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A Look at Magnets for the Steel Mill Industry

November 18, 2020 By walkermagnetics

Steel mills across the country and around the world rely on magnets to improve the handling of hot steel, coiling, pig iron and other materials, as well as for scrap processing, loading and unloading, and lifting billets. Walker Magnets is in constant communications with steel mill operators to understand their changing needs – and we respond with improvements that are carefully studied by our design engineers.

Here’s a quick look at a few of our solutions:

Lifting Magnets – Our current series of lifting magnets (for handling slabs, billets, cast scrap, pig iron, plates, molds, slags and bales) have been computer-calibrated for ultimate lifting performance and mechanical strength. All components have passed a comprehensive testing program and now set a new standard for performance, endurance and reliability.

Rectangular Shaped Scrap Magnets – Melt shops using newer furnaces that are capable of refining metal fast now need more scrap to process. These magnets get the job done by lifting large volumes of scrap in and out of railroad car corners, barges, and other confined areas. This adds up to 50 percent more lift capacity to each load which helps keep high-capacity furnaces full.  These tough magnets were designed with extra heavy-duty construction, using unique multiple bumper perimeter plates and resilient manganese steel bottom plates.

Magnets for Billets – Billets are seldom perfectly straight or flat and often have troublesome air gaps. So, Walker created high-powered Grabber Series lifting magnets that are more efficient and reliable. These magnets come in a wide range of standard widths and lengths to accommodate various billet sizes and layer widths so mills can handle more billets per lift and eliminate multiple lifts per layer.

High Temperature Material Handling – Walker developed the Heatmaster® Series of magnets designed to move hot steel directly from the casting and cooling bed quickly and easily with no downtime. Heatmaster magnets have a special double bottom with an air space between the inner and outer bottom plates so they can handle hot steel at up to 260ºC (500ºF). The coil is isolated from the high temperatures by an air space, so hotter materials can be handled for longer periods of time without damage to the coil or the insulation system. Walker’s design engineers use thermal analysis to vary the parameters and elements which effect the magnet’s operating temperature. We also use 100 percent duty cycle operation, cooling fins, and proprietary insulation materials so magnets run cool in extreme conditions.

Coiled Strip Steel— Magnetic lifting is the easiest, fastest, and most economical method of handling coiled strip steel and can virtually eliminate the possibility of damage caused by traditional mechanical lifting devices. Less storage space is needed since magnets lift the coil from above the load, unlike mechanical lifting devices which require aisle space. One crane or truck operator can usually load, transport and unload coils without assistance, freeing up manpower to be used elsewhere. Walker’s Coilmaster is available in the traditional electromagnet design (requiring a constant source of D.C. power when energized) and the electropermanent magnet design (requiring only a momentary pulse of D. C. power to charge the permanent magnetic material within).