VOL. 19 July ISSUE YEAR 2018
in Vol. 19 - July Issue - Year 2018
A New Type Of Mesh Belt Blast Machine, Designed For The Needs Of Regional Markets
A new, lighter Wheelabrator mesh-belt shot blast machine was launched in April
Demands on blast machines change along with modern production requirements around the world. In markets like China in particular, easy-to-install, flexible and affordable yet high-quality machines are highly sought-after. For fast-growing applications like the production of aluminium and other smaller or less heavy parts, this can be realised through lighter, pit-less designs of existing machine concepts.
A recent example is Wheelabrator’s new, lighter version of its LBS mesh-belt shot blast machine range. The mesh-belt concept allows the efficient blasting of parts from all sides within a relatively compact space and without tumbling.
Launched in April this year and first shown to industry audiences at Metal China in May, two new LBS models offer high flexibility and process reliability for light to medium applications from rust and heat scale removal through to surface finishing. They are particularly suited to the processing of aluminium parts.
The first two of the new-generation LBS machines have already been sold to customers in Hungary and China.
Fits right in: when speed and flexibility of set-up are key
The new machines, available with four or eight blast wheels, offer a pit-less and compact design for faster installation, an optimised blast pattern and a more ergonomic loading height compared to other LBS machines. This means the new models can be fitted into tight layouts, can be moved more easily, and enable flexible integration into existing processes with less need for additional handling equipment. This makes them perfect for nimble production in dynamic markets.
All Wheelabrator mesh-belt shot blast machines efficiently blast flat as well as more complex parts in a pass-through process. Typical parts suitable for the LBS range include small fabricated parts, flat cast parts like gear wheel flanges and more complex pieces like gearbox housings. To achieve complete coverage and excellent blast results, blast wheels are arranged in optimal positions, inclined to face the belt direction.
Both the four-wheel and the eight-wheel version of the new-type LBS come with highly efficient 11kW TITAN blast wheels and feature ergonomic belt heights (i.e., loading heights) of 1000mm (four wheels) and 1100mm (eight wheels). They can accommodate workpieces of up to 1000mm width and 500mm height, with a standard belt load of 80kg/m and an optional extended belt load of 200kg/m.
Heinrich Dropmann, Vice President at Wheelabrator in Metelen, summarised the new LBS versions: "This new, lighter type of LBS machine responds to changing production environments at our customers – with a greater focus on ergonomics and flexibility. The pit-less design means faster, less complex installation, while the compact through-feed design saves space and can process a broad range of workpieces."
Adapting to the needs of regional markets
The new LBS is just one example of a trend towards smart regionalisation of existing machine concepts, to more precisely meet the needs of customers in local markets.
Viktor Lussi, Sales Director at Wheelabrator’s Zurich centre, explains: "This is a philosophy we’re following across the Norican Group, and there have been examples very recently where colleagues have applied this thinking very successfully. If we look at DISA, their DISAMATIC C3 moulding line takes the high-end technology from their flagship DISAMATIC D3 line and, by tailoring the concept closely to the needs of markets like China and India, results in a much more affordable and attractive option for those markets - and for foundries worldwide in the lower- to medium-volume segment. Back at Wheelabrator, the same is true for our recently launched new DT continuous through-feed model, which as it happens is a very good blast machine match for the DISAMATIC C3, perfect for ambitious foundries in fast-growing markets."