Magnetic Cylinders: Essential Tips for Maintenance and Long Life

Posted on: July 10, 2023

Magnetic cylinders paired with flexible sheet dies power efficiencies for converting across many  different platforms. Ensuring seamless performance and maximizing the life of tooling requires proper maintenance combined with safe handling. Here we will explore essential techniques and best practices for maintaining magnetic cylinders. 

What are the important features to consider for magnetic cylinders?

The two variables that converters can customize in a Wilson magnetic cylinder are the construction of the roll and the type of magnets required. 

Cylinder Construction 

The Wilson Standard Magnetic Cylinder is produced from a single roll of steel for accuracy and high efficiency. Another option is our Premium Magnetic Cylinder, a multi-part construction offering a stainless steel body for maximum oxidation resistance paired with hardened tool steel bearers and journals for additional wear resistance and longevity. It also has the advantage of replaceable bearers and journals should the need arise during a repair.  


At Wilson Manufacturing, we raised the bar and made it our standard to include at least one row of high-strength magnets on all of our cylinders. This ensures the best fit and a strong bond with the leading and trailing edge of the flexible sheet die. All Wilson magnetic cylinders are customizable, too, allowing you to add more rows of rare earth magnets to increase the strength of the bond even further for high-stress applications.

What can be done to optimize the life of magnetic cylinders?

There are supplemental yet critical actions you can take to ensure your tooling is running smoothly for as long as possible.

Bearer Wipers

Bearer wipers use oil in a felt pad to continuously clean the surface of the bearer area, adding lubrication to the surface as well to reduce the heat from friction where the surfaces meet.  Debris in the bearer area can pit and damage the steel. This debris plus excessive heat from friction have the potential to cause irreparable damage. Bearer wipers are so often underutilized but are an easy-to-use preventative measure that can greatly reduce the risk of unnecessary wear and damage to tooling. If your station isn’t equipped with bearer wipers, Wilson Manufacturing offers a universal bearer wiper with a magnetic base that can be positioned in the station where it will be the most effective.

Pressure Gauges

Monitoring the pressure in the die station with pressure gauges is another effective way to maximize the life of your tooling. Changes in pressure are a good indication of an issue that may need to be addressed. A pressure increase naturally occurs as the tooling warms up in a run and the diameters expand from heat.  This can be observed immediately in the gauges and the pressure reset to the minimum needed to run the job.  

Documenting the starting and ending pressure of each run will have multiple benefits. Knowing the start up pressure can reduce the time for set up on repeat jobs, plus seeing an increase in pressure from one run to the next can indicate that the tool is beginning to wear and a retool or reorder can be scheduled. 

Wilson Manufacturing offers two types of pressure gauges as options to fit your specific requirements. Our WH1 gauges use a hydraulic-based system with rotatable readouts. For thicker materials or steel-to-steel applications, we recommend the WM1 gauge, which operates using a mechanical-based system. Both variations feature quick snap locks to easily fit on any machine or station.

Cylinder Inspection Tool

A smooth surface and concentric magnetic cylinder is crucial for optimal die cutting. Also, when ordering a flexible sheet dies, advising an exact measurement of the undercut in the magnetic cylinder will ensure that the tool is made with the correct plate height to run properly, right out of the box.  The Cylinder Inspection Tool is made specifically to measure the undercut and check runout in magnetic cylinders and anvils so you can consistently monitor these measurements, quickly note any deviations, and schedule repairs or resurfacing before the cylinder needs to run.  

What types of regular maintenance are recommended for magnetic cylinders?

Even with the best care and handling, your magnetic cylinder will need regular cleaning and occasional maintenance to maintain peak performance. Basic recommendations are provided here, but our comprehensive guide to care and handling provides more details about maximizing the life of all your rotary tooling.

Magnetic Cylinder Audits

One thing we highly recommend is a yearly audit of your magnetic cylinders to ensure that the diameters are in spec and that no damage or wear is present that will affect the cutting die performance. A free service to existing customers, Wilson’s audits include undercut confirmation, damage inspection, potential issue identification, and future maintenance recommendations. The audit is available at your location to fit your schedule and can be requested through your Wilson representative. They will work closely with you to create an efficient audit plan for your facility.

Regular Inspections

A good preventative measure is to inspect the magnetic cylinder prior to every use.  Check the surface condition as well as the gear for any wear or damage. A clean, bare hand is often the best way to feel any minor imperfections that may be in the magnetic cylinder surface.


If you do notice wear on your magnetic cylinder or changes in the diameter or the bearers, you can send your magnetic cylinders to Wilson for retooling. Our experts will re-grind your magnetic cylinder to restore the surface to a smooth, even finish and then reset the undercut to your specifications.  

Are you ready to maximize your tooling life? 

Implementing best-practice care & handling procedures and a proactive approach to standard maintenance schedules, you can ensure that your magnetic cylinders are always ready to run and will continue to deliver top-notch performance with maximum life. 

To schedule your next magnetic cylinder audit, connect with your Wilson representative, and to explore more care and handling best practices, check out our comprehensive guide.

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