in Vol. 24 - November Issue - Year 2023
OEE Optimisation via an Improved Blasting Process
Thorsten Evert is not only the managing director of PantaTec, he was also the key developer
Process reliability: The INJECTO 05 ensures constant and homogeneous dosing according to the individual requirements of the blasting process
Thorsten Evert and some of his experts working on further development
PantaTec experts at the professional implementation of the next INJECTO 05
Without PantaTec – clogged filter
With PantaTec – filter ok
The PantaTec Company from Bad Oeynhausen in Germany has been a player on the global blasting market for over 15 years now and yet their approach is as new as ever. With the PantaTec technology they offer nothing less than a general increase of the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) via the blasting process. We spoke to the managing director and key developer of the technology, Thorsten Evert.
(?) MFN: What exactly does the PantaTec technology aim at?
(!) T. E.: Our PantaTec technology is aimed at removing oily and greasy residues of auxiliary media from upstream production steps during the blasting processes with metallic blasting media.
One important element is our highly effective blasting media additive, ULTIMATE. It removes these interfering residues and thus ensures the required cleaning results of the blasted surfaces. A wet-chemical treatment before or after the blasting process is therefore usually no longer necessary. So, the energy-intensive washing and drying stage can be eliminated. Without PantaTec the contaminants are also spread and carried within the blasting system via the blasting medium. This has a serious negative impact on the entire performance of blasting systems. The process takes longer and longer to achieve increasingly poor results. Our technology not only prevents further deterioration of the system, it even cleans the already existing contaminations. Thus, it restores virtually the original performance of the blasting system, resulting in a significant increase in the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).
(?) MFN: My question was about the PantaTec technology, but your answer seemed to refer mainly to the ULTIMATE additive. Why exactly do you usually refer to it as the PantaTec technology?
(!) T. E.: That is a really good question. Sometimes our technology is reduced to the cleaning additive ULTIMATE. I like to use the following example at these moments:
Just because you give someone a bag of flour, it does not automatically mean they can bake bread.
The PantaTec system and process is based on a couple of elements:
Our technological expertise and application experience.
The integrated automatic dosing technology INJECTO 05.
The highly effective cleaning additive ULTIMATE as the tool of the system.
PantaTec designed and continuously produces all elements of the patented PantaTec technology exclusively in our factory in Germany.
We have a good idea of what to do, as we ourselves are users of some blasting systems for surface preparation. So, in case of a new development, we test and optimise it in our own manufacturing process first. If it is successful, we give it to other users.
E.g., a continuously uniform and correct addition of the cleaning additive into the operating mix can only be achieved automatically with a reliable dosing unit. Manual addition to the process is possible for a short demo period, but it requires the utmost care on the part of the machine operator. In regular industrial operation, process reliability can only be achieved through proper automation with the INJECTO 05 system. But even the right ingredients and the necessary tools do not make you a baker. One also needs the necessary Knowledge to use them. The same applies to our PantaTec technology. We have the required expertise and experience to implement them optimally in the existing system for the best result. It is as if you’re presented the necessary recipe and start using it with our support. It works.
(?) MFN: You emphasise the value of your experience. Could you elaborate a bit more on why this is so important for implementing PantaTec?
(!) T. E.: Whether it is a wheel blaster or a pressure blast system, the PantaTec technology can be applied to almost any industrial blasting process. But every blasting system is different and so are the demands on the quality of the cleaning process. Furthermore, the cleaning objective depends strongly on the kind of surface, which is to be blasted, the pre-condition of the material before blasting and finally on the goal of the process. For the most effective and efficient use, the PantaTec technology must be adjusted precisely to these factors.
From corrosion protection and surface technology to fire and explosion protection, we have acquired extensive knowledge of the entire process chain over the last 15 years. We have gained practical experience with a wide variety of applications. We as user by ourselves continuously exchange information and experience with other users. We have a constructive relationship with the relevant manufacturers of blasting media as well as with those of blasting systems. Since we reduce the costs of the blasting processes with our method, it is naturally in their interest to cooperate with us.
All this knowledge is very important for our users in another respect. We can help in determining the blasting costs and calculating the amortisation time. In addition, we can also provide concrete proof of the economic efficiency of the application.
(?) MFN: You say that you use the technology yourself. What do you need the blasting process for?
(!) T. E.: We at PantaTec are part of the globally active Eggersmann Group. Eggersmann is an internationally active full-service provider in waste recycling and environmental technology. These include the realisation of mechanical and biological waste treatment plants as well as stationary machines and mobile recycling equipment. In this industry, steel construction and machinery require particularly heavy-duty corrosion protection. We originally developed the PantaTec process for our own manufacturing plants. In 2007, there were repeated complaints about problems due to partial delamination of the corrosion protective coatings. Despite manual chemical cleaning, we were able to identify oily residues on the surfaces as the cause of the damage.
We had to tackle the problem. But we were the first to come up with a very simple and cost-effective alternative to the conventional wet-chemical treatment.
In the beginning, there was no information or literature on the subject, and we first had to arduously teach ourselves everything. The search for a solution was also fraught with failures. The addition of conventional oil binding agents was a complete disaster with no cleaning effect as required but left behind uncontrollable consequential damage to the blasting machines. Nevertheless, we continued to learn. In the end, our investigations, and developments led us to the patented PantaTec process. We designed the whole process including the necessary components by ourselves. Even the production of additive and dosing device is our own work. We have developed the process against all odds and acquired a great deal of expertise. Combined with the experience of the last 15 years, this makes us true experts in the field.
(?) MFN: So the focus of the development was first on corrosion protection. Today you claim that the PantaTec technology improves the OEE in general. How did this come about?
(!) T. E.: In fact, the initial development goal was to optimise the cleaning quality by removing oils and greases during the blasting process. We achieved this goal. With our process, wet-chemical cleaning and subsequent drying or manual after-treatment can be completely dispensed with in most cases. Coatings last much longer – even the heavy corrosion protection at Eggersmann Anlagenbau has not had any problems ever since. Over the years, we have discovered the full potential of our process. We are constantly discovering new areas of application.
The PantaTec system binds and removes oily and greasy residues not only from the surface to be blasted, but also from the blasting media and from the blasting systems. Due to the special properties of the cleaning additive ULTIMATE, it does not form any residues itself. Without PantaTec the blasting media will take some of the contaminants with it. This leads to oily and thus also sticky dust residues in the equipment, in the blasting media, on the surfaces as well as prematurely clogged filters. The result: A sharp drop in effectiveness and a prolongation of the expensive blasting time with poorer outcome. Wear and tear of the system becomes a serious issue – maintenance and cleaning increase while the system availability decreases. With our technology, this process is not only halted but reversed.
Therefore, we are seeing more and more users who simply want to restore their plant availability or reduce their energy costs by implementing PantaTec. Just today we had a user who wanted to reduce the fire and explosion hazard after an incident with his blasting unit.
All in all, it improves the OEE and cuts unit costs in manufacturing.
(?) MFN: Your process also helps with fire and explosion hazards?
(!) T. E.: Yes, this is just one of the many special applications that make working with our PantaTec process so exciting for me. The air-dust mixtures and the blasting dust deposits already pose a high risk of fire and explosion. Spontaneous combustions can also occur. The entry of entrained oils and greases increases the risk considerably. By keeping the surfaces clean with our PantaTec technology, we also reduce the likelihood of self-ignition and the general fire hazard. This application is becoming more and more popular. The user I mentioned actually has his plant in South Africa.
(?) MFN: The most concerned aspect for our readers will be the economic efficiency. Can you tell us more about the investment costs and the expected savings?
(!) T. E.: The investment costs are comparatively low. The equipment required for implementing PantaTec in a medium-sized shot blast machine amounts less than €10,000. I would like to illustrate this with a highly simplified calculation: Let's imagine a contract blaster with a small infeed overhead conveyor blast machine, two blast wheels, etc. The blasting costs are €80 per hour. He produces 100,000 blasted parts per year in 1000 blasting hours. The total costs therefore amount up to €80,000. Utilising PantaTec, the OEE can usually be increased by more than 10%. Do the calculation yourself. Even with 900 production hours instead of 1000, this would be a cost saving of €8,000. In this case, we expect a payback period of 12 – 15 months.
Depending on the size of the blasting system and the way of operation, the amortisation period is between two months and two years.
Especially in the light of the ever-increasing energy costs, we advise anyone interested to contact us. We will be happy to take a look at their specific, individual situation and calculate the current and future unit costs.
(?) MFN: Thank you for the interview and we wish you and your company all the best for the future.
(!) T. E.: I must thank you for the invitation and the opportunity to present our technology here.
MFN would like to thank Thorsten Evert for this interview!
Carl Zeiss Str. 8
32549 Bad Oeynhausen