Q&A: General Questions

Here are general questions and answers that apply to all different types of magnetic pressing. Click here for more specific Q&A topics.

List of Questions

What is the Magnepress system?
What can the Magnepress system do?
How does magnetic pressing work?
What does a Magnepress look like?
What kind of controls does a Magnepress use?
What production rates are possible?
How consistent are parts made with a Magnepress?
Is Magnepress a lean, flexible manufacturing system?
How much does a Magnepress cost?
What is the expected life of a Magnepress system?
Will using a Magnepress reduce the cost of making parts I already have in production?
How much space does a Magnepress take?
Are there any special facilities required for a Magnepress system?
Are Magnepress systems safe, with regard to electromagnetic emissions?
Is hearing protection needed for the operators?

Answers

What is the Magnepress system?

Magnepress is a trade name for IAP Research's line of magnetic pressing equipment. For a more complete answer, go to the Magnepress home page, or just keep reading these questions and answers.

What can the Magnepress system do?

A Magnepress System can be used to:

How does magnetic pressing work?

magnepress animationMagnetic pressing creates a magnetic pressure between a coil and workpiece. The pressure accelerates the wall of the workpiece away from the coil. Refer to the animation for a simplified explanation.

You start by charging a capacitor bank, and then discharging the stored energy very quickly into the coil. The current in the coil induces a current in the workpiece. The opposite currents create magnetic forces that repel each other.  The forces accelerate the workpiece up to 200 m/s by the time it moves a distance of two to three times its wall thickness -- just a few millimeters. The workpiece stops moving either when the forces dissipate or when it hits a die wall.

The animation shows an empty tube being formed, but many other applications are possible. Where the animation shows the coil compressing the tube outside-in, the coil can be inserted in the tube to expand the tube inside-out.  The tube can be pressed against a die to control the final shape. In a process patented by IAP Research, powder can be placed in the tube to compress the powder.  Other parts of this web site describe the various applications in greater detail.

What does a Magnepress look like?

A Magnepress system has three main components:

The Magnepress system can easily be integrated with a material handling system to form a complete production cell.

power supply module.jpg (29224 bytes)

Magnepress power supplies are made by combining modular units (modules).   Each module is about 0.6m wide by 1.6m deep by 0.8m tall. Modules can be mounted on wheels for easy relocation, or stacked two-high to conserve floorspace. Most applications use from one to eight modules to supply the needed energy.
x_DMC_Cell_300.gif (75757 bytes) Coils are custom-designed for every part application to optimize for pressure and energy. This photo shows a coil (on the blue frame) for making 13cm diameter powder metal gears.
m-screen.gif (28293 bytes) The control interface allows the operator to start and stop the system, adjust magnetic pressure output, and monitor the system parameters.

What kind of controls does a Magnepress use?

Automated systems are PLC-controlled, and the PLC can be integrated with the material handling system or a desktop PC. Manual systems are equipped with more simple pushbutton-style controls.  The controls are customized with every Magnepress system to best suit the customer's needs.

What production rates are possible?

The magnetic pressing operation happens in less than a millisecond, so extremely high production rates are possible. The two factors that limit production rates are 1) the power supply charging time, and 2) the speed at which the material handling system can move parts in and out of the coil.

The power supply charging time depends on how much energy is used to press the part and on the grade of power supply used. A standard Magnepress power supply module is designed for 4-6 discharges per minute. The fastest module is rated for 15 discharges per minute. Faster designs are possible.

How consistent are parts made with a Magnepress?

The process is highly repeatable.  The primary process variable is the amount of energy discharged into the coil.  The energy discharge can be tightly controlled and measured for the purpose of implementing statistical controls.

Is Magnepress a lean, flexible manufacturing system?

Yes!  Here is what is lean and flexible about a Magnepress:

How much does a Magnepress system cost?

Naturally, the cost varies with the capability of each system. The two main cost drivers are: 1) the energy output of the system, measured in Joules (J), and 2) the level of automation. The lowest-priced Magnepress quoted so far was about $50,000 U.S. for a 10kJ manually-operated system.  The highest-priced Magnepress quoted so far was about $1 million U.S. for a highly-automated 360kJ system.  To narrow that down, call us to discuss your needs.

What is the expected life of a Magnepress system?

Industrial-grade Magnepress power supplies are rated for 10 to 25 million discharges. Coil life is highly dependent on the application.  Standard maintenance is required during the life of a system.

Will using a Magnepress reduce the cost of making my parts?

Probably, if you can answer "Yes" to one or more of these questions:

Call us so we can help you answer these questions.

How much space does a Magnepress take? 

As noted above, Magnepress power supplies are made by combining modular units (modules). Each module is about 0.6m wide by 1.6m deep by 0.8m tall. Modules can be mounted on wheels for easy relocation, or stacked two-high to conserve floorspace. Most applications use from one to eight modules to supply the needed energy.

The coil stand can be as small as 1m wide by 1m deep by 1m tall. The coil is usually connected to the power supply with coaxial cables.

The control interface and the material handling equipment  may require additional space, depending on the application.

Are there any special facilities required for a Magnepress system?

Not very special.  The power supplies use a three-phase 240V AC wall outlet.   The equipment can be modified to accept other voltages as needed.

At higher production rates, the power supply and/or coil may require liquid cooling.   This requires either a supply of tap water or a chiller.

Are Magnepress systems safe, with regard to electromagnetic emissions?

Yes, according to the applicable safety standards. For details, see our memo discussing electromagnetic emission safety standards and how they relate to Magnepress equipment.

Is hearing protection needed for the operators?

Maybe.  Most of the pressing cycle is quiet.  The noise occurs during the forming of the workpiece, when air is displaced at up to 200 m/s. Listeners hear a quick "pop" when that happens.

The need for hearing protection depends on four factors: 1) the loudness of the "pop." 2) the number of "pops" operators are exposed to in a day. 3) the presence and effectiveness of sound-dampening materials around the magnetic press. 4) the safety policies and regulations that apply at your facility.

OSHA, a regulatory department of the U.S. federal government, recommends that workers exposed to more than a time-weighted average (TWA) of 85 dBA over an eight-hour work period use hearing protection.

Not every Magnepress system falls into the "hearing protection recommended" category, but some do. You will need to discuss your particular application with an IAP Research representative to determine if hearing protection is recommended.