What is an Electromagnet and How do they Work?

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Ryan Rattos

Electromagnets, a vital component in many of our magnetic separators, operate uniquely from permanent magnets as they rely on an electrical current to generate their magnetic field.

Constructed from a coil of conductive wire or strap wound around an iron or steel core, an electromagnet springs to life when an electrical charge flows through the coil. This flow of current triggers the creation of a magnetic field that courses through the core's center along its longitudinal axis, enveloping the coil in a distinctive toroidal-shaped field (refer to the image below for visualization).

Magnetic Field Produced by Electromagnet

When the electrical current flows through the coil, it transforms into a powerful magnet, attracting and holding onto materials. However, once the flow of electricity ceases, the magnetic field dissipates, releasing any items previously held. This precise control over the magnetic field is what sets electromagnets apart, making them a superior choice over permanent magnets in specific metal separation scenarios.


Dings Electromagnetic Coil Design vs. Conventional Designs

Conventional Coil Designs with Insulated Copper or Aluminum Wire

Insulating the wires of the coil is essential to prevent the electrical current from straying off course and taking shortcuts between wires. This insulation acts as a protective barrier, guiding the current along the coil's designated path around the core to create the desired magnetic field. Traditional electromagnetic coils typically utilize copper wire insulated with polymer or bare aluminum with Nomex® paper insulation to achieve this.

This method poses a challenge as electromagnetic coils generate significant heat during operation, potentially leading to the burning of insulation materials at high temperatures. This can result in coil burnout. To counteract this issue, the coil must be fully immersed in cooling oil. However, as the oil heats up alongside the coil, expansion occurs, necessitating an external expansion tank to contain the excess oil.


Dings Anodized Aluminum Strap Coil

Ding Exclusive Electromagnetic Coil


Dings has ingeniously designed their electromagnetic coil using a wound anodized aluminum strap, a unique approach where the anodized layer acts as the coil's insulation. With an anodized aluminum material that surpasses the Class H insulation rating, this coil is highly resistant to burning, even when not fully submerged. This innovative feature allows for the cooling oil to be maintained at a lower level within the magnet itself, eliminating the need for external oil expansion pipes or tanks that often require maintenance and are prone to damage.


Benefits of Dings Electromagnetics

Dings' innovative coil design allows for increased turns around the electromagnet's core, eliminating the need for space typically reserved for insulation materials like polymer or Nomex®. This unique approach results in a more powerful and efficient magnet, surpassing others on the market.

Furthermore, Dings' electromagnetic coil design stands out with its durability, as it does not require polymer or Nomex® paper insulation. This feature ensures a longer lifespan for the coil, backed by an industry-leading 20-Year Warranty on Coil Burnout.

Need more information?  Just drop an email or schedule a meeting with Ryan - who will be happy to help!

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What is an Electromagnet and How do they Work?

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