Almost anyone knows what a magnet is, but not everyone knows for how many purposes they are used and in how many industries. Mankind’s fascination with the relationship between magnets and metals has existed ever since this amazing trait was discovered. References to the magnetism effects can be found in Chinese literature as far back as the 4th century. From that time to the present, magnets have been used in a variety of ways, beginning with medicine, and first relating to reflexology and acupuncture. Many different kinds of magnets are now available, and in any shape imaginable, such as disks, rings, horseshoes, bars and plate magnets.
Magnets have contributed greatly to the field of medical, automobile, electronics, mining, food processing and chemical industries. The various industries use different types of magnets. For instance, most people are familiar with MRI--Magnetic Resonance Imaging--scans in hospitals, which use powerful magnets.
Televisions work when electrons are scattered magnetically across the screens, in just one of the many uses in electronics. Tiny magnetic fields store data on disks inside computers. The automobile industry makes extensive use of magnets in motors, speedometers, locks, and tape players. In the home, magnets are used in appliances such as refrigerators and dishwashers, and in items as diverse as furnaces and ceiling fans.
For many of these uses, plate magnets are ideal. They can be sandwiched in between certain kinds of separators or insulations and lend themselves well to any application that needs a straight, flat shape, or over a wide area. They are often layered with other material inside tables as a fun item for children or to teach students about magnetic fields.
The packing and food industries use plate magnets in conveyor belts and stacking machines. They are flexible and can be used below or above conveyors to capture contaminants or to drive pulleys. They perform well with lumpy or powdery products, and with large debris that could otherwise clog cartridge-based separators. Industries are continually finding new ways to use magnets to improve their operating and manufacturing systems.
Mankind is in need of new and better transportation methods and more efficient sources of energy. Because magnet technology is assisting with the development of both of these needs, it is becoming even more popular and gaining the attention of scientists and researchers, who see magnetic fields in a whole new light.
A magnetically levitated train will soon be in operation and is made possible with the extensive use of plate magnets. It will initially operate between Las Vegas, Nevada and California. Other exciting uses are being discovered and will increase the use of all types of magnets in the future, that will help with medicine, electronics and food production and distribution.