Innovation Exchange challenge: Demagnetisation and preparation of high performance magnets for reprocessing

Ionic Technologies seeks solutions for demagnetisation and pre-processing of end-of-life high performance magnets.

Opportunity Details


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Successful projects will be awarded up to £25k over 3 months to explore their solution with the challenge holder, with the possibility of further adoption upon successful trials.

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Ionic Technologies are recycling high specification permanent magnets and magnet swarf, and have recently opened a 30 tonne/yr. demonstration plant located in the Titanic Quarter, Belfast.

Challenge background

End-of-life magnets often arrive at the Ionic Technologies site in Belfast intact, and still magnetised. To be processed further, they need to be demagnetised and crushed and milled to a much smaller particle size, to form a slurry.

Currently the first step is to demagnetise by heating to up to 400°C in small batches, followed by fragmentation using steel crushing jaws. Consideration needs to be given to furnace/heating tunnel construction/materials and electronic shielding so that the effects of the still magnetised magnets are minimised when handling/loading. It is desirable to move to a continuous process due to the time taken to heat and cool between batches causing a major bottleneck for onward processing. The heating system should feed the crushing /milling operation with no manual (or limited manual handling).


Considering the parameters provided, the solution can be tailored without size constraints, allowing for flexibility in the design and dimensions. The focus remains on the processing capabilities and production output, it is hoped the solution can be engineered to optimize the processing area efficiently.
The primary focus is to design a system capable of processing 600T per annum of permanent magnets. This specification guides the development of the machinery and workflow to meet the targeted processing volume efficiently.

The solution should:
Accept magnets from different feedstock, variable dimensions and weight (Max Dimensions 90*90*90mm)
Use of DI water (DI water supply not to be included in the project).
Target final size is 0.5mm particles in the slurry.


Entrants to this challenge must be one of:

  • a UK registered business of any size
  • a academic institution
  • a research and technology organisation (RTO)

Your project must:

  • have a grant funding request up to £25,000
  • last up to 3 months
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK


Successful applicants will be invited to a pitch day, giving them a chance to meet the Ionic Technologies team and pitch their project plan during a 20 minute presentation, followed by questions. Successful solutions from the pitch day will be awarded up to £25k over 3 months to explore their solution with the Ionic Technologies team with the possibility of further adoption upon successful trials.

The benefits package for a successful applicant may also include:

  • Support from Innovate UK KTN
  • Support in the development of a prototype or pilot
  • Technical support
  • Invitation to attend or present at KTN events
  • A potential business collaboration
  • Investor introductions (if investment is required)
  • Support if any Innovate or similar competitions are relevant

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