Technical Information

Magnetic drum separator technical and maintenance
information from IMS Magnetic Mining
This page has been compiled by International Magnetic Solutions (IMS) to give
operations personnel a greater understanding of the functions magnets have in drum
separators. Having an understanding will assist in the correct care and maintenance
of separators. Figure 1.1 shows a typical set-up for a concurrent unit.

The magnet assemblies are fixed to a central shaft allowing the stainless steel outer
skin to rotate freely around them as pictured below (click on either photo for a larger
view). A common arrangement for the magnet assemblies is shown in figure 1.2

gap width. This leads to cleaner products and better selectivity. the factor grad (B ) or |B| has to be optimised in the separation volume. Therefore field gradients parallel to this path (ie variations of the magnetic field which are identical to transverse forces) should be minimised. saturation) – for more or less strongly magnetic particles. throughput rate. This volume ranges from drum radius to the bottom of the trough. etc). we have to carefully adjust the gradient depending on the specific application (grain size. Formula (1) holds for weakly magnetic particles but is also valid – with some restrictions (demagnetisation factor. The picture on the left shows the magnet assembly with the skin partially removed. many pole changes on the path along the drum surface are advantageous. particles must remain there while being transported to the magnetic discharge. But if we aim at a high gradient at the drum surface. Strongly magnetic particles rotate with changing polarity. To obtain high forces at the outer region of the working volume. On the other hand. and nonmagnetic particles – which might be captured by the clogging of some magnetic particles – can be freed.In this case each individual bank of magnets is arranged in brick formation and enclosed in a stainless steel skin to form a single magnet assembly. Once attracted to the drum surface.2. Such transverse forces hold particles in the regions of relatively higher fields and give rise to clogging and losses of magnetic particles. What we need is high flux density and high gradient. Basics of Magnetic Separation The translational magnetic forces on magnetisable particles is of the form: F = V k grad(B ) 2 (1) 2µ Where the volume susceptibility is k and the particle volume V. When these individual magnet assemblies are fitted together they form a sub-assembly as shown in figure 1. To obtain high forces. then the flux density will decrease rapidly in radial direction. 0 2 .

An effect of the field gradient is to induce stronger magnetism in one pole than the other pole. or unaffected by a magnet. In almost all cases this results in attraction aligned with magnetic flux urging particles towards a magnetic surface. They can be concentrated in high intensity magnetic separation. All magnetic separators are designed to provide a magnetic field gradient.We now can state what we think to be best:     High flux density at the drum surface High field gradient according to the requirements of the specific application Many pole changes Minimum variations of the absolute field value on the drum surface The basic principles Magnetic separation is used for the concentration of minerals and for the removal of suspended magnetisable particles in a fluid. Ferromagnetic minerals are generally included in this classification since they are attracted in the same way. Diamagnetic minerals are repelled in the direction of decreasing field intensity. Broadly minerals can be classified into three groups – whether they are attracted to. either in the gap between the poles of amagnetic circuit or in the air space near the magnetised surface such as that of a permanent magnet. Ferromagnetics can be strongly magnetised by a low external field. The capacity of a magnet to lift a mineral is not only dependant on the field intensity but on the field gradient ie the rate at which the field intensity increases towards the magnet surface. repelled by. As a method it depends on the behaviour of different minerals under the influence of magnetic force. Diamagnetism results from induction in a substance of magnetic moment opposite in direction to the external field. water or air and therefore concentrate the lines of force of an external magnetic field. Paramagnetic minerals are attracted in the direction in which the field intensity increases. Thus the higher the magnetic susceptibility is the higher the density in the particle and the greater its attraction up the field gradient towards increasing magnetic strength. The particle then experiences a translational force that urges it in the direction of increasing field . Paramagnetic minerals have higher permeabilities than the surrounding fluid. The forces involved are small and diamagnetic substances are not concentrated magnetically except by bench scale equipment.

The drum cover is non-magnetic. Typically the rotating drum contains from three up to ten magnets of alternate polarity. Typical uses for this type of separator includes upgrading of blast furnace slag. iron ore. Material is fed onto the top of the drum and separated as shown in the accompanying diagram. There are several different separation techniques encompassed under the umbrella of magnetic separation including:      dry low intensity magnetic separators wet low intensity magnetic separators high intensity magnetic separators wet high intensity high gradient magnetic separators superconducting magnetic separators Dry low intensity magnetic separation Low intensity magnetic separation is well established technology and some of the basic techniques are reviewed here. Simple means for producing a field gradient are a V-shaped pole above a flat pole. Low intensity drum separators date from the turn of the century and are still the most common form. The main disadvantage of this is flux leakage from pole to pole thus reducing the effective field intensity. Initially the magnets were electromagnets but now have all been replaced in designs by permanent magnets using. usually arranged with successive reversal of the polarity. For continuous machines the speed at which material passes through machines is also important.Flocculation of particles is also often avoided by passing material through consecutive magnetic fields.intensity. Alternate magnetic and non-magnetic laminations also produce field gradients. a number of separate regions in which field gradients effective for separation can be provided. Drum diameters vary from 300 to 1500mm and drum lengths from 300 to . The shape and orientation of the ferromagnetic elements determine their degree of magnetisation and the field intensity gradient adjacent to their surfaces. These are arranged radially on the shaft covering approximately 180° of the drum. and the drum rotates about the hub at typically 40 rpm. This causes the particle to turn through 180° with the reversal releasing entrained particles. strontium-ferrite magnets. and sponge iron and commercial separators are available over a wide range of sizes. By placing ferromagnetic elements in a magnetic field to serve as secondary poles. The alternating polarity aids the rotation of magnetic particles and the release of non-magnetics. for example.

The performance of a drum dry low intensity magnetic separator can be predicted by the use of four parameters – magnetic field at the drum surface. In other forms dry low intensity magnetic separators are often used as pulleys installed over the end of conveyor belts which draw the tramp iron from the material and carry it to the underside of the conveyor to be discharged. Wet low intensity magnetic separators This is today by far the most widely used type of magnetic separation. There are three basic designs of wet low intensity magnetic separation – concurrent. By correct adjustment a fairly high degree of control is offered over the concentrated grade. Other low intensity wet magnetic separations take the form of matrices through which the product percolates. countercurrent and counter rotation. such as clayslip in order to remove any ferrous contaminants. Over band separators and suspension magnets are installed over conveyor belts to remove tramp iron. The economic recovery of the medium is an important integral part of the process. Typical wet drum separators are available in diameters from 600 to 1200mm and in lengths of up to 3000mm. angular spacing between the magnets. Dry low intensity magnetic separation is mainly applied to strongly magnetic coarse sands.1 – 0. Several industrial mineral processes use dense media recovery as a preconcentrating stage including fluorspar. so its primary use is for magnetite and ferrosilicon recovery in dense media circuits. The typical radial magnetic induction values for current drum separators are of the order of 0.15 Tesla (1000 – 1500 Gauss) at the drum surface. Other applications include iron ore concentration and removal of highly magnetic material prior to high intensity wet magnetic separation. Concurrent . typically 5 – 8mm material economic feed rates of 150 tph per metre of length can be obtained. Suspension magnets are used to extract iron form the material being transported and are used on conveyor widths up to 2200mm with an operating gap up to 850mm. But it can only be used for strongly magnetic minerals. petalite and diamonds. drum radius and the revolution rate. barytes.4000mm.

which also acts as a pulp level control. The feed size for a counter rotation drum separator is nominally less than 1mm for optimum results. The tailings discharge through an overflow at the opposite end of the tank. Counter rotation In the counter rotation design of wet low intensity magnetic separation the feed flows in the opposite direction to the drum rotation. So simply by measuring . What does IMS test? Our current standard testing procedure is based on the assumption that the current manufactured drum separators have optimised the field strength and gradients in their equipment designs. The feed is introduced near the bottom of the drum and the magnetic particles are picked up by the drum and agitated by wash water jets.This type of drum separator is almost exclusively used for the treatment of particles of 5mm and below. Counter current The term counter current is derived from the fact that the tailings flow counter to the rotation of the drum when leaving the tank. This type is often used in roughing operations where occasional surges in feed must be accommodated without a minimum loss of magnetic material and where a high quality concentrate is of secondary importance. The counter current design ensures a high recovery of magnetic material and a high quality concentrate. This method is widely used in heavy media recovery systems since it offers a magnetic concentrate from relatively coarse material with high throughput rates. Sometimes known as the Steffenson Tank the separator is often used for the separation of finely ground particles of approximately 100µ and less in size. Magnetic material is picked up by the drum and the non-magnetics are discharged at the bottom of the tank. As this is controlled by the geometry of the design the relationship between field strength and gradient is fixed. The ore is carried forward by the drum since it flows in the same direction as the drum rotation. This is because the tailings flow along the entire magnetic arc of the drum. It then passes through a gap where it is compressed and dewatered before leaving the separator. Coarser ores cause settling problems.

Some of the major causes of dings in the drum’s skin are:    bolts. . washers etc. CARE OF DRUMS Owing to a minimal gap between the outer stainless steel skin and the magnet assemblies any dings in the outer skin can cause damage to the magnets within. entering the system during operation incorrect lifting of the drums when replacing or installing pressure applied to the skin during storage These pictures show how a magnet can be worn away when rubbing on a damaged skin. Hence IMS’s test reports give you comparative information on the magnets in your drum by:   Comparing the magnetic characteristics of other drums of the one type in service and Identifying changes in your drums magnetic characteristics between successive tests. It is also obvious that the fields and gradients experienced by the flow of magnetite change with the density ofmagnetite in the flow but again the total field effect on the magnetite is directly related to the fields measured on a clean drum. The test results tell the story in two ways:   Is your drum as strong as it should be? Is your drum’s performance deteriorating? If the drum strength is significantly low or is deteriorating then we look for the cause. and the resulting wear on the magnets (click on either image for a larger view).changes in field strength it is obvious that the effective gradients are also changing in a similar way.

Excessive heat directed onto magnetic material will decrease its magnetic properties. damaged outer skin or via the seal between the end cap and outer skin. As previously shown the magnets are stacked in brick formation.PROBLEMS THAT MAY AFFECT THE EFFICIENT OPERATION OF YOUR SEPARATOR Magnetite leaking internally is a problem that will reduce efficiency. . For further maintenance information and details on correct settings for your drum separators consult your manufactures handbook. Internal leaking means the magnetite is able to enter the inside of the drum through the shaft seal. It is vitally important that the magnets should be facing the same direction. If some are stacked in reverse as shown on the right then their effectiveness will be greatly reduced. Heat from an oxy torch being used when the drums are being refurbished will decrease the magnetic properties of the magnets in the drums.Magnetite laying on the magnet assembly short circuits and absorbs the magnetic flux. This photo shows a large build-up of magnetite on the drum. resulting in less magnetic influence on the outside of the skin. The incorrect installation of magnets within the individual assemblies will also reduce the drum’s efficiency. The diagram above shows this (correct arrangement on left).

CONCLUSION In conclusion it is of great importance that care and maintenance of your drum separators be of a high standard. . Any defect will influence your magnetite recovery.