Magnetic separation is an industrial process where ferromagnetic contaminants are recovered from materials on the production line. Manufacturers use this to extract useful metal, separate recycling, purify materials, and perform a wide variety of other tasks. Manufacturers of magnetic separation equipment may have a range of products available for sale for different applications, including an assortment of sizes with strong and weak magnetic fields to attract different kinds of magnetic material.
The magnetic separator consists of a large rotating drum that creates a magnetic field. Materials enter the separator and fall out through mesh at the base if they are not magnetic. Sensitive particles respond to the magnetism and cling to the sides of the container. The drums can be used in continuous processing of materials as they move along the assembly line, or in batch jobs, where a single batch is run through all at once.
One common use for magnetic separation is to remove unwanted metal from a shipment of goods. Magnetic separation can help companies keep materials pure, as well as remove things like nails and staples that may have crept into a shipment. The equipment can also purify ores, separate components for recycling, and perform a variety of other tasks where metals need to be separated or isolated. Equipment can range in size from a desktop unit for a lab that needs to process small amounts of material to huge drums used in scrap metal recycling centers.
Manufacturers of magnetic separation equipment typically provide specifications for their products for the benefit of prospective customers. Consumers may need equipment that targets a specific range of metals, or could require large size or high speed capacity. It may be possible to rent or lease equipment for some applications, or if a factory wants to try a device before committing to a purchase. Used equipment is also available.
A gentler form of magnetic separation can be used for delicate tasks like removing magnetic materials from cremated remains or finds at an archaeological site. In these situations, a technician carefully moves a magnet over the material to pull out materials like staples and jewelry. At a crematorium, this is necessary before ashes are ground, as metal objects can damage the equipment. For archaeologists, it can provide a mechanism for carefully separating materials at a find and documenting the position and location of various objects as the archaeologist uncovers them on site or in a lab.