Lifting heavy metal materials is an everyday necessity in many metalworking industries. This is often facilitated through the use of high-strength, industrial magnets in conjunction with overhead lifting equipment. Two such types of lifting magnets are Permanent Magnets and ElectroMagnets, each with their own benefits and application uses. So, what exactly are the differences between the two? While the complete answer to this question is complex, the following information can help as a starting point for your selection of the proper lifting magnet for your application.

Magnet Types

The most basic difference between these two types of industrial magnets is that Permanent magnets have a Permanent or continuous magnetic field while an Electromagnet’s magnetism is turned on and off through a continued process of magnetism and demagnetism . Permanent magnets consist of a material that has been permanently magnetized thus it has a constant attractive force that is controllable with the aid of electrical current.  

industrial electromagnets

Electromagnets, on the other hand, are energized or activated from the passage of electrical currents through their wire coils that magnetize and demagnetize their ferromagnetic core materials as electrical currents are passed through them. The coil wires surrounding the ferromagnetic core materials control the source or direction of the magnetic field so they can be turned “on and off”. 

Magnetic Strength

When differentiating between permanent and electromagnets, there is no cut and dry answer over which is stronger. A permanent magnet’s strength is constant and depends on the amount of magnetic materials used in their manufacture.  Materials can be varied to create a stronger magnetic field, which results in a more powerful permanent magnet. Electromagnets can have variable strengths, depending on the amount of electrical current flowing through the coils to create the needed magnetic field. However, it should be noted that the single largest Electromagnet can be over 20 times more powerful than a single largest permanent magnet because of manufacturing limitations. 

Advantages 

One advantage permanent magnets have over electromagnets is their consistent magnetic fields, which do not require electrical current to maintain them. When dealing with handling large volumes of heavy lifts you can save expenses on utilities and improve your bottom line without the constant demands of high electrical loads.  Permanent magnets are available in many size ranges for easier application of their applied strengths making them a perfect choice for applications that require varied sizes of industrial magnets. 

On the other hand, electromagnets have the ability to provide a varying level of magnetism, making them a versatile tool for a wide range of applications but at much higher initial costs and operating expenses. They also are not affected by very high-temperature exposures in applications that would expose them to extreme heat. Conversely, the amount of materials required to construct electromagnets results in overall larger magnet profiles, reducing their versatility. 

industrial permanent magnets

Highest-Quality Industrial Magnets 

Regardless of the type of magnet your business needs, Permadur Industries is here to help. Our staff can work with you to determine the best solution for your particular needs and will help educate and train your staff on the differences in the application and use of our equipment correctly, effectively and safely.  Our team of engineers can design and install our systems based on the specific needs of your company’s unique application. This process ensures that the product you purchase is designed specifically for your needs and you understand all the characteristics of our lifting equipment before you ever “flip the switch” and that our equipment is properly integrated into your work environment.

We are an American manufacturer of below-the-hook lifting equipment that specializes in permanent lifting magnets. We offer magnets in bipolar, tripolar and five polar orientations enabling us to tailor the design of the magnet system to your specific lifting needs.  We are also here to support your needs year after year with maintenance after installation support. Contact us for more information.