in Vol. 4 - November Issue - Year 2003
Individual Solutions for every Surface
Loop Belt Continuous Flow Blast System (SBI) based on the injector principle for continuous Shot-Blasting of sensitive components
Shot-Blasting test lab in Untermerzbach, Germany
Interview with Stephan Rösler, managing director of Rösler Oberflächentechnik GmbH, Germany.
As a complete supplier, Rösler Oberflächentechnik GmbH is the international market leader for the manufacture of vibratory and shot blasting equipment and consumables for the efficient finishing of metal and many other surfaces such as synthetics, wood and stone. Due to the continuous expansion, permanent extension and flexible design of the equipment range as well as the increasing globalisation of distribution and sales Rösler now has 12 branch offices and 970 employees worldwide, the family-owned business is in its third generation and, under the management of Mr. Stephan Rösler, Dipl.-Kfm., has gained an excellent reputation in the surface finishing sector.
(?) MFN: Originally a vibratory finishing specialist, Rösler has developed into a comprehensive supplier for individual surface technology. What does your product range comprise these days?
(!) S.R.: Our range of products is based on two essential methods of surface finishing:
vibratory finishing and shot blasting technology. In accordance with our company philosophy we offer our customers additional problem specific solutions with integrated high-tech automation. In many applications we complete our program with special washing installations produced at our Rösler branch in Spain.
Our system selection has many variations. It would be beyond the scope of this interview to go into detail, so I can only give a rough idea about our range of products. For vibratory finishing we offer systems such as linear continuous flow systems, Rotomatic – continuous flow systems, trough vibrators, rotary vibrators, centrifuges, drag finishing systems and plunge grinding systems and of course also consumables (media and compounds).
In addition to this we have washing installations and dryers as well as process water circulation systems. The process water circulation systems form an important and integral part of our vibratory finishing system program and these provide a cost-effective system combination that is popular with our customers. For this reason we have entrusted our English branch manager, Mr. Paul Rawlinson with the presentation of this system to the trade audience at the MFN-Workshop in Singapore.
For shot blasting we offer many types of processing technologies and systems from deburring to shot peening. Our standard program comprises tumble belt machines, overhead rail machines, wire mesh continuous flow systems, roller conveyer systems, rotating / rotating satellite??? table systems, drum shot blasting systems, continuous flow systems, tube blasting systems, duroplastic and lead frame shot blasting systems, robot shot blasting systems as well as hand shot blasting cabinets. Almost all systems can be supplied with blast wheels or, alternatively, compressed air systems. Our motto “finding a better way” is easily followed as we develop and manufacture all equipment components in-house.
(?) MFN: What is behind your unique Company philosophy „Finding a better way”?
(!) S.R.: We aim to meet the high standards set by our customers in the most effective way. To achieve this we might even, if necessary, take unconventional routes. “Finding a better way.” means that we first analyse the problems and requirements of our customers without prejudice and then afterwards suggest adequate solutions.
It is because of our large range of products that we can react to our customer’s requirements in a flexible way preventing us from being stuck in a certain solution path, which might block many other options that could be to the benefit of the customer.
With both large test centres for vibratory finishing and shot blasting at one and the same site at which also almost all system types are available, we offer our customers the opportunity to carry out practical test-runs, which are extremely beneficial to both parties.
Based on experience gained from test trials we have been able to develop many customized processes and special systems, we have also delivered appropriate link-systems. We are particularly proud of our achievements in this innovative field.
In addition to this, we claim to offer outstanding customer support, especially in after sales services.
Finding a better way... for us also entails questioning the achieved status quo and developing it further. To achieve this we continuously engage in customer research carried out according to DIN EN ISO 9001. The results of these surveys form an important basis for our day-to-day work.
(?) MFN: When it comes to shot blasting technology your company has developed a particularly high profile in the construction of special systems. Is this where you place your emphasis?
(!) S.R.: Naturally we sell a lot of standard machines, too, so we do not really keep our main focus on this particular aspect. However, the special systems form an important part of our machine sales because our philosophy, as mentioned earlier, invariably leads to many individual system designs. Let me just mention a few of them at this point:
There is for instance a system combination of vibratory finishing and shot blasting which was developed by us as a one-off for a die -casting manufacturer. The system design consists of a tumble belt batch shot blasting system and a linear continuous vibratory finishing system, which are connected via a joint feed installation (lift-and-tilt device). Components of different sizes and geometries can be processed either separately or simultaneously. The interlacing to a processing cell saves the user expensive production space, provides short routes and makes it possible for both systems to be run by one operator. Whenever there are synergies between vibratory finishing and shot blasting this is exactly where we can apply our wealth of experience and find tailor-made solutions.
Another example is the drum shot blasting system RTC which we have used to complete our shot blasting program for charge processing. This system is amongst other applications used for the shot peening of saucer springs of the diameter range 8 to 100 mm and 0.3 to 2.7 mm thickness.
Its basic design also makes it suitable for de-scaling and de-flashing. This ideal solution provides a safe process for cost-effective finishing of small and medium size components that should neither be shot blasted in a tumble belt batch nor any other continuous belt systems or small baskets as they are either too small, too flat or too light or, because their number exceeds the capacity of the system.
A third significant example of a special shot blasting system developed by Rösler that is ideal for integration into fully automatic manufacturing concepts is the Roboblaster. This shot blasting system with robo-handling is customised and optimised to meet the requirements of the customer in each single case. This highly efficient finishing system is used in complex manufacturing environments. A robot plays the role of production assistant and is handling the components. A special sealing system made of abrasion-proof manganese steel provides safe sealing of the steel space. The finishing spectrum ranges from de-burring to surface finishing and shot peening of impact sensitive components, at present, up to the size of cylinder heads for a 6-cylinder I.C.-engine. This system is also available with a blast wheel and, as a special version for the aerospace industry, with a compressed air blasting system.
This list of successfully used special systems could be continued for as long as you like.
(?) MFN: The aerospace industry sector is an important field for surface finishing. To what degree is Rösler involved in this?
(!) S.R.: We have been working with many well-known companies in the aerospace industry especially in the vibratory finishing sector and here too, we have contributed some special solutions.
For quite some time now we have also been offering interesting system designs for the shot blasting technology.
For example, during 2003 we have delivered a number of automatic shot blasting machines, vibratory finishing machines and waste water treatment systems to leading aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce have recently built a new aero-engine centre of excellence manufacturing facility, specialising in compressor systems, at Inchinnan Glasgow where the most modern initiatives and techniques are being utilised to create a state of the art facility. Rösler are proud to have been chosen as a major supply partner for surface finishing techniques. Rösler UK ‘s aerospace manager and MFN official trainer Mr Peter Kendall, himself an experienced aircraft engine engineer and pilot, has coordinated and focused the many years experience Rösler has in this industry to ensure the most efficient and reliable equipment and processes are at the disposal of Rolls Royce. Some of our systems offered for the near future in Rolls-Royce incorporate our labour saving Roboblaster which also reduces process time having pick and place capability. This aids tact time consideration and ensures repeatability and continuity, critical factors in this safety conscious industry. The Roboblaster may be helpful to obtain acceptable data for quality assurance measuring tools such as SPC (Statistical Process Control) and consequently the Roboblaster is very suitable for shot peening applications in processing highly sensitive aerospace components.
Another interesting system design for special applications in the aerospace industry sector is the SBI, a loop belt continuous system based on the injector principle. The SBI has the advantage that touch sensitive components run continuously through the loop belt in the shot blasting cabinet and are turned over several times during the process whilst at the same time being conveyed under the maximal 12 injector shot blasting guns towards the discharge section.
An oscillating motion system with shot blasting guns attached guarantees an even shot blasting finish.
We are able to offer a multitude of solution options in the sectors vibratory finishing and shot blasting technology for the aerospace industry and we are going to intensify expansion in this field.
Rolls-Royce are not the only reputable company within the aerospace sector benefiting from the ‘Rosler experience’. For some time now Airbus has been using Rosler fully automatic de-burring and washing machines for wing rib and wing component finishing. General Electric, Wales partnered Rosler to develop pioneering modifications in conjunction with an engine OEM to improve engine performance after tests in terms of greater EGT margins and lower SFC for a major customer. The customer commented ‘the super finishing compressor components utilising the Rösler Keramo® process have been a revelation’.
The Rösler organisation has many examples of aerospace customer co-operation projects and we take pride in our ability to work as a partner and not just traditional supplier to the aerospace industry.
(?) MFN: Rösler has played a successful role on the international scene since the mid-nineties, which is rather unusual for a medium-sized, family-owned business. What is Rösler’s international set-up and what influence have its subsidiaries and branches with respect to company policies?
(!) S.R.: Our 12 branch offices worldwide, situated in Great Britain, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Singapore, Brazil, South Africa and the USA hold an important position in our company philosophy as they provide the opportunity to implement our motto “finding a better way…" directly on the doorstep of the customer. It would be impossible to achieve this from Germany alone. Direct access becomes a reality this way and the contact partners for our customers are locally at hand. This way we can guarantee fast reaction times and high service whilst delivering quality.
In this context it is also important to point out that our branches are in charge of their sector in partnership with Germany when it comes to the approximately 45 international exhibitions in which we take part every year, and which give us the opportunity to gather knowledge with respect to market differences, local mentality and demand requirements.
(?) MFN: Each branch has its own development and test centre. Is this a unique feature to Rösler?
(!) S.R.: This is indeed one of our central issues in the international organisations. Each branch has its own test centre equipped with the broad spectrum of our machines in order to be able to carry out customer trials locally. This is extremely economical for the customer as he saves time and money. Our foreign clients only approach the main site in Germany with really complicated challenges. As far as we know, we are the only company in this market segment that offers such a comprehensive international service. It is not common practice in this sector that components are tested on production machines instead of undergoing lab tests, and the opportunity to do so is therefore greatly appreciated by potential customers who consider it a system-saving factor. Some of our branches also offer a subcontract finishing service.
(?) MFN: One last question: Where do you think Rösler will be in five years time?
(!) S.R.: First of all we intend to safeguard our market leadership in vibratory finishing technology. We are going to achieve this through the permanent development of a variety of finishing techniques and continuous improvements to the details of existing systems as well as corresponding new developments.
We also subscribe to a strict philosophy of quality leadership. For this reason, for instance, we have a very low complaint rate of only 1 % for our media in accordance with DIN EN ISO 9001 standards.
From our point of view there is great potential for growth in shot blasting technology and we are constantly taking advantage of this. In the last 20 months alone we have carried out almost 30 completely new system developments. We are going to expand the shot blasting technology department accordingly and shall also open up new application areas. The demand for quality leadership will of course equally apply. It is our aim to be the first choice contact for our customers when it comes to any problem solutions in connection with surface finishing.
We at MFN would like to thank Stephan Rösler for this interview.