The Future of Magnetic Separation
MPI’s Kyle Rhodes and Kris Tennyson spent some time with Steven Kilger of Feed and Grain Magazine discussing the importance of an effective magnetic separation and metal control system in food and bulk material processing, the disruptive nature of MPI’s Intell-I-Mag® technology, and the future of magnetic separation. Spoiler alert – it’s more efficient, automated, and sustainable than ever.
No one wants to eat metal.
Keeping metal out of food and other bulk materials is an ongoing challenge – one that, if not appropriately planned and prioritized can cost a company millions of dollars in rejected product and open them up to recall risk and brand reputation damage, not to mention, reduce the longevity of processing equipment that is damaged by metal in the product stream.
“We add magnets in three areas of the plant,” says Kyle, “with the purpose of making sure there is no metal in the line that can damage your equipment and also to ensure the purity of the products. The best way to keep metal out of your finished product, is to make sure it never comes in, in the first place.” Which is why processors need magnetic separators at primary locations – or locations where product directly enters the plant from a third party.
As product flows through the plant, it should encounter magnetic separators at key points in production to remove any metal that was unable to be captured during a high-volume product delivery. These secondary separators prevent metal from moving through the production facility and damaging equipment.
The third type of separation is found finishing applications – right before the product goes into a package. These magnets pull fine ferrous metal from the product stream and help ensure it’s safe for consumption.
“Fun fact – while stainless steel is not magnetic, work hardened stainless steel is,” continues Kyle, “these finishing magnets pull out any metal that has chipped of processing equipment – which is normal – along with any other remaining metal that has not been removed.”
That's the foundation of magnetic separation – what's new?
“This might come as a bit of surprise, but there aren’t that many big changes with magnets,” adds Kris, “in the last twenty years the intelligent magnet is the most revolutionary thing to happen to the separation industry.”
“Up until now, magnets have always been dumb,” continues Kris, “they show up to work, they try hard, but they are just dumb magnets. What that means is someone has to constantly shut down the production plant every 2 hours, or 4 hours, or once a day – whatever it is – and stop making money, for someone to walk over and check a magnet that may or may not need to be cleaned. That’s a pretty big invest in a magnet that we don’t know if it needs to be cleaned – if it needed to be cleaned 2 hours ago or doesn’t need to be for another day.”
That’s what makes Intell-I-Mag® special – it gives real-time feedback on the saturation level of a magnet and then sends an alert to the operator when it needs to be cleaned.
“Even more,” adds Kris, “Intell-I-Mag® automatically collects data so the operator knows when it was – or wasn’t – cleaned, provides a trend history, and immediate alerts when something is happening. Since most safety plans require tracking and data, having an intelligent magnet is useful.”
“It seems like a no-brainer,” adds Steven, “if you’re upgrading or installing a new system, it just seems like a no-brainer to install an intelligent magnet.”
“You’re right,” add Kris, “Having any magnet is better that having no magnet, better is the right magnet, better still is the right magnet in the right place, properly installed – best is all that with Intell-I-Mag®.”
How are manufacturers changing how they use magnetic separation?
There is a push across all industries to move toward incorporating more smart technologies or automation in their processes – the same is true with how operators are thinking about magnetic separation.
There has been a shift away from manual-clean separators toward quick-clean versions, and then automated self-clean versions – each step decreasing the amount of time – and staff – it takes to check and maintain the magnets.
“The logical continuation of that is adding the intelligent magnet,” says Kyle, “What we are finding from our customers is that they realize they don’t need to shut down their magnets nearly as often as they think they do. As they upgrade their systems to automated systems, with intelligence, the total number of magnets in a plant also go down, which increases the ROI on the separation purchase.”
MPI's intelligent magnet takes the guesswork out of magnetic separation.
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