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When you’re dealing with a large and relatively dense material like steel, some tools are just perfect for the job, others do it easier and some are designed to greatly increase your efficiency and reduce the amount of time it takes to achieve a task.

One such item, which fits all three of the criteria above, is our new electro-magnet. While she’s mainly used for lifting the heavy blocks of steel onto and off the saws used to cut the steel into the required sizes, there’s an interesting fact regarding one of the safety notices.

With such a piece of machinery, there are limits and tolerances that need to be respected when working. While any piece of machinery should be safe when used correctly, there are limits and even something as commonplace as a lift – or elevator to our American friends – has a specific weight limit that represents the boundary where the mechanisms and materials should remain up to the task.

Our new electromagnet is no exception and there’s a plate which states the maximum lifting capacity is 600 kilos. Although that sounds like an awful lot, the weight limit given is only applicable to standard carbon steel. The weight limits for the electromagnet are variable, because each different type of steel has a different level of magnetism, which is defined by the individual chemical elements that are contained within.

The magnet will lift:

Medium Carbon Steel – EN8 – 570 kilos
High Carbon Steel – D2 – 510 kilos
Alloy Steels – EN24 – 450 kilos
Cast Iron – GR250 – 360 kilos

Because the chemical composition has such a great effect on the magnetic pull the metal will experience, there’s a limit to the weight that can be lifted. Most interestingly, although it shares a lot of the same properties, stainless steel can’t be lifted with our new electromagnet as it’s non-magnetic.

Our new electromagnet is definitely a hugely useful piece of equipment, but it makes you very aware of the individual properties and specifications of each material and their differences, despite outwardly appearing very similar. The big teaser is however, if stainless steel doesn’t respond to an electro-magnetic field, why didn’t the X-Men movie show supervillain Magneto in a stainless steel prison? They should have come and spoken to us first, we could’ve helped!