The use of permanent magnets in different manufacturing processes is a common practice in today’s manufacturing industry. The most important use of magnets is in the removal of metal contaminants from plastic products. Meanwhile, magnets play important roles in other industries, such as the electronics, mining, and foundry industries.
The plastic industry also uses magnets integrated within the plastic parts manufactured. The magnetic assemblies are useful in many applications, from home appliances to aviation. This article takes a closer look at how magnets are used in the plastics manufacturing industry and the different types of magnets commonly used in making plastic products.
Just like steel was the material of the 19th-century plastic, can very much be regarded as the material of the 21st century. This is because plastic has many useful properties and is used in almost every application, including electronics, automobiles, kitchen utensils, plumbing fixtures, product packaging, domestic and industrial tools, etc. One reason why plastic is highly preferred in diverse applications is that it is highly moldable. This property makes it a highly sought-after material.
Today, the production of plastics involves magnets, which help to improve the quality of the finished plastic products. Plastic products made using magnets have higher economic value and play a fundamental role in the larger global economy. To make plastics, the oil extracted from crude oil is processed.
The processed oil is thereafter refined in a highly controlled process to make the plastic. The process of refining and manufacturing plastics actually differs depending on the type of plastic that is being produced. Special techniques may also be used to create specific types of plastic products for special applications.
The role played by magnets in plastic production is seen throughout the production process of plastic materials. The machines used in the process (calendars, cutting shredders, etc.) are protected along the production chain by different sets of magnets. This allows machines like the injection molding machinery, extruders, granulators, and mills to perform optimally, leading to the production of high-quality products.
Also during the mass production processes of other materials and components, magnets function as a tool for effectively fixing, handling, and transporting molds. There are different magnetic equipment that is used in the plastic industry. But they mostly serve two different purposes;
This incorporation of magnets for the removal of impurities from plastic components leads to the creation of durable and flexible products. The finished products are therefore suitable for application in medicine, the automotive industry, aviation and research, and most recently, in studies relating to green energy and climate monitoring.
During the treatment or modification of plastic in a manufacturing plant, there are magnets of various models, such as magnetic grills, magnetic filters, or magnetic separators. In the absence of these magnets, the plastic produced could be contaminated by unwanted elements that could compromise the purity and integrity of the plastic components. Common products include:
Generally, these magnets can be ferrite magnets, neodymium magnets, etc.
Today, there are different magnetic separation products on the market which are suited for different production processes. In some applications, where magnetic separation technology may not be sufficient, it could be complemented with metal detectors or electrostatic separators.
Every material flow is different, as each process step ensures a cleaner final material. Hence, in designing a separation setup for any manufacturing process, it is important to consider the properties of the material of interest, which in this case, is plastic.