VOL. 4 July ISSUE YEAR 2003


in Vol. 4 - July Issue - Year 2003
How Successful a Manufacturer of Shot Peening Machines can be …
Ad Gielen, Managing Director (left) and Marco Klijsejsen, Sales Manager (right) of Straaltechniek

Ad Gielen, Managing Director (left) and Marco Klijsejsen, Sales Manager (right) of Straaltechniek

Mr. Ad Gielen, Managing Director of Straaltechniek International

Mr. Ad Gielen, Managing Director of Straaltechniek International

Interview with Managing Director Ad Gielen and his Sales Manager Marco Klijsen, Straaltechniek International.

Straaltechniek International in the Netherlands is a renowned manufacturer of surface cleaning machines. Its Shot Peening Division is gaining more and more importance.

Straaltechniek International has a long history in design, development and delivery of shot blasting machines in general and shot peening machines in particular. For future customers it is important to know who Straaltechniek actually is and in what ways the company excels. As a result of the high quality of its shot peening machines the aerospace industry has been a regular customer since the mid 80s.

(?) MFN: Straaltechniek Int’l is a manufacturer of machines for sand blasting, cleaning, roughing and activating surfaces. When did you start to produce shot peening machines?

(!) A.G.: It all started in the mid 80’s when I had a meeting with the technical staff of the former Turbine Support Europe company, (now called Chromalloy Holland), the European subsidiary of Chromalloy Gas Turbine Corporation settled in San Antonio (USA). This company is a major repair station for airplane engines and is certified by manufacturers like GE, Rolls Royce and Pratt & Whitney. Chromalloy specialises in service and maintenance of critical aero engine components and has a comprehensive experience in the shot peening of these delicate aero engine components. I found several similarities in the expertise of both companies. Straaltechniek, at that time, was a specialised manufacturer of sand blasting machines and Chromalloy had  worked with shot peening machines a long time already. The staff of Chromalloy is composed of highly qualified engineers with a comprehensive experience in the shot peening technique. The company appeared to be impressed by Straaltechniek’s know-how and asked me to design a shot peening machine that fully complied with their stringent specifications. This was in the mid 80s.

(!) M.K.: I remember that time very well. Our engineering department designed a completely new shot peening machine, based on the know-how of our sand blasting units and the expertise of Chromalloy. We delivered the machine and Chromalloy was quite satisfied!

(?) MFN: What does the aerospace industry use the shot peening machines for?

(!) M.K.: The main reason for shot peening is to increase the fatigue-strength of metal components, for example parts for airplanes and for turbines. This type of treatment often results in minimised dimensions and weights and in the aircraft industry less weight means more cargo can be transported. However, critical aero engine components are delicate and require a very careful treatment and therefore our machines are provided with highly reliable control systems.

(?) MFN: How did Straaltechniek proceed after the first delivered machine?

(!) M.K.: Chromalloy’s order opened the door for many others. At that time several aerospace companies used to buy their shot peening machines from US based suppliers and were very satisfied to learn that a reliable partner on the European continent was available. One of the first were KLM and Thai Airways. Both companies are specialised in the repair and overhaul of airplanes and turbines and had a close co-operation at that time. KLM was impressed by the high technical level of the equipment and bought the second unit.
Thai Airways was advised by KLM and asked Straaltechniek to quote a shot-peening machine when it needed one. It found that our company was willing to modify the standard machine in accordance with the requisition of Thai Airways. The technical features and the price were attractive and Thai Airways decided to buy the machine. The performance of this unit appeared to be so well, that Thai Airways was very happy with the machine provided.

(?) MFN: Which companies were next?

(!) A.G.: Several aerospace companies have a co-operation like KLM and Thai Airways at that time and used to inform  other parties about their experiences. So it was no wonder that Straaltechniek was able to find several new contacts in the years after. Examples are Messiers Bugatti, Messier Dowty, Pratt & Whitney, the Royal Netherlands Air Force and General Electric. Thanks to their excellent experience  companies like SEW Industrial Gears (producer of gear boxes) and car manufacturers such as BMW choose shot peening machines supplied by Straaltechniek for their delicate work.  

(?) MFN: There are a number of manufacturers of shot peening machines in the world. In what way do the Straaltechniek machines excel?

(!) A.G.: The Straaltechniek machines show some typical features. A main characteristic is the easily accessible cabinet, in which an operator has easy access while adjusting the settings. Most other models are so much smaller that operators have to go down their knees. Straaltechniek also supplies the auxiliary equipment that the customer requires, e.g. the CNC or PLC control units, protecting masks and satellite tables. For Straaltechniek a CNC control and a turn key delivery are becoming more and more standard nowadays.

(!) M.K.: It also is an advantage that our machines are the result of the interaction with our customers. Most of the customers know exactly what they can expect from such machines, especially companies in the aerospace sector. Shot peening machines must always comply with the specifications issued by the original manufacturer of the components. Any abuse will surely jeopardize the certification and that must absolutely be avoided. Today, our company is an experienced supplier of shot peening machines to the aerospace industry, especially in landing gear components.

(?) MFN: What kind of machines does Straaltechniek manufacture?

(!) M.K.: There are two main principles of shot peening, one using compressed air and the other  a rotating wheel. The first one is best for small surfaces and confined spaces and the other one is better for large surfaces. Sometimes both features are required, and therefore Straaltechniek recently designed a shot peening machine that combines the advantages of both. These combinations of the air and the wheel peening principles are mainly in operation for landing gears of airplanes. The reason is that the inner parts of the gears are easily accessible for the air jet and can therefore be treated by the standard compressed air system. For the large outer parts the mechanical wheel principle is more efficient. The advantage of this hybrid design is that both the inner and the outer parts can be treated in the shortest possible time. For this type of machine we also apply the patented Rutten wheel, which is easier to control than conventional models.   

(?) MFN: What are the advantages of shot peening?

(!) M.K.: I already mentioned that the shot peening process increases the fatigue-strength of metal parts of all types of machines and installations. Parts can be smaller and machines can be more compact without jeopardizing the performance. The result of shot peening is often 8 or even 15 times longer life time of critical machine components, e.g. suspension springs and steering rods for cars. A standard landing gear is suited for one thousand landings, but a shot peened model of Messier Dowty may stand ten thousand landings without any restriction.

(?) MFN: You said the aerospace industry is your main market sector. Is that all? 

(!) A.G.: Straaltechniek manufactures shot peening machines for standard and non-standard applications and now takes advantage of the information circuits between the customers in the aerospace sector. We booked several repeat orders from other companies in the same market. The shot peening technology is also of interest for other industries, but not all companies appear to be familiar with it so far. Therefore Straaltechniek makes much effort to introduce the shot peening technique to all kinds of industries in Europe and the rest of the world. In my opinion further market expansion is possible within the automotive sector, heavy steel construction and machineries. Of course shot peening requires an investment and therefore it  is cost efficient for critical parts only.     

(?) MFN: How do you estimate your market position at the moment?

(!) A.G.: Straaltechniek is one of the few companies that both designs and manufactures shot peening machines. In the last two decades we gathered so much experience that the performance of our machines exceeds many others. Our design is often copied. Straaltechniek is very flexible in the individualised configuration of machines and will always do its utmost to adapt a machine to the customer’s requirements. We have delivered shot peening machines worldwide, from the USA to the Far East. A sales and service network is available all over the world. I am proud to say that our customers scale us in the top position in the world market of shot peening machines.

We at MFN would like to thank Mr. Ad Gielen and Mr. Marco Klijsen for taking time out of their busy schedule for this interview.

For further information:
Straaltechniek International BV,
P.O. Box 65, 3300 AB Dordrecht
The Netherlands
Tel. +31.78.6511477, Fax  6511401
E-Mail: info@straaltechniek.nl
www. straaltechniek.nl