Rosler Drag Finisher

Automation, Part 4 – Choosing the Right Machine and Consumables

Rosler Metal Finishing understands that automation integration requires careful planning to ensure the best, most efficient results. Whether for mass finishing or shot blasting, we have more than 80 years of experience helping customers match machines and consumables.

Taking time to evaluate your process needs as a whole will help you and a trusted partner such as Rosler determine what machine and consumables will best suit your automation needs and goals.

How do I choose the right machine?

Selecting the right machine is the most critical step to ensure the success of any automation project. Without the right machine, your automation process is sure to fail or produce disappointing results.

In order to choose the right machine for your needs, consider:

  • The size, shape, and weight of the work pieces – If you were looking to deburr the links for chainsaw chains, for example, you would need a completely different machine than one that de-sands/descales sand castings which weigh substantially more.
  • Batch vs. continuous feed operation – Can the work pieces be collected in batches and processed as such or must they be continuously fed into the machine, one after the other?
  • Part-on-part interaction – Are the work pieces sturdy and able to tumble over each other or must part-on-part contact be prevented? This determines whether each work piece must be placed on a fixture and processed individually to avoid contact or whether contact between work pieces is acceptable.
Rosler’s Tumblast Machine model RMBC is an example of a batch-based process. Sturdy work pieces that are not subject to nicking as a result of part-on-part contact freely tumble inside.
Rosler’s Tumblast Machine model RMBC is an example of a batch-based process. Sturdy work pieces that are not subject to nicking as a result of part-on-part contact freely tumble inside.
Work pieces are continuously processed in Rosler’s R 650/6600 DA Inline Continuous Flow Vibrator and automatically loaded and separated.
Work pieces are continuously processed in Rosler’s R 650/6600 DA Inline Continuous Flow Vibrator and automatically loaded and separated.

How do I choose the right consumables?

Selecting the most appropriate consumables is as important as deciding on the right machine. Just as mass finishing and shot blasting machines offer different strengths and capabilities, so do the media and compounds used within a given process.

Therefore, special care must be taken in choosing the best-suited consumables and making sure that they are fully functional within the scope of an automatic operation. Choosing the wrong mass finishing media can produce poor finishing results and cause media to lodge in the work pieces, which can defeat the whole purpose of automation.

Poorly selected media shapes and sizes can lead to problems such as ineffective finishing and media lodging within the work pieces as shown.
Poorly selected media shapes and sizes can lead to problems such as ineffective finishing and media lodging within the work pieces as shown.

The surface finishing experts at Rosler can help match consumables to your process needs and incorporate automation to load, unload, classify, recirculate, and monitor the levels of consumables including:

Along with choosing the right consumables, it is also important to include a good separation system within an automated process. In a mass finishing system, work pieces must be safely separated from the grinding or polishing media. Media carry-out with the work pieces could result in disaster for subsequent assembly or machining operations and must be prevented.

Methods of separation include screen separation and magnetic separation.

This Rosler rotary vibrator features screen separation.
This Rosler rotary vibrator features screen separation.
Magnetic separation is also available on Rosler machines.
Magnetic separation is also available on Rosler machines.

While undersized media may not travel outside the machine with a work piece, these pieces must be removed within an automated system. Maintaining an optimum operating mix of new (large) and worn (small) media is just as important as separation.

This requires that worn media is removed once it has reached a certain size and is no longer effective. If these smaller pieces are not removed, processing results will deteriorate and the process itself will eventually fail. In some instances, worn media must be removed from the process to prevent lodging.

Undersized media screens are the most common way to remove media past its efficiency by allowing only small pieces to exit the mix, retaining larger pieces for further use without human intervention.

Maintaining an optimum media operating mix of larger and smaller media requires that worn undersized media is regularly removed from the system.
Maintaining an optimum media operating mix of larger and smaller media requires that worn undersized media is regularly removed from the system.
Undersized media screens allow media that is too small to be effective any longer to fall through screen holes and remove it from the media mix.
Undersized media screens allow media that is too small to be effective any longer to fall through screen holes and remove it from the media mix.

Rosler has the answers.

We are true to our motto of “finding a better way…” When immediate answers aren’t available, we work with you to find solutions. Contact us today for help evaluating your machine and consumable needs for automated success.

Our next Automated Blog Series post will discuss available automation hardware considerations. Until then, revisit previous posts in the series, including:

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