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magnetic separation rack

How to Avoid Safety issues when scaling up Magnetic Bead Separation Process

Any small magnetic separation rack (i.e. the types used to develop a prototype product before scaling up) generates magnetic fields that decay rapidly with distance. However, scaling up the process can be problematic because the size of the classical magnetic separation rack itself grows rapidly with desired batch volume. Because the magnetic field profile and the magnetic force are not the same in a larger device, the safety of users and the safety of ancillary equipment can become a serious issue.

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This post is about Magnetic Bead Separation with a magnetic separation rack, and how to scale-up this process. If you are interested in this topic, download our free eBook The Basic Guide to Scale-up Magnetic Bead Separation Processes:

Risk zones for a magnetic separation rack

magnetic separation rack risk zones

Risk can be divided into two major zones:

  1. Caution Zone: For fields > 0.5 mT (5 Gauss), ancillary equipment such as pacemakers, computers, magnetic recording media, credit cards and other such devices are at risk of being destroyed or altered. For this reason, MRI areas in hospitals will always warn you not to bring any electronics into a specified region surrounding the MRI system. A similar low level equipment risk area needs to be cordoned off for large classical magnetic separation racks.
  2. Danger Zone: Fields > 3 mT (30 Gauss) pose a serious risk of mechanical injury for people working near the Magnetic Bead Separation device. Ferromagnetic objects are strongly attracted by a field this strong and will move toward the magnet at increasing force and speed that can seriously injure a person in the path of the object. Since classical Magnetic Bead Separation racks increase magnetic force quickly as you approach the magnet, there is very little time to react when you hold an ferromagnetic object (as scissors, screwdrivers or other magnet) and this is attached to the magnet. You have a highly chance that your hand, fingers or other part of the body keep trapped between the object and the magnetic separation rack, become seriously injured due the high forces involved.

Going against dangerous magnetic fields

The most obvious way to decrease these potentially dangerous stray magnetic fields is to use a closed system so that the risk is confined to a very small area immediately surrounding the magnetic device. Unlike classical Magnetic Bead Separation racks advanced Magnetic Bead Separation systems such as SEPMAG have been designed to reduce the caution and danger zones as much as possible, thus decreasing the lab space necessary for operating your system and increasing safety for workers.

Don’t forget to check these posts from our blog in order to get a deeper insight into the scaling-up of Magnetic Bead Separation processes:

Check to access to FREE eBooks on the subject, or contact us. We will be glad to help you to achieve an efficient magnetic bead separation process!

magnetic separation rack

Lluis M. Martínez | SEPMAG Chief Scientific Officer

Founder of SEPMAG, Lluis holds a PhD in Magnetic Materials by the UAB. He has conducted research at German and Spanish academic institutions. Having worked in companies in Ireland, USA and Spain, he has more than 20 years of experience applying magnetic materials and sensors to industrial products and processes. He has filed several international patents on the field and co-authored more than 20 scientific papers, most of them on the subject of magnetic particle movement.

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