Safely Processing Magnesium Billets

Case Study: Novel Magnesium Processing Machine

Complex Problem – Safely processing magnesium billets

BMT WBM has a long and successful history of delivering innovative solutions to improve user safety and productivity. These range from simple design improvements to fully automated custom machines.

Based on this experience, BMT WBM was engaged to deliver a turnkey solution to process magnesium billets into a granularised product as shown in Figure 1; the processed product was to be used in our client’s energy storage solution. Our client was previously using a manually intensive approach to process the material, but it was slow and inherently higher risk because magnesium dust has the potential to catch on fire.

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Figure 1: Basic process flow required of the magnesium chipping and densifying machine


Solution – Novel modular chipping and densifying machine

One of the client’s primary requirements was to eliminate the fire and explosion risk. To accomplish that, BMT WBM designed and manufactured a robotic machine that performs the complete chipping and densification process within a fireproof chamber that is machine controlled and monitored to ensure safety. The machine has improved their throughput from a maximum of 4kg per day to >75kg per hour, and has completely eliminated the fire and explosion hazard.

The machine receives billets loaded onto its billet rack, and automatically feeds them with an innovative billet handling mechanism, which significantly reduces the hazards for operators. The machine also has remote touchscreen controls for feed rate, chipping speed, and densifying speed so that the operator can control the output from a safe distance.

The machine installed in the client’s facility is shown in Figure 2, the system’s main control switchboard is in Figure 3, and Figure 4 shows the machine during BMT WBM’s factory assembly and testing.

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Figure 2: Modular chipping and densifying machine installed in dust room at client site


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Figure 3: Contents of the switchboard cubicle, containing electrical, pneumatics, and control system equipment


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Figure 4: BMT WBM hard at work during the factory assembly and testing


BMT WBM worked closely with our client throughout the design and manufacturing process, which enabled key operational and safety aspects for the system to be clearly identified and achieved, and to ensure that the tight timeframe requirements were met.

This turnkey system delivery by BMT WBM demonstrates how we can provide highly engineered solutions to solve our client’s complex problems.