Supporting Tomorrows Engineers Week

Bunting Managing Director Highlights the Importance of Developing Future Engineers

The UK’s Tomorrow’s Engineers Week (6-10 November 2017) highlights the need for the development of young engineers.  The organisation identifies that 186,000 people with engineering skills will be needed annually through to 2024.

We talk with Simon Ayling (Bunting Europe’s Managing Director) to find out the importance of such initiatives.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

“The United Kingdom has always had a fantastic engineering and manufacturing reputation.  We have had engineers whose work has changed history including Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859), who was the engineer behind the building of the Great Western Railway and even redirected the River Taff in Cardiff, and in more recent times Sir Tim Berners Lee who invented the World Wide Web.

In the UK Bunting designs and manufactures engineered products and equipment at two sites.  Our Bunting Magnetics manufacturing plant in Berkhamsted focuses on magnet technology, utilising the magnetic forces to develop magnetic systems that power wind turbines and and drive electric motors.

At our newly acquired Master Magnets manufacturing facility in Redditch we specialise in the design and manufacture of Magnetic Separation equipment.  These systems use magnetic forces to separate materials and are used widely in recycling and mineral processing.

In both operations we depend heavily on the engineering skills of our employees.  We have a Technical Sales Team, with engineering backgrounds, who are skilled in assessing a client’s problem or requirement.  In the offices we have Engineering Teams, designing magnetic based solutions.  Once the design has been confirmed, our skilled engineers on the shop floors then have the responsibility of building the equipment.

Without engineers, our business would not exist.

However, the number of people who are interested in pursuing a career in engineering is a concern.  In fact, when many young people leave school they are unaware of the exciting opportunities in engineering.

Bunting Magnetics Magnetic Assemblies

A career in engineering will be dynamic, challenging and exciting, unlike many others.  We are designing and building equipment that is helping the environment by automatically recovering aluminium cans from waste (Eddy Current Separator).  We design and supply magnetic materials and magnetic assemblies for commercial and military aerospace partners with some bespoke components supplied into the satellite industry.  Our magnetic equipment makes a difference.

Initiatives such as Tomorrows Engineers Week will hopefully encourage companies like us to shout about what we do and ignite the imagination of our future engineers.  We need you!”

For further information on Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors please contact us on:

Quality and Environmental Accreditation for Bunting Magnetics Europe

Bunting Successfully Transition to ISO9001 2015 Quality and ISO14001 2015 Environmental Standards

Bunting Magnetics Europe has successfully transitioned to the new ISO9001:2015 Quality and ISO 14001 :2015 Environment Standards.  The certification covers the manufacture and supply of Magnetic Separators, Metal Detectors, and Magnets and Magnetic Assemblies from their European manufacturing headquarters in Berkhamsted, UK.


Denis Elkins, Bunting Magnetics Europe’s Quality Assurance Manager, explained the importance of transitioning to the ISO9001:2015 Quality standard.

“Bunting has held the ISO9001 quality standard since May 2005.  The quality of our products, manufacturing processes, and business management is of utmost importance to us and our customers, and, we believe, is one of the primary reasons for our continued success.”

The ISO 9001:2015 Quality Standard was revised in 2015 and now has a definitive focus on business performance.  The process approach has been combined with risk-based thinking, promoting the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle at all levels in the organization.  The new standard acknowledges that modern organisations will have several management standards in place, and the 2015 version has been designed to be easily integrated with other management systems.  The new version also provides a solid base for sector-quality standards (automotive, aerospace, medical industries, etc.), and takes into account the needs of regulators.

Bunting also recognises the importance of adopting good working practices in accordance with international Environmental Standards and originally attained the ISO14001 standard in February 2002.  The ISO14001:2015 Environmental Standard sets out the criteria for a certifiable environmental management system.  It maps out a framework that a company or organization can follow to set up an effective environmental management system, regardless of its activity or sector.

“We have been actively involved in the environmental sector supplying metal recycling equipment for many years,” explained Denis, “and so maintaining this environment standard was simply common-sense.  As a UK manufacturing company we recognise that we have a responsibility to protect the environment and the standard provides the framework to implement, measure and manage the most effective methods of operation to reduce waste and pollution.”

For further details on Bunting Magnetics Europe Ltd or our range of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors, please contact our technical sales team on:

High Interest in Magnetic Separation at Waste 16

Whilst exhibiting at the Waste 16 exhibition in Salford, UK, last week (9th June AJ Bell Stadium), we had the opportunity to talk with companies about ways to improve metal separation and recovery.

The Waste 16 exhibition had both internal and external areas and featured a wide range of recycling technology from mobile screens and crushers to magnetic separators.  Organised by Skip Hire Magazine, this was the 3rd year of the show providing companies based in the North with their own waste and recycling exhibition platform.

We had attended in 2015 and, in 2016, Bunting Europe was back as one of the headline sponsors.

Maximising metal separation was a major concern for many of the companies visiting the Bunting stand.  The volatility of metal prices and the need for increased purity of recycled materials led to questions about enhancing existing Magnetic Separator systems.

Bunting_Magnetics_Europe_at_Waste_16-7720As an illustration of what Metal Separation Technology is available, on the stand was a large photo of a new Metal Separation Module installed at Recapture Plastics in Kent.  This installation features a strong, high intensity Drum Magnet followed by an Eddy Current Separator and removes ferrous and non-ferrous metal from shredded recycled plastic.

Visitors also wanted discuss the separation of Stainless Steel and Printed Circuit Boards as achieved using the HISC.  This ultra high strength Magnetic Separator enables separation of materials not previously possible.

Bunting_Magnetics_Europe_at_Waste_16-6940The Twin Pole Overband Magnet was the focus of several discussions.  At the show it was possible to explain the difference between a Twin Pole and Single Pole Overband Magnet and how that has a dramatic effect on the separation capability.  Many visitors already had single pole Overband Magnets but were finding that the separation and purity of the recovered steel just wasn’t good enough and were unaware that there was better Overband Magnet technology available.

As well as more advanced Magnetic Separators, a range of standard Magnetic Separators including FF Drawer Magnets, Plate Magnets and In-Line Magnets were on display.  This gave visitors the opportunity to test the magnetic strength trying to pull bolts off the surface out of the strong magnetic field.

Waste 16 again proved to be a good exhibition and we were really pleased with the high level of quality leads.

For further information on Magnetic Separators and Eddy Current Separators for recycling applications, please contact us on:

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081

Getting Metal Out of Chocolate

A Guide to the Best Locations for Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors in a Chocolate Production Line

Chocolate is made from the exceptionally hard cocoa bean and this means that metal gets introduced into the process, especially from equipment wear.  There have been a number of food safety alerts due to metal contamination in chocolate including the Raw Chocolate Company recalling chocolate goji berries because they may contain small pieces of metal.

However, a series of carefully selected and placed Metal Detectors and Magnetic Separators will remove any metal from the process before it becomes a bar that is loved by millions.

Magnetic Separator Location in a Chocolate Production Line
The locations for Magnetic Separators in a chocolate production process line

The Stages of Metal Removal

Stage 1 – When the cocoa beans are discharged from the delivery vessel, metal is removed by passing all the beans through a heavy duty Grate Magnet.  This captures any larger ferrous metal, like nails, nuts and bolts.

Stage 2 – After the cocoa beans have been cleaned and roasted, they are cracked with the shells being discarded and the nuts being fed into the process.  After cracking, the nuts can be fed on a conveyor through a Metal Detector (Metron C) before passing onto the grinder.  This protects the grinder from being damaged by metal freed in the cracking process.

Stage 3 – After the grinder, the nuts have been converted into a chocolate liquor.  The process of grinding will introduce fine metal into the process and this is removed with a Magnetic Liquid Trap followed by a P-Tron Metal Detector.

Liquid Chocolate Magnetic Trap
A Bunting Magnetic Liquid Trap with a Waterjacket

Stage 4 – The chocolate liquor passes through a hydraulic press where it is split into cocoa butter and cake for cocoa powder.  The cocoa cake is fed onto a grinder and screen with the packaged cocoa powder being passed through a Metal Detector Metron C on a conveyor as a final check.

Stage 5 – The cocoa butter is fed onto a mixer where sugar, milk and flavouring is added.  After mixing and passing through a series of rollers, the mixture is emulsified before being heated.  This molten hot mix is then passed through a Magnetic Liquid Trap with a waterjacket (the hot water in the waterjacket stops any material from cooling).   Care has to be taken in selecting the right magnets as high temperatures can irreversibly damage the magnetic field.  The magnets must be suitable for use in high temperature environments.  After the Magnetic Liquid Trap, the mixture is passed through a P-Tron Metal Detector to detect any non-ferrous metal that may still be present.  This joint protection is important to prevent damage to the next stage of the process (the moulds).

Stage 6 – After the chocolate is fed into moulds it is then cooled.  The final check is after cooling, when the moulded and formed chocolate is then fed on a conveyor through a Metal Detector (Metron C).  The metal-free chocolate is then packaging and despatched for sale to the millions of chocolate lovers all over the world.

Multi-stage Metal Detection and Magnetic Separation may appear excessive, but the best way to remove all metal from the process is to focus on areas where metal may be introduced or released as part of the production process.

For further information on ‘Getting Metal Out’ of Chocolate or any foodstuffs, please contact us on:

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081

Other Food Safety Articles



The Misconception of Eddy Current Rotor Speed

1st of 5 Misconceptions About Eddy Current Separation

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.  One of the first Eddy Current Separators was built by the Bird Group in the UK in 1981 and the separation system has now become common place in recycling operations across the world.  But there are still some misconceptions about eddy current separation.

The magnetic rotor needs to rotate as fast as possible.

An Eddy Current Separator consists of a Magnetic Rotor with alternating magnetic poles rotating inside a slower rotating non-metallic shell.  Eddy Currents are induced into a non-ferrous metal particle when exposed to the changing magnetic polarity.  The eddy currents cause an electric current to be generated in the non-ferrous metal particle that produces its own magnetic field.  This magnetic field reacts with the rotating magnetic field of the rotor, resulting in a repulsive effect that throws the non-ferrous metal away from the rotating magnetic field.


It would be fair to assume that increasing the number of polarity changes in one second would have an effect on the separation.  In practice, the actual amount that a non-ferrous metal particle is thrown reaches a peak and as the rotor speed increases then separation actually deteriorates.

To inject the maximum amount of repulsive energy into a non-ferrous metal particle there needs to be a dwell time when the two opposing fields meet and if this is too short then the injected energy is less.  It is considered that very high rotation speeds do not allow for sufficient dwell time.  Nevertheless, manufacturers commonly claim that Eddy Currents with the highest rotating speed are the best designs.

In reality, the optimum separation speed will be unique to each design of Eddy Current Magnetic Rotor, but is commonly between 2,600 and 5,000 RPM.

Also, there are other considerations such as maintenance and wear.  As the rotor speed increases there is a higher wear factor on key components such as bearings.  Then the question has be asked that if one more item of metal is recovered by a Magnetic Rotor spinning at 5,000 RPM than one operating at 3,000 RPM but the resultant bearing wear is high, is it better to run at the lower speed.

Bunting will be exhibiting at Waste 16 on 9th June 2016 and RWM at the NEC in Birmingham (13th – 15th September 2016) and will be available to discuss the technology and physics behind eddy current separation.

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:



Can the UK Match Brazil for Aluminium Recycling?

Record Breaking Aluminium Can Recycling in Brazil

This news in Recycling International must have raised a few eyebrows in the UK and European recycling communities.  Even though Brazil has been the number 1 Aluminium Can Recycler since 2001, the latest reported figures of 98.4% recycling is very impressive.  Maybe even more so when you consider that the EU recycling rate of Aluminium UBCs is around 70%.


Reclaim, Recover and Recycle continues to be the mantra of European governments and although huge advances have been made in the past decades, reaching politically set targets appears to be difficult. And yet a developing country like Brazil, with considerable social and economic challenges, has nearly been able to achieve the impossible 100% recycling target.

In the UK, a large proportion of Aluminium UBCs are recovered through Materials Reclamation Facilities (MRFs).  The feedstock to these recycling operations varies considerably from well pre-sorted to almost mixed waste.  There is no single UK waste strategy and each local authority pursues their own individual recycling agenda.

Within the recycling process of a MRF, most use a Non Ferrous Metal Eddy Current Separator.  This Magnetic Separator operates on the basis of material being conveyed into a strong and rotating magnetic field which then causes the aluminium to be propelled away from non-metallic material.  The separation is very dynamic and impressive to see.

However, the success of the Eddy Current Separator is dependent upon the presentation of material.  This means that deep heavy burdens of waste will commonly result in poor levels of recovery and low metal purity.  Presentation is key.

In practice, many of the recycling operations are focused and judged on material throughput and not recovery and this means that equipment like the Eddy Current Separator is often overloaded and, therefore, under-performs.  It is a common problem and a challenge for many MRF operators.

Again, the success of recycling comes down to which targets are set and maybe this is where Brazil has got it right.

For further information on Magnetic Separation equipment used to recover both steel and aluminum from waste, please contact our technical sales team on:

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081
Fax: +44 (0) 1442 875009

How can UK Recycling Equipment Manufacturers Successfully Sell into Germany?

Germany has been one of the main recycling driving forces in the EU and this has helped develop a very successful Recycling Equipment Manufacturing sector.  German manufacturers have often led the way with the development of new recycling technology and have been very successful at exporting to other EU countries including the UK, the USA and generally around the world.

Bunting Exhibiting in Germany

With such a strong indigenous recycling equipment sector, breaking into the German market can be challenging.  However, with the right strategy and good quality engineering it is possible to secure a portion of the largest recycling market in Europe and here are some guidelines:

  1. Ensure that the Recycling Equipment is well designed and manufactured.  This might sound obvious, but supplying the equipment to a German customer that proves problematic may result in that being the last that ever crosses the border;
  2. Enlist the support of a well-known and respected Marketing Agent or Distributor.  Even though they may not be an employee, develop a relationship whereby they are an extension of the company in Germany.  Bunting Magnetics is presently searching for Marketing Agents in Germany for the recycling sector and if this is of interest, please contact us via our website or email Dave Hills at;
  3. Converse and provide good technical documentation in German.  Even though many Germans speak excellent English and their language skills are far more developed that people in the UK, providing information in the local language is essential to be successful.  Bunting has invested in having German speaking sales staff based at the headquarters in Berkhamsted, UK;
  4. After the equipment has been supplied, ensure that there is good after-sales service with regular visits and easy provision of spares;
  5. Don’t be frightened of the local competition.  Like any other business, German companies want to buy good equipment at the right price from a company that they can trust;Bunting Stainless Steel Separator at RWM2015-0174
  6. Introduce new technology to the market.  On the 4th and 5th November, Bunting is launching a new Magnetic Separator for separating and recovering weakly magnetic materials like Stainless Steel at the Recycling Technik show in Dortmund.  The High Intensity Separation Conveyor was launched at RWM 2015 (a major UK recycling show) in September 2015 and this will be the first time it is exhibited in Germany;
  7.  Exhibit at trade shows.  German exhibitions are, arguably, the best in Europe and offer an ideal platform to introduce and promote a company and equipment to potential customers.  Also, have the Recycling Equipment working on the stand as ‘seeing is believing’.
  8. Walk trade show, assessing the market and the competition.  This is a key part of researching the market and often simply highlights the huge potential.

The opportunities in the recycling sector in Germany are greater than any other country in Europe and it is time that UK Recycling Equipment Manufacturers secured a larger share of that market.  We look forward to seeing you at Recycling Technik in Dortmund.

Bunting Magnetics design, manufacture and supply an extensive range of metal separation equipment including Magnetic Separators, Eddy Current Separators and Metal Detectors.

Forcefully Creating a Recycling Landscape

Over the centuries, markets for products have developed from demand and supply.  It is a simple concept.  Somebody wants something and another person supplies it.  However, in today’s ‘environmentally-friendly’ age, politicians are desperately trying to create a market for recycled materials, as reported by PRW.

Bunting Cross Belt Magnet at VulcanisRecycling is an age-old concept and even Romans reclaimed and recovered metal to sell.  The issue is not as much about recycling as it is about market forces and today’s disposable society.  It must not be forgotten that many of the reclaimed materials, such as metal, have been successfully recycled and traded for hundreds of years, but there is now a batch of materials that have no natural recycling market.

The standard way to handle post-consumer waste is to collect pre-sorted materials (eg a mix of metal, glass, plastic and paper), transport this to a Materials Reclamation Facility (MRF) and then separate those materials.  Separation occurs by hand by pickers and mechanically (eg ferrous metal is recovered using Magnetic Separators and non-ferrous metal are recovered using Eddy Current Separators).  There are companies who want to purchase the metals, but what about the other materials?

Glass is another material that has been recycled for years (Note:  the milk bottle in the UK was one of the most successful reuses of a material that has now all but disappeared) and the process is proven and is very successful.  Sadly, there is little value to the recovered glass, but there is an outlet.

There used to be a market for second hand paper with small businesses collecting paper on the streets in the 1980s.  Such a market no longer exists.  Recovered paper is used to produce many different products, but the actual value of the recovered paper is minimal.

Plastic is a problem.  The way plastic containers are made means that often they contain different types of plastic that make it almost impossible to recycle.  It has a high calorific value and so is ideal to burn, but many do not deem this to be ‘environmentally-friendly’.  It is used to produce some plastic products (eg benches) but there are only so many of these that can be manufactured.  And, there is no true value for this reclaimed plastic.

By going back to the initial statement that markets develop from supply and demand, then there are serious issues regarding the viability of recycling specific materials.  The politicians believe that by imposing targets and fines, then this will create a market, but will that really be the case?  Technology and a desire to use reclaimed materials such as plastics will create the market, not politicians.  If companies producing plastic materials fail to develop techniques and processes to use recovered plastics and also change the design of the plastic products to enable easier recycling, then the real market for the product will not exist.  In mid September, the UK’s largest waste and recycling exhibition RWM is being held at the NEC in Birmingham and it will be interesting to see how many politicians who are proposing and implementing these new recycling initiatives will be present.  By speaking with primary producers, recyclers and equipment suppliers, maybe they will gain a better understanding of the challenges.

In essence, maybe the politicians need to rethink the strategy.

How do you separate stainless steel?

Separating and recovering stainless steel is an issue faced by many companies processing material, from the Recycling industry (where the focus is recovery or removal) to Food manufacturing (where the aim is purely removal).  So how can you do it?

Firstly, the assumption is that stainless steel is non-magnetic?  But is that actually the case?

In fact, the answer is, unfortunately, a little complicated.

As for whether they are magnetic, the answer is that it depends. There are several families of stainless steels with different physical properties. A basic stainless steel has a ‘ferritic’ structure and is magnetic. These are formed from the addition of chromium and can be hardened through the addition of carbon (making them ‘martensitic’) and are often used in cutlery. However, the most common stainless steels are ‘austenitic’ – these have a higher chromium content and nickel is also added. It is the nickel which modifies the physical structure of the steel and makes it non-magnetic.

So the answer is yes, the magnetic properties of stainless steel are very dependent on the elements added into the alloy, and specifically the addition of nickel can change the structure from magnetic to non-magnetic.  Also, it is possible for the magnetic permeability of austenitic steels to be changed during processing. For example, cold work, welding and abrasion are liable to increase the amount of martensite and ferrite respectively in the steel.

In industry, whether that is in recycling or food processing, the stainless steel has been ‘worked’ and the vast majority has a recognizable albeit low magnetic attraction.  Then it is a case of using the right technology to enable separation.  This can be achieved with:

  1. Metal Detectors
  2. Magnetic Separators

The most recent technological development in Magnetic Separation is the High Intensity Separation Conveyor, which is shown to separate stainless steel items such as razor blades.

So to answer the question, yes it is possible to separate stainless steel and the type of technology needed is very much dependent on the application.  Further information can be obtained by speaking with one of Bunting’s technical engineers.

Attractive Magnet Photographs

Magnets Bunting Magnetics-3 Having the right images and photographs to market the wide range of Magnets, Magnetic Assemblies and Magnetic Separators designed and manufactured by Bunting Magnetics Europe Ltd is always a challenge.  The photographic library is forever increasing with photographs taken during the manufacturing process and at site.  Changes in marketing methods, especially with the continued expansion of on-line marketing, mean that creative and imaginative photography is increasingly important.  Any social media marketing is far more likely to get engagement if supported with a relevant and interesting image.

As part of the promotional campaign for the forthcoming Southern Manufacturing Exhibition in Farnborough on the 10th – 12th February, a range of photographs were commissioned.  The brief was to focus on the extensive manufacturing capabilities, especially focusing on Magnets and Magnetic Assemblies. The complete manufacturing process was reviewed, with photographs taken capturing the engineering team during the design process, through manufacture and onto final assembly.  The aim was to emphasize that there is more to magnets that being on the front of fridges or being seen as the classic Horseshoe Magnet.  There is a great deal of science in the design and production.  Also, many people are unaware that they are using devices where magnets are a key component in their operation including laptop computers and Smart phones.  The symmetry and precision of the final magnet and magnetic assemblies proved ideal for the photographs, which have now been used on a range of social media and in on-line press.

Magnets, Bunting

The Magnetic Separation product range focused on some of the smaller ferrous metal separation systems such as the FF Drawer Magnet which captures ferrous metal contamination present in free-flowing products.  All Magnetic Separators have been designed using Bunting’s extensive knowledge of magnetism and magnetic circuitry.

Bunting Magnetics Europe Ltd, part of the Bunting Magnetics Co group,  is a leading global designer, manufacturer and supplier of a wide range of magnetic technology.  All the photographs were taken by Paul Fears Photography.