If you’re a baseball fan, you’re probably familiar with your favorite team’s meticulous management of its pitching staff. Pitchers’ arms are delicate and valuable resources. When a relief pitcher doesn’t just get the call from the bullpen but gets the tap on the shoulder to make the starting rotation, he can’t go from relief appearances to scheduled starts immediately. He needs some “stretching out” to go from pitching an inning or so here and there to going the distance every week.
Your scrap yard’s magnets are the same way. When a magnet in your arsenal gets a promotion to a more extensive usage pattern than it’s used to, it needs a little stretching out, too. You’d hate for your magnet to go down with the heavy machinery equivalent of a torn rotator cuff. With that in mind, here’s how to prepare your scrap magnet for extended use. The ump is signaling to wrap up the mound visit—let’s get started.
Stick To the Cycle
The specifications for lifting magnets include something called a “duty cycle.” Even powerful magnets need rest, and a duty cycle puts numbers to that rest. The formula presupposes a ten-minute cycle of use and rest. Thus, a magnet with a 50 percent duty cycle should operate for five minutes and then rest for five. At 75 percent, it could lift for seven and a half minutes and rest for two and a half. It’s simple math. What’s also simple is that trying to stretch out a magnet by exceeding this cycle will fatigue it over the course of a day. If a magnet doesn’t get its rest, it loses lifting capacity. A magnet not being able to lift what you think it can lift could be disastrous. You can still use a scrap magnet over the course of a full workday, but make sure to observe its duty cycle as you do so.
Avoid Heat and Humidity
Unlike limbering-up pitchers who hate cool weather, magnets hate heat. When your magnet is not in use, store it in a cool and dry place where heat cannot weaken its magnetization and moisture cannot corrode its iron. Corrosion diminishes a magnet’s volume and surface area, in turn decreasing its efficacy. Whether you’re taking care of an extended-use lifting magnet or one you only use in a pinch, this is a good idea for all your magnetic equipment.
Get Used To Inspecting
Part of how to prepare your scrap magnet for extended use is taking more responsibility for the ongoing health of a magnet. Magnets you seldom use should only require a quarterly inspection, but when a lifting magnet becomes a part of your everyday operations, you should subject it to your maintenance checklist on a monthly or even biweekly basis. Check for cracks, dents, loose parts, and weak welding spots.
Upgrade With Moley
Simply put, your current magnets may not be up to the task. Rather than stretch out an existing magnet, you may want to invest in a new one. The 12-volt crane magnet from Moley Magnetics features an hours-long battery life, heavy-duty steel, and a high lifting capacity. Play ball.