Goudsmit had a ‘slide conveyor’ on display at the Industrie Paris expo this year: a sealed conveyor belt that transports pieces of steel upwards without any visible moving belt. The moment I saw it questions began bubbling up in my mind. I put them to Jan Lemmens, specialist in the field of magnetic handling.
When does one choose a sealed magnetic conveyor versus an open one?
Jan: ‘Most conveyor systems are of the open type. An open magnetic conveyor consists of an exposed belt with open rollers and guides plus bearings and rotating parts on the outside. These traditional, open systems are perfect for some specific applications, such as products that are not made of steel. But in certain environments they can also be a very vulnerable link in the production process. They are easily damaged by objects falling onto or jabbing into the belt, for example. Moreover –and this is even more difficult to prevent–dirt and small particles accumulate between the components and cause wear.'
No rotating parts
Sealed magnetic conveyors or magnetic slide conveyors are practically immune to this problem: there are no rotating parts fitted on the outside, and none of the potentially vulnerable parts are exposed or unprotected. We even have solutions for making the systems suitable for complete submersion in oil or rinsing baths. Around 20% of the slide conveyors we deliver are of this type.’
For various steel processing industries
Jan continues: ‘Slide conveyors are suitable for use in various industries, including anywhere steel or steel sheet is processed, such as turning and milling companies, along with nail, screw and bolt factories. Slide conveyors are especially well suited to these applications precisely because they can be placed in an oil or cooling bath. Moreover, slide conveyors are fairly flat, making it easy to integrate them into existing installations.
Several good examples of users are WEMO, which manufactures sheet metal processing machines, SKF, the well-known bearing manufacturer (also known as “NN Netherlands”) and processing solutions firm Andritz.'
According to Jan, sealed magnetic conveyors or slide conveyors are not the only solution for conveying metal products. Sometimes other solutions are more suitable. Jan: ‘It is pointless to use a slide conveyor for nonmagnetic or weakly magnetic products. In fact, this is the greatest limitation of this magnetic technology.
Then, too, the purchase price is often higher. But this can be compensated by the fact that the sealed system is much less subject to wear. Standard slide conveyors are generally fitted with a smooth or ribbed stainless steel plate. For carrying off abrasive products we use special slide plates, made of mangalloy for example. These are stronger and wear even less.’
Jan Lemmens is sales manager handling at Goudsmit Magnetic Systems B.V. and advises companies on solutions for internal transport and temporary holding of steel products and materials.