As previously discussed in our Automation Blog Series, building a robotically assisted process requires evaluating your surface finishing system along with its problems and goals and selecting the right machine and consumables. Automating a mass finishing or shot blasting process also requires selecting the automated hardware that will best achieve your overall goals and provides the most efficiency in terms of time and manual labor.
An experienced partner such as Rosler Metal Finishing can provide insight and advice on the numerous material handling tools specially designed or adapted to mass finishing and shot blasting process improvement.
Work Piece Loading Systems
Including skip loaders, lift and tip loaders, vibratory feed hoppers, and other tools, work piece loading systems are ideal for small- to mid-sized work pieces handled in bulk.
Our Forge & Foundry Blog Series continues with an overview of our shot blasting machines most frequently used on these specific types of work pieces.
It is important to understand your work piece and process requirements including whether components will be processed continuously or in batches. When it comes to finishing forgings, non-sand castings, and powdered metal components, our shot blasting machines are divided into three categories based on how the work pieces are fed into the machine: continuous, batch, and specially engineered shot blasting machines.
Continuous Shot Blasting Machines
RMBD Continuous Tumble Belt Machine
The high-capacity, continuous feed RMBD is available in a heavy-duty version for large forgings and castings, which is equipped with 6 x 40 HP turbines, a steel-slatted work piece transport belt, and a magnetic separator.
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.
With extensive experience in the forge and foundry industries, Rosler Metal Finishing understands that no two shot blasting processes and work pieces are alike. With that in mind, we continue our Forge & Foundry Blog Series with an overview of our machines offering excellent finishing for sand castings.
If you demand precise, repeatable results when shot blasting sand castings, consider the following machines. As always, the experts at Rosler are also available to develop a customized machine to accommodate your unique work pieces and challenges.
RMBD Continuous Tumble Belt Machine
The high-capacity, continuous feed RMBD is available in a heavy-duty version for foundry applications equipped with 6 x 40 HP turbines, a steel-slatted work piece transport belt, and a magnetic separator.
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.
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).
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
Shot blasting is a specialized surface finishing process where small metal (or mineral) pellets, called blast media, are thrown 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 produces the desired surface finishing effect.
Shot blasting can help achieve surface cleaning, surface preparation, descaling, deburring, deflashing, and shot peening.
The process components of a shot blasting system include a shot blast machine, raw and finished work pieces, blast media, dust, and other byproducts.
In addition to the pro and con evaluation of air blasting and turbine lasting found in our previous blog, these two methods can also be compared in terms of throwing velocity, applications, and industries.
In terms of throwing velocity. Media thrown by turbines immediately start losing speed the moment that the turbine blade releases it, producing higher intensity blast results closer to the turbine. Larger shot retains its speed better over a distance and is commonly used to maintain intensity while creating a larger blast pattern by positioning the turbine(s) farther away. In contrast, media thrown by air nozzles will continue to accelerate for the first 100-300 mm outside of the nozzle depending on blast pressure and media size and density until the compressed air fully dissipates to the ambient environment, meaning that your best blast results occur a distance away from the nozzle.