Most Common Issues Associated with Magnets in the Food Industry

There are numerous issues associated with magnetic separation equipment in the food industry. They need to be taken seriously and resolved.

There are numerous common issues associated with magnetic separation equipment in the food industry. Although many of these are common, they need to be taken seriously and if possible, resolved quickly to avoid even bigger problems from arising, such as accidents, product recalls and hygiene issues.

Some of the most common issues are:

1. Demagnetization

Demagnetization can be defined as a magnet losing its strength over time. This process is inevitable; however, rapid strength loss can cause serious issues with your product. Once a magnet loses its strength, it cannot be ‘recharged’. Poor handling and damage to magnets often cause demagnetization.

A very damaged magnet
A very damaged magnet – due to the exposed magnetic elements, this magnet is very unsafe for the product.

2. Poor Quality Magnets

Take it from the experts – magnets are an investment. 

Cheap magnets can lose strength quicker or have faults in their design. Investing in a reliable magnet is worth the spend, especially for your final product security magnets! Just imagine how expensive a product recall would be, not to mention the harm recalls cause to your reputation.

Poorly designed magnets can also be unhygienic, such as magnets including sleeves for quicker cleaning. 

Magnet diagram of how bacteria could build up

3. Product Stream Coverage / Poor Installation / Unsuitable Magnet Location

Some magnets may be installed incorrectly or be installed in an unsuitable magnet location. This may mean that the product flow is not conducive to effective separation. It is important to understand all aspects of the product flow characteristics, to ensure consistent protection over the entire product flow area.

Poorly designed magnet results in inferior retention of contamination in high volume flow
Poorly designed magnet results in inferior retention of contamination in high volume flow

4. Safety in Handling Magnets

Magnets may pose a WHS/OSHA risk to operators due to a crush hazard if correct procedures are not implemented. Magnets that are difficult to remove and access for inspection will inevitably lead to neglect or become subject to damage and eventual failure.  Ensure that the correct procedures are in place and suitable cleaning accessories are available to allow safe and easy access for operators to frequently access for thorough inspection and cleaning.

5. Recontamination of the Product Stream

Some cleaning accessories can become a source of contamination if they aren’t utilized correctly, or poor design allows contamination to leave the magnet and re-enter the product and continue downstream. Some pull-through magnet drawers allow contamination to remain hidden behind the door assembly and be dislodged once the magnet is returned. Ensure that the cleaning of magnets takes place well away from the exposed opening or ensure that the product flow area is covered.

Magnet diagram of magnetic separation

If you have concerns or questions, feel free to contact us and ask!

The best way to find out is through a magnet validation, where a qualified technician visits your site and checks the strength and condition of your magnets and their coverage and location. 

Ready to book in a magnet validation?