Tag Archives: Shot Blasting

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

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

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

Shot Blasting 101

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.

The two most common types of shot blast machines are turbine blasting and air blasting.

Continue reading Shot Blasting 101

Air versus Turbine – Balancing Blasting Capabilities and Outcomes, Part 2

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.

Continue reading Air versus Turbine – Balancing Blasting Capabilities and Outcomes, Part 2

Air Versus Turbine – Balancing Blasting Capabilities and Outcomes, Part 1

Blasting processes for surface finishing vary according to the size, quantity, composition, and desired finish of the work pieces in need of surface preparation. Air blasting and turbine blasting are two of the more common types of blasting. While there is some overlap between the two methods, each carries its own unique attributes and drawbacks.

When comparing these two blast methods, the number one thing to keep in mind is precision versus bulk. Air blasting provides precision surface preparation using a much smaller blast pattern compared to turbine blasting, which delivers large quantities of media over a wide blast pattern, thereby making it ideal for blasting large quantities of parts or larger individual parts.

Continue reading Air Versus Turbine – Balancing Blasting Capabilities and Outcomes, Part 1

Rosler Offers Unique Solutions – Record-setting Preservation Line Used for Shipbuilding

“Finding a Better Way” isn’t just a tagline at Rosler Metal Finishing; it’s a mission. A recent preservation line developed by Rosler Germany is no exception.

The creation of a 740-foot-long (225 meters) shot blasting line with straightening equipment is the largest equipment project Rosler Germany has ever undertaken. Commissioned by Meyer Shipyard in Turku, Finland, the state-of-the-art equipment will be used to prepare and finish materials for building cruise ships.

Read more about this record setting preservation line

Rosler’s “Gamma G” Series Redefines Blast Turbine Performance

With the revolutionary Gamma G turbine, Rosler has set a new milestone in continual turbine development. It is the most maintenance-friendly turbine in the world, it can be easily installed or retrofitted into a great range of systems, and has a unique price-performance ratio.

Featuring Y-shaped throwing blades made of forged tool steel for high durability. Since both sides of the throwing blades can be utilized, the cost for wear parts can be drastically reduced. Depending on the abrasive used, throwing blades can be used up to three times longer.

Read more about Rosler’s Gamma G turbines