Magnetic Separators Are Not Dangerous!??

By buntingeurope | 09 March 2017

9th of 10 Magnetic Separation Myths

In school science, we learn about magnetism by playing with small permanent magnets.  It is fun, seeing how iron filings are affected by the magnetic field.  Our bodies are also constantly exposed to the Earth’s Magnetic Field.

So how can Magnets be dangerous?

In the 1980s, the concept of permanent magnetism changed with the development of the ‘Rare Earth Magnet‘.  The new permanent magnets produced a Magnetic Field and Force far higher than traditional Ferrite or Ceramic Magnets.

Since the 1980s, the magnetic strength of Rare Earth Magnets, like the Neodymium Iron Boron type, has increased.  Tube or Cartridge Magnets (as used in Magnetic Separators like Grate Magnets and Drawer Magnets) commonly use Rare Earth Magnets.  The high permanent magnetic force enables the attraction and capture of very fine or weakly magnetic materials.  This is vitally important when processing and producing plastics, foodstuffs or pharmaceuticals.

Bunting Magnetics Europe Ltd FFS Magnet-0095

But are they dangerous?

A strong Tube or Cartridge ‘Rare Earth’ Magnet has a surface magnetic reading of around 12,000 gauss.  The ‘Ferrite’ type has a surface field of 1,500 gauss.  In terms of magnetic force, the difference is enormous.

However, the real test comes when using a spring balance to pull a small steel ball bearing off the surface of the Tube Magnet.  When the steel ball is pulled off the Ferrite Tube Magnet, the force needed is negligible.  On testing the Rare Earth Tube Magnet, over 2kg of force is required.

Now we know that magnets attract.  So if two Rare Earth Tube Magnets are placed near each other, they will naturally want to go together.  The speed of the two items moving towards each other increases until they meet and the resultant collision is substantial.  If a hand or finger is in between the two Tube Magnets, the force of the attraction could result in serious injury.  People have been known to break or badly bruise fingers just by having them caught between two attracting Rare Earth Magnets.

So, the answer is a loud yes.  Magnets can be dangerous.  Luckily, advice and guidance is provided when advising users about Magnetic Separators.  And many Magnetic Separator designs include excellent safety features.

For further information on Rare Earth Magnets, Magnetic Separators, and Safety Advice, please contact us on:

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081
Via the website

Other Magnetic Myths reviewed in this series include:

  1. Should You Always Use the Strongest Magnet?
  2. All Rare Earth Magnets are not the Same;
  3. The Highest Gauss Magnet is not always the Best;
  4. Stainless Steel Isn’t Magnetic, or is it?;
  5. Do Magnets Lose Strength Over Time?
  6. Is a Magnetic Field Uniform Across the Surface of a Tube Magnet?
  7. We Guarantee 100% Metal Separation
  8. You Can Block a Magnetic Field
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