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.
The R 150 DL-2 was an excellent choice for LINK’s new “bi-mobil” hip implant. The implant offers patients a higher degree of mobility by inserting a movable PE joint in the acetabular cup. The PE-joint in turn is clamped to the ball of the hip stem. To minimize friction and prevent premature wear, the inside of the cup requires an extremely smooth surface, which can only be achieved with a high gloss polished finish—something the R 150 DL-2 easily achieves where other surface finishing companies failed.
We’ve all heard the saying “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” At Rosler Metal Finishing, we often view automation as the solution—or fix, if you will—for mass finishing and shot blasting processes in need of added efficiency.
Both mass finishing and shot blasting are specialized processes that require a lot of practical consideration. Automating these processes can deliver great benefits to a manufacturer when properly targeted to a prescribed need, but, if the engineers developing the machine don’t understand your challenges, the solution is likely to miss its mark.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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.
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
When properly applied prior to finishing, blasting
achieves three key aspects of the finishing process:
Cleans and descales
Creates a uniform
texture on the part and blends the surface
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.
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.
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.
Waste water from mass finishing applications is often referred to as effluent and must be cleaned for recycling or discharge.