MagDrag Magnetic chip drag conveyor

Magnetic-Based Chip Conveyor Systems Attract Sustainability in Ferrous Metal Cutting

May 9, 2023 8:23 am

Small cast iron, steel and other ferrous metal chips are hard to remove from coolant and can be particularly problematic due to their tendencies to rust quickly and/or congeal into a messy, hard-to-remove sludge. Permeated with these chips, coolant can soon turn rancid requiring programmed stops for cleaning both tank and machine tools. The resulting economic impact can be significant when factoring in the compounding results of lost productivity from machine downtime and increased cost recycling or replacing cooling fluid.

To eliminate the problems associated with cast iron, steel and other ferrous metal chips, conveyor OEMs have turned to conveyor systems that incorporate the use of magnets. Such systems have proven more effective than traditional hinged belt and drag flight conveyors at removing fine ferrous chips, especially in high coolant flow rate applications. As gravity causes larger chips to settle to the bottom, a powerful array of magnets installed below a conveyor’s load and lower curve sections attract and hold fine ferrous chips that may otherwise remain in suspension. Once at the bottom of the conveyor, the chips are scraped and carried away by stainless steel cleats to the discharge section at the top of the conveyor. The filtered and clean coolant is then ready for additional filtration, recycling or reuse.

In high school chemistry, many of us experimented with the simple removal of iron from a mixture with a magnet. That same chemistry underscores how useful and efficient magnet-based conveyor systems such as the Mag-Drag® Conveyor from Jorgensen Conveyors and Filtration Solutions are for filtering fine chips from ferrous metal cutting operations. In the same manner that a magnet pulls iron chips from a fluid mixture, Mag-Drag Conveyors filter troublesome chips of cast iron and other ferrous metals in machining applications to promote sustainable manufacturing.

Mag-Drag conveyors can be custom engineered to meet length and width specifications, ensuring a proper fit to almost any CNC metal cutting machine. The cleated stainless steel drag chain comes in 1.5-inch and 2.5-inch pitches in two types of design configurations with a completely detachable drag-chain design that was pioneered by Jorgensen for ease of maintenance.

As in all machining applications, cleaner coolant improves machining accuracy and surface finishes while prolonging tool life. Additional benefits include reduced chip and sludge buildup in the clean tank, resulting in less downtime and lost productivity for cleaning.  Maintaining cleaner coolant also reduces the costs associated with coolant replacement and disposal, which supports sustainable manufacturing best practices. The more shops can recycle, the more they can save on consumable costs and the less they impact the environment.

Similarly, ferrous metal recycling also presents sustainable manufacturing opportunities. Among the most profitable and recyclable materials available, the demand for ferrous metal continues to rise. The market for recycled steel is growing globally, and this presents the potential for an additional income stream while supporting sustainable manufacturing processes.

Mag-Drag conveyors are equipped with complete electricals and controls. The UVS EcoLogic® control with Jam Manager® is an available option. Jam Manager is an automated program that clears minor jams for reduced machine downtime.  The EcoLogic control provides speed and direction change, motor protection, intermittent on/off cycle programming and Jam Manager all from a single unit.

Other available options to enhance overall filtration performance include Jorgensen’s PermaClean filtration solution and FlexFiltration. PermaClean’s modularity allows it to be added with a downstream filtration system, keeping coolant and particulates in a constant state of agitation, suspending particles and preventing them from settling. As a result of the continuous swirling motion, particles continue through the filtration process until they are virtually eliminated.

FlexFiltration is a downstream filtration system that combines pre-engineered modules to filter difficult materials such as cast iron, steel, aluminum, plastic and composites down to 10m or less with a platform that is modular and adaptable. It should be noted that delivering cleaner coolant to downstream filtration systems by using the Mag-Drag conveyor means reduced replacement of consumable filter elements as well.

The Jorgensen Mag-Drag Conveyor is a game changer for shops heavily involved with ferrous metal machining. In addition to simplifying the overall operation with reduced tank and machine tool cleaning, the economic and sustainability factors can’t be overlooked. Increased productivity, decreased cost and the ability to recycle what was previously considered a waste byproduct of ferrous metal machining all add up to increased efficiency and profit. The force of the magnet is certainly one to be reckoned with.

See Jorgensen’s Mag-Drag featured in Shop Metalworking Technology.

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