Walker Magnetics Believes “Partners” are the Key to Success

Walker Magnetics believes “partners” are the key to success.  One of our best salesman has a saying, “It’s nice to do business but it’s nicer to do business with friends.”  Anyone can buy something from a catalog or off the web by finding the best price and delivery.  Any buyer can send an RFQ to potential suppliers he finds in a directory or on the internet.  When you are buying or selling commodities – go for the best price and delivery.  When you are buying or selling “mission critical” components or engineered products, it takes a little more research.  It takes a little more work and it involves more risk.  There is always a chance that something doesn’t fit exactly.  There is always a chance that the product doesn’t arrive in time to support your schedule.  Those are the times when partnerships count.  Those are the times when friends step up to the plate and outperform the low cost vendor.  Those are the times when it’s critical that you are dealing with someone you know – someone who speaks your language – someone who understands your business – someone who sympathizes with your problems and knows that you are going to be doing business together next week or next month.  “Partners”…

Countries Attempt to Reduce Reliance on China for Rare Earth Materials

Retail and industrial consumers have forgotten about inflation. Of course this doesn’t include gasoline or the cost of government but generally the average consumer or industrial buyer has become used to material cost deflation or stabilization. That’s why the 770% price increase in rare earth materials from China over the past 2 years is so astounding. There is no real reason other than manipulation and control by the “powers-that-be” in the country that now controls 90+% of the material mining and production. Excerpts from the attached article are an indication of one way that Japan is attacking the problem: www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2012-02/10/content_14573224.htm. “Japan is the world’s biggest importer of rare earths, and will provide 5 billion yen ($65 million) in subsidies for projects that reduce the need for the elements as it aims to cut its reliance on imports to meet demand.” It sounds aggressive until you realize that the article talks about reclaiming or recycling miniscule amounts compared to worldwide usage. There doesn’t seem to be any short term solution. A few non-Chinese companies are developing new mines and production capabilities but it will be years before they have any meaningful effect on the market. Unless and until a new material is developed or a new supply is readily available, Western companies dependent on these materials are at the mercy of the Chinese suppliers and price volatility will continue to be a another reminder of why competing with the Chinese is a challenge.

- Dick Longo, President of O.S. Walker Co.

Where is North?

The North Magnetic Pole is the point on the surface of the Earth where the north pole of a bar magnet points.  Here are some interesting points about it:

1.      The North Magnetic Pole is not located at the Geographic North Pole (I.e. the point at the top of the globe where the longitude lines cross).

2.      The North Magnetic Pole is constantly moving due to changes in the Earth’s spinning core.  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Magnetic_North_Pole_Positions.svg for a map of its various positions over the last 400+ years.

3.      The north pole of a bar magnet is attracted to the North Magnetic Pole.  Since magnets are attracted to opposite polarities, the North Magnetic Pole is actually an area of southern (not northern) polarity.

4.      Over geologic ages, the Earth’s magnetic field has reversed its polarity a number of times (I.e. with northern polarity becoming southern, etc.)

Small Magnets Can Cause Injuries

Small magnets are used everywhere in our daily lives – from refrigerator magnets to jewelry clasps to parts in children’s toys.  On the whole, the magnets we encounter are very benign.

However, there is one area where magnets are very dangerous.  That is when small magnets are ingested.  If two magnets of opposite polarity (or a magnet and a piece of metal it attracts) are in a person’s digestive system, they can attract each other.  The danger comes if they attract each other between two different parts of the intestines.  The magnets can cause perforations of the intestines, leading to infections, blood poisoning and even death.  Unlike swallowing coins, ingested magnets frequently require surgery to recover the magnets.

This is not a made-up danger.  Both the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) have issued warnings about the dangers of children playing with and swallowing small magnets.

A cow-magnet, really?

Many cows have rod shaped magnets fed to them during their branding, which remain in their reticulum, or second stomach chamber, for life. The purpose of the magnet is to collect accidentally ingested “tramp metals” (nails, barbed wire, etc) and prevent these objects from passing further down the cow’s digestive tract which could cause serious bodily harm to the animal.

How to Make a Lifting Magnet Last Longer – #5

Keep your magnet dry.

Never cool your magnet with water!

The average magnet absorbs moisture if left on the ground.  This can cause short circuits and cripple the magnet’s lifting power. Protect your magnet in storage by storing it where it is dry.  As well, it is best to store it on a low platform or on blocks.

Make sure that the terminal box is closed.  This keeps moisture away from the terminals as well as protecting them from breakage.  If the cover is lost, get a new one.

How To Make a Lifting Magnet Last Longer – #4

Handling hot materials requires special attention to your magnet.

A hot magnet will not carry as much as a cool magnet.  You can turn the power off on the return trip to help cool your magnet somewhat.

However, lifting hot materials doesn’t allow your magnet to cool as quickly or completely.  Watch the magnet’s temperature carefully and switch to a spare magnet to avoid overheating.