Electromagnets on mobile plant

The complete Electromagnet solution for mobile handling operations

Mobile handling operations for large steel stock, coil and scrap can present a challenge for existing mobile plant such as cranes, excavators, straddle carriers and fork lift trucks. Adding an electromagnetic handling system to your existing or new plant can simplify the operation making it more efficient and improving site safety. There are a great range of options available to suit your exact application and this article sets out some of the options you may want to consider when purchasing or specifying an electromagnetic handling system, particularly where there is no fixed electrical supply available.

Electromagnets require a consistent supply of DC electricity and in mobile situations this is often supplied from the hydraulic output of the plant to the electromagnet generator. This method can have an impact on the operation of the plant and cause operational issues. An alternative solution is an integrated electromagnet system, complete with generator, electromagnet control panel and one or more electromagnets suitable for the handling application.

Did you know that using a correctly specified diesel generator with low noise and emissions can power an electromagnetic handling system for a week on just one tank of fuel?  The generator therefore provides a cost effective solution with independent power supply to the electromagnet system with no impact on the operational performance of the plant.

Other things you need to consider include an electromagnet control panel, battery back-up, cable management systems, electromagnet plugs and sockets and of course suitable electromagnets for the type of load.

Electromagnet control panels are essential to maintain your electromagnets at optimum performance. In general use, turning an electromagnet on and off by switching the power supply on and off will cause a build-up of residual magnetism in the electromagnet. This would eventually cause the electromagnet to become a permanent magnet. Electromagnet control panels from Rotary Burnand feature a reverse polarity pulse at the end of the lifting cycle. This pulse eliminates any build- up of magnetism in the electromagnet and ensures the load is released promptly.

Optional electromagnet control panel features include variable voltage to give a ‘tip off’ function and power boost which allows loads to be lifted with only 75% of capacity of the electromagnet then switch to full voltage for transporting goods with the plant in motion, this ensures that the electromagnets have a secure hold on the items in transit.

Battery back-up systems for electromagnets are strongly advised to prevent unwanted drop-off  in the event of a power failure. If the generator is accidentally switch off or fails the battery back-up will give the plant operator sufficient time to safely release the load and restart the generator.

Cable management and connections are also a key consideration so as to ensure a continuous and supply of electricity to the electromagnet. The type of system required depends on the precise nature of plant and the format of the electromagnets. This is something to discuss in detail at the electromagnetic system specification stage. Here at Rotary Burnand we can supply electromagnet cable, DC plugs and sockets, cable reeling drums and bespoke applications to suit your exact requirements. It is important to note that electromagnets require a DC supply so the correctly rated plugs and sockets suitable for DC are required for any electromagnet installation. DC plugs and sockets rather than fixed wiring enable you to safely disconnect the system when not in use.

Electromagnets are available in 3 formats, circular, rectangular and bi-pole and can be used as a single electromagnet or a multiple electromagnets mounted on a magnet beam, the latter being suitable for handling long products and large plates. Selection of the correct format of electromagnet will ensure that your application works at optimum efficiency and safety. To ensure you have the right format for your application please contact our electromagnet design team to discuss the exact application.

Electromagnets for use outdoors

As with all electrical equipment, electromagnets need to be protected from water ingress. In many applications the magnets may be used outdoors and it is important to ensure that the connections to the electromagnet have a reasonable degree of protection from water ingress. Waterproof electromagnets may be worth considering where there is a risk of water ingress. Waterproofed electromagnets can be made to order after a detailed specification has been produced for your specific application.

So if you previously thought your mobile plant wasn’t suitable for an electromagnet lifhting application contact Rotary Engineering UK and we will be happy to talk through your application and provide a solution.


0114 2513134