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Magnetic handling


Handling magnets are used for transport, transfer, fastening and lifting of ferromagnetic products in the metal, automotive and robot industry. Magnetic handling of products reduces both the time it takes and the number of actions required to automate a process and ensure it proceeds smoothly.

Goudsmit has developed and tested an extensive range of magnetic systems with the aim of automating your process. For example:


  • picking up sheets or steel products in the automotive/robotic industries;
  • automatic robot handling of flat/formed (and even perforated) steel sheets or thick steel workpieces;
  • separating the top sheet from a stack: this prevents a robot from grabbing multiple sheets at the same time, which sometimes happens with thin or sticky sheets;
  • uniform alignment of nails or screws to reduce packaging volume.
Plate handling with robot


  • manually picking up small workpieces: this prevents injuries from sharp burrs, and dirty hands (especially useful for repetitive operations);
  • moving heavy steel objects with a crane, e.g. lifting shafts out of a storage bin or thick steel sheets from a cutting table.
Plate lifting with magnet


  • automation of packing lines where tins or glass jars with steel lids are placed in boxes or on pallets;
  • horizontal, vertical or hanging movement and/or transport of steel products such as tins, lids, sheets, pipes or shafts over larger distances;
  • horizontal or steeply sloping transport of small, sharp objects such as punching waste, nails or screws without belt wear.
transport of nails


  • easily securing moulds or workpieces for welding, grinding, polishing or assembly.
welding magnet

Magnet systems and safety

Permanent magnets and electromagnets are both switchable, but there is an important difference:

  • permanent magnets are compact and always function – they retain their magnetic force;
  • electromagnets switch quickly and without wear, and can also lift heavy loads, yet there is a risk of the load falling if the power is interrupted – therefore electrical lifting magnets must always be equipped with a backup system, which can be expensive.

Switching systems

Monostable magnet systems are only kept activated or deactivated as long as they are supplied with an electrical or pneumatic switching signal. As soon as this signal is lost, the system switches back to its ‘idle state’. An electromagnet is always monostable and always off at idle. Permanent systems can be on or off at idle.

A bistable magnet system is switched on and off by a switching signal and remains in that state until the following switching signal is received. For lifting and hoisting applications a bistable system is safer than one that is monostable, because it actually switches off, so it cannot unexpectedly attract a steel sheet. Bistable magnetic systems are always constructed with permanent magnets (or a combination of permanent magnets and electromagnets).
All Goudsmit lifting systems are bistable, with the exception of the electropermanent lifting magnet type EHPM.

Permanent magnets

Permanent magnets can be electrically, pneumatically or manually switchable:

  1. Manually switched

    This type consists of two magnets, one of which can be moved by means of a handle or twist knob. In the off position the magnets are shorted so they cancel each other out; in the on position the magnets reinforce each other.

    Permanent magnet switched off

    Magnet switched OFF

    Permanent magnet switched on

    Magnet switched ON

    Magswitch hand magnet
    Manual magnetic lifters for flat & round objects
    Switchable welding magnets

  2. Pneumatically switched

    The magnet is moved in an enclosure by means of compressed air so that no magnetism is present outside the enclosure in the off position, only in the on position (the movement is only internal).

    Working principle of magnetic gripper

    Working principle of magnetic gripper

    Magnetic grippers
    Magswitch handling magnets
    Switchable sheet separators
    Palletization magnets for tins and cans

  3. Electrically switchable permanent lifters


Electromagnets can only be switched electrically (with DC voltage).

Safety factor

The specified maximum breakaway force (the force required to pull the magnet off of the product) of lifting and handling magnets applies for a flat sheet of at least a specific thickness. Less force is required if the sheet is thinner or if it has a rougher or dustier surface. In practice, the maximum holding force (breakaway force) is therefore not always feasible.

For the recommended workload, in addition to these factors, you must also include a safety factor in accordance with the EN 13155 standard. Depending on the magnet system, this is:

  • factor 2 for electromagnets and vacuum;
  • factor 3 for permanent and electropermanent systems.

Always ensure that no one walks under a lifted load. If this cannot be prevented, there must always be an additional mechanical support (fall protector) around the load, e.g. chains.

Guidelines for manual lifting

When considering loads that will be lifted by persons, you must keep in mind the applicable guidelines for lifting and dragging:

Persons Often lift and drag under average working conditions Occasionally lift under favourable working conditions
Men 18 to 25 kg 40 to 50 kg
Women 8 to 10 kg 13 to 15 kg
Pregnant women 5 kg 10 kg
Your product


Robot End-of-Arm tooling

Robot End-of-Arm tooling magnets are suitable for the automated pick-up or gripping of steel plates and other ferromagnetic objects.

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Hand held magnets

The hand held magnets from Goudsmit are ideal for lifting small ferromagnetic objects with limited weight by hand.

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Lifting magnets

The lifting magnets from Goudsmit are suitable for picking up and moving heavy steel or other ferromagnetic loads, machine parts or work pieces.

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Sheet separators

Magnetic sheet separators separate sticky or oiled steel sheets and prevent more than one from being picked up at the same time. Very important for fully automated processes.

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Palletization magnets for tins and cans

For packing and unpacking tins, aerosol cans, drums and jars with screw-on lids; they are used to place or remove an entire pallet layer at one time.

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Magnetic aligners

Alignment magnets are suitable for aligning long, slender ferromagnetic objects so they can be packaged compactly. Examples include nails, screws and wires.

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Shuttering magnets

Shuttering magnets from Goudsmit Magnetic Systems are suitable for holding steel forms in place in the concrete industry.

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Switchable welding magnets

The switchable welding magnets from Goudsmit Magnetic Systems are ideal for quickly temporarily holding steel work pieces in any desired position.

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Magnets for transport of cans

Various components for constructing your own conveyor line to transport ferromagnetic objects, such as empty or full tins, aerosol cans, crown caps and screw lids.

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Magnetic conveyors for sheets

These magnetic conveyors are easy to integrate and suitable for conveying steel sheets. For feeding a press or processing centre.

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Magnetic conveyors for pipes/tubes

These magnetic conveyors have been specially developed for transporting steel pipes/tubes.

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Magnetic slide conveyors

For transporting small, sharp ferromagnetic metal parts. No external moving parts, making them very suitable for oiled products such as punch scrap.

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Magnetic feed conveyors

Magnetic feed conveyors provide steeply upward sloping transport of ferromagnetic metal parts, such as nails, screws, bolts or other long steel parts, in the packing industry.

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