Plant & Works Engineering
Magnetic separators installed to capture ferrous metal contamination
Published:  13 November, 2014

BPI Minster Films in Leominster has recently installed a series of magnetic separators supplied by Bunting Magnetics Europe Ltd. The magnetic separators capture any ferrous metal contamination in the process, preventing equipment damage and production downtime.

Chris Anthony, BPI’s extrusion manager, originally met Bunting on its stand at the K International Trade Fair in Dusseldorf, Germany in 2013. BPI already used Hoppergrids, a very basic type of ferrite magnetic separator that simply sits inside a hopper, but found that these were not operator friendly or very powerful. They had already been searching for suppliers of improved Magnetic Separators for some time and on return from Germany spoke with several companies about Magnetic Separators, but were only offered Hoppergrids. Chris then contacted Bunting.

Carlton Hicks, Bunting’s UK sales manager for separation & detection, drove up to Leominster on the same day to assess the application and determine the best solution.

BPI Minster Films produces agricultural and industrial stretch film, with three sites in the UK and one in Belgium. Despite already using low powered Ferrite magnetic separators, metal contamination remained a serious problem and concern. If metal found its way through to delicate processing equipment, such as the screws and the barrels, then it could cause significant damage that would be both costly in terms of equipment repair and production downtime. BPI was processing small 3mm plastic beads that was used to produce the plastic film and occasionally metal would be found in amongst the beads.

After the initial assessment, Bunting quoted on the same day and BPI placed orders for three FF model, high strength rare earth drawer magnets. However, when the drawings of the FF model were passed to BPI for approval, it became apparent that there were significant space limitations. Bunting UK engineers reassessed the installation and proposed the low profile (LP model) Drawer Magnets, which fitted into the key location. The new magnetic separators were supplied to BPI later that week.

The LP Model drawer magnets were only approximately 183mm high and 210mm square, which were the ideal size for the limited available space in the ideal location for the magnetic separation. Each drawer magnet had three high-powered rare earth tube magnets, which could be easily removed from the front for cleaning. The unit was also fitted with a top slide plate that was pushed into position prior to cleaning to stop the flow of material and thus prevent spillage. On the front of the unit are two large, easy to turn knobs for quick access.

The drawer magnets are cleaned every four days and during recent maintenance part of a screwdriver was found firmly attached to the magnets. This would have caused significant damage and downtime if the magnets had not been installed. The cost of the equipment damage alone would total several thousand pounds.

Since the first three were supplied, BPI has purchased another six and is in the process of installing them.

Chris Anthony, who has been with BPI for over 30 years commented: “Bunting gave us excellent support and their response to our initial enquiry and in the days after the order was placed was really good. We are very happy.”

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