Tag Archives: Mass Finishing

Automation, Part 2 – Why Automation is Beneficial for Your Business

It’s hard to dispute that technology, on the whole, has made our lives easier and more convenient. Myriad functions have been automated – and improved – to mitigate the effects of human intervention. We make purchases more intelligently, we manage data more efficiently, we can control devices with our voices and eye movements, and we ultimately move through life with less left to chance.

In the world of manufacturing, this mitigation of human intervention promises even greater and more measurable, efficiencies. At Rosler Metal Finishing, quality improvements and cost benefits that have resulted from the mechanization and automation of mass finishing and shot blasting operations deliver dividends that transcend the manufacturing floor.

Rosler Multichannel System
Rosler Multichannel System

Since the first microprocessor-controlled machine appeared on the manufacturing floor in 1974, hundreds of new varieties have been shipped across the world. With each improvement, these automated attendants encompass a larger footprint, are able to handle heavier loads and more axes, and require fewer controllers to do their work, according to a McKinsey study.

Automation has revolutionized smaller tasks as well, including simple parts bin handling, lift assists, automatic media adding systems, or multi-step process control systems (like those where noxious chemicals are dosed, without human risk, into the process).

So how do these automation upgrades pay off for you? Let’s start by taking a look at where mass finishing and shot blasting has fit into the manufacturing paradigm. Then we’ll dive deeper into the benefits of today’s automated processes which have a lasting impact on the finished product.

Rosler R 220 SO System for small parts
Rosler R 220 SO System for small parts

The Role of Mass Finishing and Shot Blasting in Modern Manufacturing

When mass finishing and shot blasting were “invented” years ago, their sole purpose was to replace the tedious job of manual deburring, or the stripping of rust and paint from a surface. Early equipment was simple and required substantial operator involvement, but represented great strides productivity and quality improvement.

Over time, both technologies grew into sophisticated surface treatment technologies that have become essential for the proper function of components used across many industries. Today,  state-of-the-art mass finishing equipment is used to place the finishing touch on orthopedic implants like knee femorals, tibia plates, or hip stems before implantation. Complex shot peening systems are also used for extending the service life of critical aircraft components.

Rosler RMT Multi Tumbler System
Rosler RMT Multi Tumbler System

Mass finishing and shot blasting have made a significant contribution towards zero-defect manufacturing with absolutely repeatable, highly cost-efficient, surface improvement processes. To a large extent, this only became possible through further mechanization and automation.

What Are the Benefits of Automation?

When deployed properly, automation offers numerous tangible technical and economic advantages, including:

  • Improved surface treatment quality, including tighter tolerances. As an example, the automation of the shot peening of turbine blades has greatly improved the peening quality as measured by Almen values.
  • Consistent, repeatable quality. A stable process environment means no variations in the output. This can be seen with the automated polishing of orthopedic implants in dedicated mass finishing equipment, which delivers consistent high qualities, batch after batch, day after day.
  • Time savings with reduced manufacturing lead times. As an example, the direct linking of the blast cleaning of steel plates and beams and their corrosion protection in a single, automated preservation line process can drastically reduce turnaround times.
Rosler KON-RRB Preservation Line with transfer system
Rosler KON-RRB Preservation Line with transfer system
  • Improved operational efficiency, which translates to fewer rejects and lower costs. A manufacturer of outboard engines, for example, could reduce its reject rate from 12 percent to 0 by simply converting to an automatic drag finishing process for paint preparation.
  • No need for trained mechanical labor. Automation relieves the pressure of finding qualified, well-trained mechanical labor that understands the complexities of surface finishing in a shrinking marketplace.
  • Cost savings. Automation pays for itself through lower expenditures for personnel, faster turnaround times, and much lower reject rates.
Rosler RDGE 800-8 Wire Mesh Belt System
Rosler RDGE 800-8 Wire Mesh Belt System

Is Automation Always the Best Solution?

It’s clear that automated mass finishing and shot blasting systems produce better surface finishes in a consistent, repeatable manner, reduce the finishing costs, and help reduce lead times. Therefore, for industrial volume production, automation is a “no-brainer.”

However, for work pieces that are produced in very small volumes or are particularly large, bulky and heavy, partial automation may offer a good compromise. This is definitely the case in prototyping shops or foundries and forges making special, custom castings or forgings. As with any business process, you’ll simply want to analyze what the right balance of automation is for your particular application and budget.

Rosler R780 Bowl System with dryer
Rosler R780 Bowl System with dryer

In our next Automation Blog Series post, we’ll take a closer look at the machinery, consumables, and hardware needed to enhance automation in manufacturing operations.

For more information or to discuss your automation needs and challenges, contact us. With more than 80 years of experience in the surface finishing industry, we are confident that we can deliver a solution for your process.

Rosler Tandem R370_12 SE Multi Channel System
Rosler Tandem R370_12 SE Multi Channel System

Part-on-Part Mass Finishing, Part 2 – Rotary Vibrators Versus Centrifugal Disk Machines

As described in Part 1 of our Part-on-Part Blog Series, some forms of mass finishing techniques encourage part-on-part contact to achieve the desired finish. 

In addition to viewing work piece impingement as an asset, this type of mass finishing also eliminated the need for ceramic, plastic, and other types of media. The only additives required for such part-on-part finishing are water and the respective compounds.

Rosler Metal Finishing designs and manufacturers two machines specifically for part-on-part mass finishing known as WTA rotary vibrators and MK centrifugal disk machines.

The applications and benefits of each machine provide a range of part-on-part mass finishing uses for sturdy parts in bulk. Let’s compare their designs.

WTA Rotary Vibrators

Rosler developed special WTA rotary vibrators especially for part-on-part processing. These machines not only allow running the finishing/washing process, but also the subsequent drying stage in one single machine.

Continue reading Part-on-Part Mass Finishing, Part 2 – Rotary Vibrators Versus Centrifugal Disk Machines

Automation, Part 1 – How Robots Are Improving Mass Finishing and Shot Blasting Processes

Automation is changing the way mass finishing and shot blasting processes are delivered. In this five-part blog series, Rosler Metal Finishing will explain what has given rise to automation trends, the human factors of these manufacturing upgrades, and how such automated processes deliver benefits to your business.

Those of us of a certain age remember a portrayal of robotics that, in hindsight, was rather quaint: human-looking automated machines would be crisscrossing our landscape, delivering us food and wardrobe, pumping our gas, collecting our garbage, or – in a more macabre rendering – leading a rise of the machines that would eliminate the human race.

Rosler Surf Finisher with automation options
Rosler Surf Finisher with automation options

In reality, Rosie the Robot and the Terminator have not ruled the world, as predicted by Hollywood. Today, faceless, automated machines, arms, and processors are streamlining the way in which products and services are delivered.

In fact, a World Economic Forum article found that the 2020s will be the “age of automation,” with manual jobs making up only 35 percent of the manufacturing labor force by the end of this decade (a drop from 48 percent, as measured in 2016).

Continue reading Automation, Part 1 – How Robots Are Improving Mass Finishing and Shot Blasting Processes

Mass Finishing – Are You Ready to Meet Customer Demand in 2020?

Updating a process to meet increased production demand is a cost-effective way to not only improve your processing times and results, but also increase and prolong your equipment’s usefulness.

Let’s say production has been steadily building over time. How do you know if it’s time to evaluate the process for improvement?

Mass finishing experts suggest examining the final finish accomplished by the process and its ceramic or plastic media and compound usage. Processes in need of optimization will not achieve the desired finish in an acceptable timeframe and will use more media and compounds than necessary.

Continue reading Mass Finishing – Are You Ready to Meet Customer Demand in 2020?

Forge & Foundry, Part 1 – Shot Blasting Systems

Getting castings and forgings ready for the subsequent processing steps presents some of the toughest surface finishing challenges. Shot blasting machines can handle all of these tasks from removing residual sand, casting shells, flashing, die marks, or scale. Whether cast iron, steel, stainless steel, super alloys, titanium, aluminum, zinc, or magnesium, the comprehensive portfolio of Rosler Metal Finishing blasting systems for the foundry industry enables the optimal process for any requirement.

Shot blasting is an essential part of most forge and foundry operations and has been used since the late 1800s. This specialized surface finishing process throws small metal (or mineral) pellets, called blast media, onto the surface of a work piece at incredibly high speeds, ranging from 200-800 feet per second. The impact on the work pieces from this process is what blasts the contaminants from the parts and produces the desired surface finishing effect.

When properly applied prior to finishing, blasting achieves three key aspects of the finishing process:

  1. Cleans and descales surfaces
  2. Creates a uniform texture on the part and blends the surface
  3. Enhances paint adhesion
Continue reading Forge & Foundry, Part 1 – Shot Blasting Systems

Mass Finishing 101

Often overlooked in the manufacturing process, mass finishing can help add value in a variety of ways.  Mass finishing can reduce or eliminate manual process steps, improve process consistency, increase throughput, reduce manual labor, and more.

Manufacturing or process engineers in a manufacturing plant do not have to be the expert that knows all the latest details and techniques of the finishing process. They do, however, need to have a good understanding of the basic mass finishing processes that can be applied.

Mass finishing describes a surface finishing method where parts are deburred, smoothed, polished, or cleaned using media (tumbling or vibratory), compounds (finishing soap), and specialized equipment.

Examples of mass finishing equipment include:

Understanding how the different process components, i.e. the machine, media, compound, water, and the incoming part all interact and influence the desired part finish is important. Each of the inputs in itself has a multitude of adjustments and parameters.

Continue reading Mass Finishing 101

Centrifuge Technology Processes Effluent for Reuse and Disposal

In order to achieve the lowest total cost of ownership and the greatest process efficiency, recycling process water used in mass finishing processes is key. Reusing water not only reduces costs in the form of less consumables used, but also enables companies to reduce their discharge and disposal fees by replacing process water less often and complying with water and waste regulations.pollutant table

Waste water from mass finishing applications is often referred to as effluent and must be cleaned for recycling or discharge.

Continue reading Centrifuge Technology Processes Effluent for Reuse and Disposal

8 Considerations When Purchasing a Rotary Vibratory Machine

Buying Mass Finishing equipment, as with all investments, can be a bit overwhelming at first.   There will surely be a number of suppliers and machine types available to you.  In order to ensure you get the best value for your money we recommend you consider the following when purchasing a rotary vibratory machine:

Movement– Appearances can be deceiving, don’t be fooled into thinking all machines are the same just because the look similar.  Always test the machine and its processing ability before you buy!  Test its amplitude, see how regular the movement is, is it consistently driving the same way?

Strength and durability – Check how heavy the machine is, usually you’ll find something costs less because it is made of cheaper and lighter materials.

Continue reading 8 Considerations When Purchasing a Rotary Vibratory Machine

THE 9 MOST COMMON MISTAKES YOU NEED TO AVOID TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR MASS FINISHING MACHINE

When maintained properly, mass finishing equipment can be very user friendly.

As a result sometimes operators can get into the habit of just turning them on each day and ignoring simple operating and maintenance rules.  Avoiding the following 9 mistakes that operators commonly make will help you get the most from your equipment:

  • They let the media level drop, often with the aim of saving money or so they can get more work pieces in. This changes the ratio of work pieces per media though and can affect process times, unloading ability, can cause components to damage each other, and can result in the required finish not being achievable.

Continue reading THE 9 MOST COMMON MISTAKES YOU NEED TO AVOID TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR MASS FINISHING MACHINE