One of the leading manufacturers of turbine wheel shot blasting systems is turning 20. This is a good time for looking back and ahead to future developments in blasting technology.
The founding team of AGTOS started with even two factories in 2001. From day one, the machines were designed in Emsdetten, near Münster. Even the first employees already had several years of experience in blasting technology under their belt upon which to build and colleagues with new ideas and approaches joined the ranks. The innovative company quickly grew to become an internationally recognised and reliable business partner for all areas of turbine wheel shot blasting technology. Naturally this also includes the new blasting machines. All common types of shot blasting systems involving rubber belts, monorails, roller conveyors or wire mesh conveyors are part of the product range. From the beginning of the company, customers with special requests and particular requirements have been well served. Machines are adapted to meet the dimensions and requirements for transporting the workpieces. High-quality shot-blast surfaces and efficient machines remain the constants.
High-quality turbine technology
Designed inhouse and patented turbine wheels in high-performance turbines are at the heart of each shot blasting machine made by AGTOS, and they have been satisfying even the most demanding requirements thus far. This is a considerable accomplishment since machines from AGTOS are often used in three-shift operation. High-performance turbines are available in two sizes, with a wide variety of material combinations and performance capacities. All blasting objectives are covered this way, ranging from cleaning to deburring, from roughening to hardening to surface finishing of the most varied materials.
A novelty on the market back then was the active marketing of second-hand blasting machines from different manufacturers. With a focus on the welfare of the customer, these can be used to manage short-term production bottlenecks, tight budgets, and extended delivery periods with ease. Second-hand machines are also equipped with CE certification, plus the supply of spare parts and the provision of services are ensured as well.
Spare and wear parts and reliable service
Customers must be adequately supplied with high-quality wear parts since the use of abrasives results not only in changes to the workpiece surfaces but also to specific parts of the blasting machines. A large warehouse has been built for this purpose at AGTOS’ headquarters so that many parts are ready to hand, even for machines from other manufacturers. Professional staff members at the customer service department maintain contact with customers and manage worldwide consultancy services and shipping. This is where the coordination of routine maintenance work takes place and where ad hoc service calls are quickly and reliably planned.
Precision filter technology
AGTOS cartridge filter units reliably extract and isolate the dust that is generated during the blasting process. This is where a special system is employed for the replacement of filter cartridges. A push and pull system is used to establish the correct contact pressure and it facilitates user-friendly cartridge replacement.
The monorails, roller conveyors, feeders and other conveying systems required for the integration of AGTOS blasting machines are included in the delivery.
The future – new trends in blasting technology
Many customers need more than high-quality, reliable and efficient blasting technology. There are new trends in blasting technology, and AGTOS has always been instrumental in the further development of new trends.
This includes the acquisition and analysis of many machine data to enable the operating company to check the current and ongoing condition of the machines. This way it is possible to prevent inadvertent disturbances, potential downtimes and associated higher costs. The operating company also has an overview of the current overhead costs, which are substantially impacted by the cost of energy and abrasive consumption and machine maintenance requirements.
AGTOS is collaborating with other companies and the largest association of machine manufacturers in Germany, the VDMA, to enable future communication of shot blasting machines with other systems required in further process stages. A task force is dedicated to defining parameters for a common, branch-specific interface to accommodate an OPC UA for shot blasting systems.
OPC UA stands for “Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture” and it is a standardised, secure communication protocol for machine-to-machine communication and industrial automation. The OPC UA branch standard for blasting technology supports interoperable production processes with blasting methods.
Using the time of the coronavirus pandemic wisely
The economic impact of the pandemic has also affected the sales of AGTOS shot blasting machines. Immediate steps were taken, however, and a programme to revamp the product lines has been implemented. The range of the individual machine type offerings has been revised, and the functions and features of the machines have been restructured. Basic functions are recognisable as such and additional features are presented as options. This serves to benefit the customers at large who are provided with state-of-the-art shot blasting machines at a fair price. In terms of visual appeal, a new attractive colour scheme has been implemented for shot blasting machines from AGTOS.
AGTOS Service app
The new AGTOS Service APP provides new customer benefits. It is available for download at the usual Android and Apple stores. Using the app, AGTOS service technicians can give tips and instruction in the case of maintenance and repair work. These can be translated simultaneously on request. The service technician sees exactly the same as the person onsite. This way, the situation can be best appraised and analysed. Supplementary documents such as drawings, illustrations and photos can be shared to provide detailed explanations. The entire activity is documented so that it is available for later digital (replay) purposes.
Other investments into the company
Both AGTOS locations, the Emsdetten headquarters and the production facility in Konin, Poland, have been expanded and modernised. The showroom at the Emsdetten production facility has been upgraded most recently.
An ERP system to link both locations was introduced two years ago. Modified process sequences also resulted in organisational adjustments. We will continue to work even more closely together on a transnational level.
Further investments are anticipated. A new laser cutting machine has been purchased to be installed at the beginning of the new year. Production workflows will be further optimised upon completion of the software integration.
The most important resource for a forward-looking business is its workforce and caring for it continues to be at the centre of our activities. Consequently, we are going to reorganise and update the offices at both production facilities and equip them with the latest technology. Comfortable and ergonomic workstations are already in place.
The described measures aim to lead the company and its workforce into a safe future.
48282 Emsdetten, Germany