainless steel and printed circuit boards from non-magnetic materials.  On our Twin Pole Overband Magnet, visitors will be able to feel the magnetic force trying to rip steel out of their hands when the place it under the magnet face.  It will be exciting for customers and us!”

Since launching the HISC at RWM in 2015, Bunting has sold and installed the high strength permanent Magnetic Separator in recycling operations around the world.  The HISC has been particularly successful in the plastics sector, removing small weakly magnetic stainless steel.

“RWM proved to be the ideal platform to launch the HISC in 2015 and we want to build on that success.  When you tell people that the HISC can separate non-magnetic stainless steel, they do not believe you.  Seeing the expressions of those same people when they see the separation happening on the stand, in front of them, is fantastic.”

Bunting specialise in separating metals using both Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors, a combination used on the successful Metal Separator.

“We will also be demonstrating the Metal Separator.  Metal contaminated plastic will be gravity fed into a feed hopper and immediately into a FF Grate Magnet.  Here magnetic particles are captured before the remaining plastic falls into the Metal Detector which identifies and rejects any non-ferrous metals,” said Hills.

Bunting will also have smaller Magnetic Separators, including Plate Magnets and Tube Cartridge Magnets where customers can experience the strength of the magnetic force by attempting to pull steel bolts off the surface.

Hills is excited by the opportunities at the show.  “Seeing actually is believing and we want visitors to be excited when they are on our stand.”

For further information on separating and removing metal with Magnetic Separators or Metal Detectors, please visit our stand at RWM 2016 or contact the Bunting technical sales team on:

Phone: 01442875081


Contact Us


BCMY Ltd Recycle Laser and Toner Printer Cartridges Using a Bunting Drum Magnet

Successful Metal Separation from Waste

Extending BCMY’s ability to efficiently and effectively manage old laser and toner cartridges was the primary objective behind the development of a new recycling line and the installation of a Bunting Drum Magnet.

Bunting BCMY-7460

BCMY Ltd, based in Lancing in West Sussex, is one of the UK’s premier processors of used printer cartridges and receives materials from across the UK and Europe.  With over 12 years’ experience in handling secondary ink and toner cartridges, growth of 25-30% per annum over a 5 year period resulted in moving to new premises in 2010, since when BCMY has continued to expand.

At present, only around 15% of the 250m ink and 25% of the 40m toner cartridges used in the West-Europe are recycled, with the majority ending up in landfill, where it can take more than 1,000 years to decompose whilst being a threat to ground water pollution.  In addition, they are classed as a hazardous material, due to the chance of explosion from the small particle size of the toner dust, and any post-consumer processing needs to be expertly managed.

On receipt of the used laser & toner cartridges, BCMY makes a decision on whether the item can be reused or if it needs to be recycled.  At present, approximately 62% of all cartridges received by BCMY are reused and saved from entering the internal waste stream, although the growing number of poorer quality replicas and compatibles (15%) originating from the Far East and a growth in remanufactured cartridges (20%) means that an ever increasing number need to be considered for internal recycling.

There remains a high global demand for specific virgin empty cartridges despite increased competition from the Far East.  However the overall percentage of cartridges collected, that can be reused, is falling.  The disposal options for high volume cartridges producers are becoming more limited with the introduction of tighter waste legislation and a reduction in industry capacity to deal with the non reusable cartridges. With Landfill no longer a legal option for high volume producers – waste to energy plants, due to the cartridges high calorific value, is now the favoured route of disposal. However, this raises a number of other environmental issues.

BCMY made a decision to extend their business services by specifically enabling the physical recycling of the non-reusable cartridges.  A prototype facility was designed and built by the BCMY team using their extensive knowledge of the used cartridge industry.  At present, with capacity of approximately 2000 units per day, they manually remove the hazardous toner dust and are then left with a co-mingled case made of mixed rigid plastic and metal.  The empty cartridge shells are fed into a slow speed shredder for size reduction and liberation and then up an incline conveyor before passing over a strong Drum Magnet supplied by Bunting.  The Drum Magnet separates all magnetic materials, such as steel components, springs and other small ferrous metals and ceramic magnets, from the non-magnetic plastic.  Post this primary separation stage, the plastic fraction is further shredded for additional liberation before being passed over an Eddy Current Separator to recover non-ferrous metals such as aluminium.

Bunting BCMY-7461

The high strength model DSH-1212-NPD Bunting Drum Magnet is 300mm (12”) diameter by 300mm (12”) width and was supplied complete in a housing with a direct shaft-mounted drive.  Material is conveyed up to the hopper by the incline conveyor and then cascades down onto the surface of the Drum Magnet, where the strong magnetic field attracts and holds magnetic materials, carrying them underneath and then out of the field so that they drop into a separate container.  The plastic non-magnetic material is unaffected and follows its normal trajectory into a separate collection bin. The magnetic field is produced using permanent Rare Earth magnets, producing a deep and very strong magnetic field ideal for the application.

There is approximately a 42% metal content in each cartridge, which is then sold as an end product. The recovered plastic which is made up of (PS,ABS,PET,PP,POM, and HDPE) is also resold for a wide variety of applications including the production of plastic wood .The hazardous toner powder is used as a colorant in the manufacture of plastic, in tarmac and in marine paint for boats.

When assessing the equipment they needed for the recycling plant, Simon Gilchrist, Managing Director of BCMY, undertook a great deal of research before making the decision to purchase the Drum Magnet from Bunting.

Simon commented, “Bunting was a local company and we were able to visit their facility to witness testing on our material.  We really appreciated Carlton’s advice [Carlton Hicks, Sales Manager] and the testing meant that the separation Bunting claimed was possible was 100% proven and we could purchase with confidence.  We wanted to work with a UK manufacturer so that the equipment would be UK built and not purchase through reseller of an importer.  The installation has been very successful and we have further plans to expand the facility.”

For more information on Magnetic Separators used to recover metals in the recycling sector or the application mentioned in this case history please visit the Bunting stand 5R81 at RWM16 or contact the Bunting sales team on:

Phone: 01442875081


Via the website

Bunting BCMY-7467