Plastics Positivity at Technivation

Polymer Training and Innovation Centre Hosts UK Plastics Sector Professionals

The Technivation conference, hosted by the Polymer Training and Innovation Centre in Telford (18th April 2018), attracted delegates from across the UK plastics sector.

The Polymer Training and Innovation Centre (PITC) provides training for engineers working with plastics and has an extensive range of working equipment including moulding machines, pneumatic conveying systems, and magnetic separators.

Bunting Europe at TechnivationAt Technivation, there were talks from machinery manufacturers and also an industry update from the British Plastics Federation.  BPF Membership Services Director, Stephen Hunt, highlighted a change in the awareness and public perception of plastics since the airing of the BBC Blue Planet II series at the end of 2017.  The BPF have been working hard to clarify misconceptions about plastics, highlighting that plastic is vital in the manufacture of so many products including cars, medical equipment, and IT.  They are presently working closely with the UK Government on the proposed tax for single use plastics, which closes on 18th May 2018.

As Stephen Hunt explained, the plastics sector is the 8th largest exporting industry in the UK with a turnover of £25.5 billion.  The sector is also the 2nd largest employer in the manufacturing industry.  He also highlighted how waste from the USA and European Union combined only contributes 2% to the amount of plastic waste found in our oceans.

Delegates at Technivation had the opportunity to tour the training facility and meet representatives from equipment manufacturers including Summit Systems, Kistler, Arburg, and Staubli.  Tom Higginbottom, Bunting’s Sales Engineer, was demonstrating how to effectively remove metal from the plastics process using a combination of a FF Drawer Filter Magnet and Quicktron Metal Detector.

“At Technivation it was really good to be able to demonstrate how to remove metal and also to show how the equipment is actually installed on a working moulding machine,” explained Tom.  “We supplied the FF Drawer Filter Magnets to PTIC so that the importance of metal removal is included in the training programmes.”

For further information on separating metal from plastics during the production of the virgin product or during the recycling process, please contact the Bunting team on:

Bunting Europe at Technivation

6 Metal in Food Safety Scares in 2017

UK Food Standards Agency Reports 6 Metal-in-Food Problems in 2017

Six warnings of UK food being contaminated with metal fragments were reported by the UK Food Standards Agency in 2017.  The food safety warnings ranged from sweets to meat products.

Metal In Food Safety Warnings 2017

Greencore recalled various brands of Chicken and Bacon Caesar Wraps because of concerns that the products contained metal fragments (20 December 2017).  Greencore, as precautionary measure, recalled various brands of Chicken and Bacon Caesar Wraps.  The products, manufactured by Greencore, were sold in Aldi, Co-op Food and Morrisons retail stores.

Athole Tablet Ltd recalled tablet products because of possible contamination by small pieces of metal (31 August 2017).

William Santus & Co recalled Uncle Joe’s Liquorice & Aniseed Extra Strong Mints (35g tins) as there were concerns that the sweets may have contained small pieces of metal (15 May 2017).

Morrisons recalled Trimmed Beans because of the reported presence of small pieces of metal (20 April 2017).

Metal Found In Morrisons Green Beans

Quorn Foods Ltd recalled a batch of its frozen Quorn Meat Free Mince because of the presence of small pieces of metal (2 March 2017).  The affected product was only on sale at Tesco from 27 February 2017 to 1 March 2017.

Lotus Bakeries UK Ltd recalled Lotus Biscoff Crunchy Biscuit Spread because of small metal contamination concerns (2 March 2017).  This product was sold at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda, Waitrose, Ocado and Nisa stores.  In addition, batch number 7005109 with ‘best before’ date 5 February 2018 has also been sold through East End Foods.

How Does Metal Get Into Food?

Metal In Food-1136All of the foods listed have been processed and it is during that process that metal can contaminate the product.  Food entering a process plant will potentially go through stages of washing, size reduction (e.g. cutting, mashing, slicing), mixing, forming, cooking and packaging.  Metal can be introduced from the wear or failure of processing equipment, or through human error.  In fact, it is not uncommon for metal to contaminate food.  However, it is unusual that metal contaminated food reaches the end consumer.

All food companies use a combination of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors to separate and detect the metal.  When metal contaminated products are found to reach the consumer, it can be concluded that this safety equipment failed.

Reviewing the performance of the Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors on a regular basis is important to ensure that any metal contamination problem is identified and dealt with at the factory.  Regular audits will check the integrity of the Magnetic Separators, assessing and recording the magnetic strength and reassessing the location.  Audits for Metal Detectors will check the application, assessing detection sensitivities.

Often such audits find that changes in the process or product (including packaging) mean that the performance of the Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors is no longer optimised.

Thankfully, metal in food safety alerts remain relatively infrequent in the UK, although each one causes significant financial and reputation damage to the producer and food retailer.

For more information on preventing Metal Contamination Food Safety Scares, or to arrange a free onsite survey and audit of a particular plant or process, please contact the Bunting team on:

Phone:  +44 (0) 1442 875081

Email:  sales@buntingeurope.com

Via the website

 

 

 

Fish Cakes Contaminated with Metal

Youngs Seafood Recalls Metal and Plastic Contaminated Fish Cakes 

In February 2018, Young’s Seafood Ltd recalled its Chip Shop Fish Cakes 6 pack due to the possible presence of pieces of metal and plastic in some packs.  The presence of metal and plastic makes this product unsafe to eat and presents a safety risk. The affected product is sold in some Farmfoods and Heron Foods stores.

Youngs is a leading British producer and distributor of frozen, fresh, and chilled seafood, supplying approximately 40% of all the fish eaten in the United Kingdom every year.  However, this product recall damages their brand and customer confidence.

Where Does Metal Contamination Come From?

Metal contamination is commonly found in food processing plants.  It can be present in the food or ingredients delivered to the processing plant, or introduced during the production process.

Food producers use a combination of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors to ensure that the metal contamination is removed before the final packaged food is despatched to supermarkets and sales outlets.

So How Could This Latest Food Scare Happen?

Youngs is not the first or last major food producer to face a product recall due to metal contamination.  Most food producers have installed suitable Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors.  However, often the contamination issue is a result of old equipment no longer adequate for the application, a failure of equipment, or a change in the process.

Magnetic Separators do not lose magnetic strength over time unless they are damaged or subjected to high temperatures.  However, it is important to annually check the magnetic strength and integrity of the Magnetic Separators.  This can be easily done using a Magnetic Pull Test Kit as part of a Magnetic Separator Audit.

Bunting Magnetics Pull Test Kit

The Magnetic Separator Audit also reviews changes in the production process and may propose the relocation of some equipment to ensure that maximum protection is maintained.

Metal Detectors are often used later in the process, once the product is made and after packaging.  The settings of the Metal Detector need to be regularly checked, especially if there are changes in the production process, product or packaging.  Also, settings on the Metal Detector may be accidentally altered, reducing the sensitivity and resulting in metal contamination being missed.  Again, an annual Metal Detector Audit will review the performance and settings and ensure that there is maximum protection.

Unfortunately, reports on metal contaminated food are not unusual.  Other examples include:

For more information on preventing Metal Contamination Food Safety Scares, or to arrange a free onsite survey and audit of a particular plant or process, please contact the Bunting team on:

Phone:  +44 (0) 1442 875081

Email:  sales@buntingeurope.com

Via the website

Prime Location for Bunting at RWM 2018

Magnetic Separators Greet Visitors at RWM

Bunting Magnetics and Master Magnets have booked the stand greeting visitors as they enter through the main entrance at this year’s RWM recycling and waste exhibition (NEC, Birmingham, UK 12-13 September 2018).

“After last week’s RWM Digital Marketing Masterclass in London, we got together with Nick and the new RWM team and talked through the best way forward,” explained Dave Hills, Bunting’s Head of Sales.  “Everyone wants this show to be a success and so have taken the bold step of securing the stand opposite the entrance to the show.  Our aim is to have our stand full of working equipment to immediately capture the imagination of the visitors.”

Bunting Master Magnets at RWM17
The Bunting & Master Magnets stand at RWM17

Bunting Magnetics has been gradually increasing their presence at the show over the past 5 years.

“We started with a small stand at the back of the hall,” said Dave.  “Over the past few years our presence in the recycling industry has grown, especially when we acquired Master Magnets [January 2017].  And our stand has gradually increased in size and moved towards the show entrance.”

On the larger stand, that will greet visitors to RWM, Bunting and Master Magnets plan to exhibit a wide range of Metal Separation equipment including:

“Exhibiting working equipment at exhibitions has always worked for us,” said Dave.  “Seeing is believing and that starts at an exhibition.  Last year, visitors saw the separation capabilities of our Stainless Steel Separator and Eddy Current Separator and subsequently conducted tests in our laboratory at Redditch.  We want to demonstrate what is possible with our new and innovative technology.”

The stand at RWM18 will be the largest Bunting and Master Magnets has ever had in Europe.

“As one of the biggest manufacturers of metal separation equipment in the world, we wanted to make a bold statement.  We have some great ideas for visitor engagement at RWM and are already starting on our planning!”

For further information on Bunting Magnetics and Master Magnets and our range of metal separation equipment designed for the waste and recycling sector, please visit our website or contact us on:

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081
Email: press@buntingeurope.com
Via the website

 

 

Our 2017 Review

A Look Back at Our News & Blogs from 2017

2017 has been another busy and exciting time for Bunting Magnetics Europe with some great news stories.  In this blog we look back at the past 12 months and review the stories that hit our headlines.

January

bunting_master_magnetsWe started the year by announcing that Bunting had acquired leading UK Magnetic Separator and Metal Detection company Master Magnets.  This changed the Magnetic Separator landscape in Europe.

At the same time, the Bunting team was exhibiting at the Arabplast exhibition in Dubai.  The plastics focused event was attended and visited by plastics professionals across the region.  Sales were even made on the stand!

Our 7th of our 8 Magnetic Separator Myths examined the impossibility of achieving 100% metal separation.

To finish off January, we announced record sales in 2016 despite the backdrop of Brexit and political uncertainty.

February

We started the month with our 8th Magnetic Separator myth, asking if it was possible to block a magnetic field.

Bunting also joined the British Plastics Federation, reflecting our longtime involvement in the sector providing metal separation solutions.

Bunting at Exposolidos 2017

Our exhibition focus in the month was Exposolidos in Spain with our local representative SMED Tecnica.

In February, we also asked the question of whether our Environmental future is simple down to design?  This was written in response to the growing awareness of the environmental impact of waste that would gradually intensify through the year.

We finished off the month with the launch of the Teardrop Tube Magnet, ideal for use in fine powders where bridging might be an issue.

March

The strength of a Magnetic Separator is often expressed in ‘gauss’.  However, the vast majority of people are unable to measure gauss and so we showed a simple practical way to check the magnetic power using a simple spring balance.

Our 9th Magnetic Separator myth highlighted the dangers of strong Magnets and our 10th myth looked at ways to easily and safely clean captured metal off  Magnetic Separators.

We also investigated a US FDA report stating the ‘Ingesting Metal Fragments Can Cause Injury‘.

In March, we exhibited at the Southern Manufacturing and Electronics show in Farnborough UK.

April

Metal is commonly found in spices and we examined a typical plant and identified the best locations for Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors.

We also reported that we sold a record number of Plate Magnets in 2016 for export to Indonesia and 28 In-Line Magnets to a German baby food producer.

New Bunting Sales EmployeesWith the continued growth of the business, we were thrilled to announce the appointment of two new sales engineers, Tom Higginbottom and Gordon Kerr.

In April, UK supermarket Morrisons was hit by a metal-in-food scare and we looked at how this could have happened and ways in which such a problem could have been prevented.

May

Our Food Safety theme continued in May when, during a metal separation survey, we found large amounts of metal safely captured when processing rice.  Our Perfect Plant review assessed the best methods and equipment location to ensure that metal is removed from Processed Vegetables.

Exports continued to proved successful with the shipment of a HFS Drawer Magnet to a Plastics recycling company in France.

Our technical review in May reviewed the effect of high temperatures on Rare Earth Magnetic Separators.

June

There was a political flavour to news in June after the UK’s general election and we investigated what the leading parties were promising with regards to the environment.  At the same time, Bunting and Master Magnets were jointly exhibiting at Waste 17, a major UK recycling show in Manchester.

The week after, Bunting supported local representative BMS France at the FIP Solution Plastique exhibition in Lyon, France.

To mark the UK’s Food Safety Week, we reviewed recent cases of ‘metal’-in-food’ and the potential implications for the manufacturer, sales outlet, and customer.

July

Denis_Elkins_Bunting_Magnetics_Europe-2176In July, we were thrilled to announce the successful transition to ISO9001 2015 Quality and the ISO14001 2015 Environmental Standards.

In the media there was increasing attention on the issue of plastic waste in the environment and we commented on the necessity of a global strategy for Plastic Waste.

August

The environmental theme continued in August asking if the UK could realistically increase their metal packaging recycling rate by 10% by 2020.

September

As a prelude to RWM17, the UK’s largest waste and recycling show, we looked at 3 UK Waste and Recycling Facts such as asking how much waste do we actually generate?

Bunting Master Magnets at RWM17

After exhibiting at RWM, there were many questions being asked by exhibitors and visitors about the future of the event despite the importance of recycling and the global waste problem.

October

Bunting Magnetics Europe at Interplas 2017

The UK’s leading plastics show, Interplas, is held every 3 years and, as in previous years, it was very well supported by both exhibitors and visitors.  The environmental issues associated with plastic waste was gathering momentum.

Removing metal from fine powders can be extremely difficult and we produced a technical report looking at the best techniques and ideal equipment.

Tom Higginbottom attended the successful Bulk Solids & Powders show SyMas in Poland with the local Bunting representative TEKPRO.

November

The Manufacturing and Engineering industries have been concerned about the lack of young engineers and hopefully initiatives such as Tomorrow’s Engineers Week will help address this issue.

We were also excited to report two consecutive record sales months in September and October.  2017 was proving to be as successful as 2016.

Our latest Perfect Plant review focused on the brewing of beer and ensuring that all metal is removed to protect delicate processing equipment and the taste of the beer.

December

Pantomine BlogThe BBC TV series Blue Planet had highlighted the global problem of plastic waste in our oceans.  However, as the pressure increased on the plastics sector, we asked whether Plastic was the Pantomime Villain of the recycling world?

We hope you have enjoyed reading our news and blogs in 2017.  If there are any topics that you would like reviewed, then please get in touch and send an email to Paul our press officer (press@buntingeurope.com).

For further information on Magnetic Separators or Metal Detectors please contact the Bunting team on:

Is Plastic the Recycling Pantomime Villain?

Pressure Grows on Plastics and the Environment

In 2017 the media has gradually increased the pressure on the plastics industry by highlighting the effect of waste plastic in our global environment.  This focus shows no sign of going away, with the UN oceans chief stating that Ocean plastic is a ‘planetary crisis’.  

plastic-trash-in-oceans-and-waterways

Ironically, in many cases plastics are primarily used because they reduce weight and thus save energy and our natural resources.  Plastic packaging also significantly reduces food waste by keeping it fresh and is used when transporting food around the globe.

The world’s first fully synthetic plastic dates back to 1907 when the material bakelite was invented in New York by Leo Baekeland.  He also coined the term ‘plastics’.  Since then plastic has become one of the most versatile and used materials on the planet.

So why have we fallen out of love with plastic?

In July, we reported that academics were predicting that there would be 12 million metric tonnes of plastic being in landfill or the natural environment by 2050.  The recent David Attenborough nature series Blue Planet II shown on BBC1 has shown how waste plastic is found in our oceans, even reaching the depths of the Mariana Trench.

However, as highlighted by the British Plastics Federation at the UK’s waste and recycling show RWM (held in Birmingham, UK September 2017), the ‘plastic waste’ problem is complicated.

bunting_metal_separation_module_recapture_plastics-7611The fundamental global problem is that 2 million people do not have access to solid waste collection (United Nations).  The properties of plastic that make it so useful in our everyday lives also makes it difficult to breakdown and easy to get blown and transported away from the rubbish dump and into the local environment.  Gradually, this plastic waste will migrate down to the sea.

The larger problem is the origin of plastic waste.  In the developed world of the USA and Europe, investment in research and technology means that those countries only contribute approximately 2% of the plastic found in oceans.  82% is estimated to originate in Asia (The British Plastics Federation).

The problem is not just a ‘plastic waste’ issue but a ‘waste’ issue in general.  Plastic is not the only product being thrown away and ending up in our oceans.  Industrial waste is a huge problem, but is presently not the focus of attention.  In many developing countries dealing with waste is simply not their most important problem to address.  Malnutrition, housing, transport, jobs are all higher on the list of priorities.

Plastic has become waste’s ‘pantomime villain’.

This global problem needs a global solution.  There is no doubt that the designers of plastic products have a huge responsibility and need to consider the consequences of ideas such as introducing plastic microbeads into cosmetic products.

Bunting BPI-6151In the UK, we presently recycle 29% of our plastic and our target for 2020 is 57%.  The figure is so low due to the complexity of the process and economics.  Magnetic Separators, Eddy Current Separators and Metal Detectors remove metal and there is other technology to sort by colour and plastic type.  However, producing a useful plastic from waste that can be introduced as a raw material into primary plastic production (such as happens with aluminium and steel) is presently exceptionally difficult.  Until that happens, plastic waste will continue to pose a problem.

For further information on separating metal from plastics during the production of the virgin product or during the recycling process, please contact the Bunting team on:

Other articles on Plastics Recycling include:

Getting Metal Out of Beer

Ideal Locations for Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors in a Brewery

Thankfully, it is very unlikely that you will ever find a piece of metal in your glass of beer.  However, when tramp metal in the form of screws and nails is accidentally introduced during the brewing process, it damages processing equipment and can even affect the taste of the beer.  In this article we look at the best methods of ensuring that the brewing process is unaffected by tramp metal.

Bunting_Magnetics_Europe_Brewery_Plant

As with any food process, there are many locations where metal can be inadvertently introduced.  With raw materials being collected from the fields and then transported to the brewery in large trucks, contamination by metal and other materials is unavoidable.

Here we look at a typical brewery and identify where Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors could be located to remove any metal contamination.

Location 1 – Malt In-feed Line

When the malt is delivered by truck or rail, it is commonly pneumatically transported into storage silos.  A Pneumatic In-Line Magnet and/or Metal Detector would ensure that any tramp metal in the raw material feed is removed prior to storage.

Bunting Magnetics In Line Magnet-2

A Pneumatic In-Line Magnet is designed to easily fit into a pipeline without causing any obstruction.  It has a magnetically strong Plate Magnet mounted on one side which attracts and holds any ferrous metal.  This is then manually removed on a regular frequency.

The Metal Detector identifies and then ejects any remaining metal contamination, both ferrous and non-ferrous.  As most metal contamination at this stage is ferrous, installing the Metal Detector after the In-Line Magnet reduces the amount of metal detection rejects and thus reduces the loss of product.

Location 2 – Prior to Milling

cartridge_magnetsGrate Magnets are commonly positioned in or above the in-feed hopper to the mill, especially if there has been no previous metal separation or detection.  A Grate Magnet is a series of Tube Magnets designed in a grid to fit inside a hopper.  For maximum protection of the mill, the Grate Magnet uses a set of high magnetic strength Rare Earth Neodymium Tube Magnets.  Such protection ensures that no tramp metal enters the mill where it can cause serious and expensive damage.

Location 3 – Hot Water Feed to Mash Tun

Bunting Magnetic Liquid TrapWater is a common source of metal contamination in food processing plants and is also the one in-feed material that is often overlooked.  The nature of water means that rust is common and a simple Magnetic Liquid Trap is used to attract and capture any rogue ferrous metal, even in a very fine form.  A Magnetic Liquid Trap is designed to be easily introduced into a pipeline, with flanges or any other connector.  Inside the body, high strength Rare Earth Neodymium Tube Magnets project down into the material flow, attracting and capturing any ferrous or weakly magnetic materials.  The Tube Magnets are removed from the process and manually cleaned.

Location 4 – Between Mash Tun, Lauter Tun and Brew Kettle

Magnetic Liquid Traps could also be located between the Mash Tun, Lauter Tun and Brew Kettle, especially is there has been limited protection earlier in the process.

Location 5 – Hops In-feed Line

Protection is important whenever raw materials are introduced into the process and Grate Magnets and a Quicktron Metal Detector will ensure that hops entering the brew kettle are metal-free.  This design of Metal Detector is for free-fall material.  As the material enters the metal detector, any metal is detected and then automatically rejected.  The Grate Magnet reduces the amount of material lost during the rejection process by removing any ferrous metal.

Location 6 – Between Brew Kettle and Whirlpool/Settling Tank

After the brew kettle , a Magnetic Liquid Trap, with special Neodymium magnets designed to withstand high temperatures, will provide final protection prior to settling.

Location 7 – Yeast In-feed Line

As on the hops in-feed line, a combination of a Grate Magnet and Quicktron Metal Detector will ensure that any metal does not enter the process.

Location 8 – Between Conditioning Tank and Filter

To protect the filter, a Magnetic Liquid Trap is often installed after the conditioning tank.

Location 9 – Prior to Bottling

p-TRON-GM-V2As in many food processing plants, it is good practice to install a Metal Detector (in this case a P-Tron) at the final stage of the process.  This provides a final stage of protection to ensure that any metal introduced into the process from damaged processing equipment such as the filter or in the pipes is detected and removed.

This is a typical example of a Brewing Operation.  However, each plant is unique and often a site visit is required to assess and recommend the best ways to ensure a metal-free end product.

For further information on removing Metal during the brewing process using Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors, please contact the Bunting technical sales team on:

Other Food Plant Reviews include:

Bunting_Magnetics_Europe_Brewery_Plant

 

 

 

Developing Business in Poland at SyMas 2017

Bunting Support TEKPRO at International Trade Fair for Powder & Bulk Solids Technologies in Krakow, Poland

As part of their export business development strategy, Tom Higginbottom from Bunting will be supporting their Polish distributor TEKPRO at SyMas, the powder and bulk solids trade fair in Krakow, Poland (18-19 October 2017).

SyMas is an international exhibition focused on the processing, transport and storage of bulk goods, powders and granules.  TEKPRO are on stand A68.Bunting_at_SyMas17-2

Company TEKPRO Sp. z.o.o. was founded in March 2007 by Danish company TEKEMAS A/S  and the Swiss Dietrich Engineering Consultants sa .  They specialise in providing individual equipment and complete plants to handle and process bulk materials to the Polish market.

“Attending the exhibition and supporting the TEKPRO team is very important,” explained Bunting’s Sales Engineer Tom Higginbottom.  “Being at SyMas allows us to gain an understanding of the market, meeting existing and potential customers, and discussing the industry in general.”

Bunting_at_SyMas17-1TEKPRO will be displaying Bunting FF Drawer Filters and Grate Magnets on the stand.  Tom and the TEKPRO sales team will be giving advice to visitors about eradicating the problem of metal contamination using both Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors.

“Over the next 2-days it will be great to have an opportunity to get to know the TEKPRO team.  We will also take the opportunity to provide some additional training.  We are really looking forward to the show, and spending time in a very beautiful city,” said Tom.

For further information on removing metal contamination from bulk goods, powders and granules with Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors please visit the TEKPRO stand at SyMas or contact us on:

Other relevant Bulk Goods, Powders and Granules Articles

The Challenges of Removing Fine Iron from Powders

Magnetic Separators Designed for Processing Powders

Removing metal contamination when the tramp metal and material is granular is far more straightforward than when in a powder form.  To determine the best solution to remove fine iron contamination from powders, it is necessary to have a good understanding of the way the fine materials behave.

Powders are produced and used in a wide variety of industries including food, pharmaceuticals, refractories, and chemicals.  It is estimated that 80% of materials used in industry are in a powdered form.

flour-791840_960_720A ‘powder’ is defined as fine dry particles produced by the grinding, crushing, or disintegration of a solid substance.  The nature of a powder means that the handling and processing tends to be problematic as powders exhibit similar properties to both solids and liquids.

Metal contamination, commonly in an iron form, can be introduced into a material at any stage within a process.  Tramp metal that is undetected and remains in the product before the powder production stage, becomes significantly reduced in size and, subsequently, increasingly difficult to extract.

Magnetically susceptible metal contamination (i.e. iron) is commonly removed using Magnetic Separation Equipment, which traps metal using Ceramic Ferrite or Rare Earth Neodymium Iron Boron (Neodymium) Magnets.  Although there are Magnetic Separators where the magnetic field is produced via an electrical current, the vast majority utilize permanent magnets such as Ceramic Ferrite and Rare Earth Neodymium Iron Boron (Neodymium).  Ceramic Ferrite Magnets produce low strength but deep magnetic fields, while Neodymium Magnets create the strongest permanent magnetic presently commercially available.

Where Does The Metal Originate?

Metal contamination commonly originates in a powder from two sources:

  1. Primary large tramp metal, such as a nail, screw or bolt;Tube Cartridge Magnets Bunting Magnetics-5
  2. Primary or Secondary fine tramp iron. Primary fine iron or magnetic particles are often present in the raw material.  This originates from primary processing, transportation, or even naturally occurs in the original material.  Secondary fine iron originates from a larger tramp metal source that has been reduced in size during the process.  Typically, this could be from a nail, screw or bolt that has been through a size reduction process, or from damaged or worn processing equipment.  Another common source of secondary fine iron contamination is rust, falling into the process from weathered and worn processing equipment such as chains, hoists, and building cladding.

The separation and detection of tramp metal is easier when the metal contamination is in a larger form and can be successfully removed using a wide range of suitable Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors.  Magnetic Separators using standard strength Ceramic magnets, with deep magnetic fields, are ideal.  A good example is the Plate Magnet, often installed in a chute, in a housing, or as part of an In-Line Magnetic Separator.

Quicktron05A_Sodium Bicarbonate 2

Larger metal contamination is also easier to detect on a Metal Detector.  Metal is detected as it passes through the coil of the Metal Detector and an automatic reject system removes it from the flow.  For detection, the magnetic field generated by the Metal Detector has to see a state change.  Finer sized metal produces a lesser state change and thus increases the difficulty in detection.

In a project in Pakistan, a processor of fine Sodium Bicarbonate is using a Quicktron Metal Detector to remove the larger tramp metal.

Removing larger tramp metal with a Magnetic Separator and Metal Detector prior to the processing stage not only prevents the metal from being reduced in size (e.g. converted into a secondary source of fine iron contamination), but also protects delicate processing equipment such as granulators, shredders, and mills from being damaged by the metal.

Once in a powder form, there are processing parameters to consider when assessing the optimum method to remove fine iron contamination.

How Does a Powder Flow?

When a powder is sprinkled, it remains light and free.  However, when the same powder is vibrated or compressed, it may become very dense and even lose the ability to flow.

Individual grains in a powder cling to each other in clumps, in accordance with the Van der Waals force.  This coagulation often results in the fine iron being trapped in among clean product.  The ability of any Magnetic Separator to attract, hold and separate the fine iron is dependent on the iron being as close to the magnetic field as is physically possible.  If the fine iron contacts the surface of a Magnetic Separator with a high strength magnetic field, it will be held.  However, when the fine iron is held inside a coagulation of powder, then it could be held out of the reach of the maximum magnetic force.  Thus, it will not be separated.

The way a powder flows impacts on the design of the Magnetic Separator.  Powders flowing in a hopper may experience classic flow problems such as ratholing, bridging or flooding, all of which could be exacerbated by the design of Magnetic Separator.

Different Designs of Magnetic Separator

Plate Magnets Bunting Magnetics-9797High strength magnetic fields, as produced by Neodymium, are needed to capture fine iron metal contamination.  There are four main magnet configurations suitable for handling powders.

  1. Tube Magnets (also known as Rod Magnets and Cartridge Magnets), often in a multi-rod Grate configuration;
  2. Flat-faced Magnetic Plates;
  3. Cone-shaped Magnets;
  4. Magnetic Drums with a curved magnetic arc;

Although occasionally a Tube Magnet may be used on its own, it is more commonly part of a larger multi-cartridge Grate system.  The Magnetic Grate is designed to fit inside a hopper, or can be supplied complete with a housing (i.e. as a Drawer Filter Magnet).ff-neo-4

In operation, powder falls freely onto the surface of the Tube Magnet where fine iron strikes the surface and is held by the strong magnetic field.  To ensure that the powder makes contact with the Cartridge surface, deflectors are often deployed above the gaps between the Cartridges.

Powder build-up on the surface of a Magnetic Cartridge will reduce the separation efficiency.  Also, in severe cases, a slight build up on the surface of the Cartridge may quickly cause a blockage of the whole housing.

Such blockages can be prevented by ensuring that there is optimum space between the Magnetic Cartridges.  Also, in some cases, the mounting of an external vibrating motor on the side of the hopper or housing will provide enough disturbance to prevent any material coagulation.  The frequency of the vibration needs careful consideration as it could affect the flow ability of the powder.  Additionally, when vibrators are used, the Magnetic Cartridges need to be manufactured to withstand prolonged periods of vibration.

Bunting Teardrop Tube Magnet

‘Teardrop’ shaped Tube Magnets are specifically designed to stop the build-up of fine powder on the surface.  The sharp edge of the teardrop faces up into the product flow and allows material to flow around the edge and into the magnetic field.  Magnetic particles are captured and held underneath the Tube Magnet.

Flat-faced Magnetic Plates are ideal when it is possible for the material to flow over the surface.  For fine iron removal, the Magnetic Plates would use high strength Neodymium Magnets.  This magnetic field is further enhanced when a Tapered Step is added to the face of the magnet.  Captured iron migrates behind the step and away from the material flow, reducing the risk of re-entering the cleansed product.

As well as being fitted into chutes, Magnetic Plates are incorporated into housings.  The Plate Housing Magnets resist bridging and choking to remove tramp iron and ferrous fines from flow-resistant bulk materials.  The stainless steel housings mount easily to enclosed spouting or directly on processing equipment.

There are optional square, rectangular, and round adapters for easy connection to existing chute work.  A baffle at the top of the housing helps break up clumps and directs product flow over the unit’s two powerful Plate Magnets.

Bunting Magnetics In Line Magnet

Plate Magnets are also used in In-Line Magnets and there are two designs:

  1. Gravity In-Line Magnets (GIM) – The Plate Magnets are positioned in round, sloping spouting where material is under gravity flow.  For effective tramp metal capture, the spouting should be angled no more than 60° from horizontal;
  2. Pneumatic In-Line Magnets (PIM) – These designs are for use in dilute phase pneumatic conveying systems (up to 15psi). They can be installed easily with optional factory-supplied compression couplings and work best in horizontal runs with the plate magnet down to take advantage of material stratification;

Another design of In-Line Magnet is the Center-Flow, although the magnetic field is generated in a Cone configuration instead of a Plate.  The Magnetic Cone is positioned in the center of the housing, allowing the powder to flow in the space left between the housing.  Center-Flow In-Line Magnetic Separators are commonly used in dilute-phase pneumatic conveying lines up to 15psi.

To achieve optimum contact with the product flow, a conical magnet is suspended in the center-line of the housing.  This tapered, exposed-pole cartridge has a stainless steel “nose cone” to direct the flow of materials around the magnet.  The tapered poles of the cone magnet allow ferrous fines to collect out of the direct air stream.  Additionally, the trailing end of the magnet is an active magnetic pole and holds any tramp metal that is swept down the cone.

Both types of In-Line Magnet are designed with clamps and doors to enable easy access for cleaning.

drumIn specific applications, a high strength Neodymium Drum Magnet will enable the best level of separation.  The Drum Magnet is gravity-fed, usually via a Vibratory Feeder.  The Drum Magnet has a stationary high-strength magnetic arc positioned inside a rotating outer shell.  When material flows onto the drum magnet, the magnetic field projected by the stationary magnetic assembly inside the shell captures fine iron and holds it securely to the drum’s stainless steel surface.  With contaminants removed, the good product falls freely to a discharge point.  As the drum rotates, the captured fine iron travels along the drum surface and out of the magnetic field, where it is discharged.

There are various magnetic field configurations possible, but the most suitable for removing iron from powder is one that produces a Radial Magnetic Field.  This ensures that once captured, the fine iron does not leave the Drum surface until it moves out of the magnetic field.

Processing powder on a Drum Magnet presents more difficulties that other designs of Magnetic Separators.  Firstly, it is recommended that the Vibratory Feeder has an air bed to produce a consistent feed of powder.  Standard Vibratory Feeders may deliver powder in clumps, significantly affecting the separation performance.

Secondly, the shell of the Drum Magnet should be rotated at high speeds.  This will result in some of the powder pluming, and this can be minimized by keeping the distance between the end of the Vibratory Feeder Tray and the rotating surface of the Drum Magnet to a minimum.

The high rotation speed of the Drum Magnet significantly reduces the amount of product lost to the magnetics.  This is because there is less material on the surface of the Drum at any one time, reducing the chance of entrapment.

The use of Drum Magnets operating at high rotational speeds has been very successful in removing fine iron from abrasives, refractories, and other applications where the material has a high specific gravity.

Ensuring Powder is Metal-Free

As the demand for finer and purer powders increases, so does the need to remove even the finest iron.  Understanding the properties and behavior of the powder is vitally important when considering the optimum method of fine iron separation.  Often the ultimate solution is a series of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors located at strategic points within the process.

For further information on removing fine metal contamination from powders with Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors please contact us on:

Environmental Issues Highlighted at Interplas 2017

Interplas Exhibition Well Supported by Plastics Industry 

On the morning of day 2 of the Interplas 2017 exhibition (26th – 28th September, NEC, Birmingham, UK), BBC Radio 5 Live featured a news item reporting that UK pub operator, JD Weatherspoon, had decided to stop using plastic straws.  This announcement highlighted the challenges facing the plastics sector.

Bunting Magnetics Europe at Interplas 2017

Interplas 2017 is the UK’s premier show for the plastics sector and proved to be a great success.  As experienced at many UK trade exhibitions, the footfall was not as seen at shows in the USA, Germany or other European countries, but the visitors to the Bunting stand had specific metal contamination issues in their plastics production process that needed a solution.

However, plastics and their environmental impact continue to hit the headlines.  Indeed, there were two large posters on the stand of the British Plastics Federation asking:

“As we supply equipment both to companies manufacturing primary plastic products and recycling plastics, we see the problem from both sides,” said Dave Hills, Bunting’s Head of Sales.Bunting Magnetics Europe at Interplas 2017

“Even when manufacturing primary plastics, it has been common and good practice for companies to recycle and reuse their plastic waste for many years.  Indeed, this often necessitates the need for Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors, removing any rogue metal introduced during this recycling process.”

“However, the real challenge is collecting, processing and then producing a usable plastic product from recovered secondary plastic materials.  Again, we have installed Metal Separation Systems to remove ferrous and non-ferrous metals (eg at Recapture Plastics), but there remain challenges with the end market for the final recycling-sourced plastic product.”

There appears to be a growing appetite for focusing on the issue of plastics in the environment.  The implementation of charges for plastic bags by firstly the Welsh, and then the UK governments may be the first of many initiatives to reduce the use of plastic products.  The latest announcement by JD Weatherspoon about banning plastic straws is expected to be followed by similar announcements by other major coffee shops and food outlets.

At Interplas 2017, the vast majority of the exhibitors were focused on primary plastic production.  With the ever-increasing global focus on environmental issues, we wonder how different the exhibitor and visitor make-up will be at Interplas 2020.

For further information on Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors for removing metal during the primary plastic production process or in a recycling operation, please contact us on: