VOL. 25 March ISSUE YEAR 2024


in Vol. 25 - March Issue - Year 2024
Improved Quality and Lower Costs through Automated Shot Blasting Operation
With the Rösler blast machine, ML Coating achieves considerably better shot blast quality, a better working environment and substantial cost savings. All this provides a significant competitive advantage for the company.

With the Rösler blast machine, ML Coating achieves considerably better shot blast quality, a better working environment and substantial cost savings. All this provides a significant competitive advantage for the company.

In the Spotlight

For over 80 years, the privately owned Rösler Oberflächentechnik GmbH has been actively engaged in the field of surface preparation and surface finishing. As a global market leader, we offer a comprehensive portfolio of equipment, consumables and services around the mass finishing and shot blasting technologies for a wide spectrum of different industries. Our range of about 15,000 consumables, developed in our Customer Experience Centers and laboratories located all over the world, helps our customers to fulfill their individual finishing requirements. Under the brand name AM Solutions, we offer numerous equipment solutions and services in the area of additive manufacturing/3D printing. Last but not least, our central training center, the Rösler Academy, offers practical, hands-on seminars on mass finishing and shot blasting and lean management. The Rösler Group has a global network of 15 locations and 150 sales agents.

The lack of flexibility and unsatisfactory powder coating quality at external job shops prompted a Dutch manufacturer of industrial furniture to bring its coating operations in-house. Unlike its competitors, the company decided to also do the paint preparation by shot blasting in-house with an automatic shot blasting machine from Rösler. Compared to manual processes, not only is the shot blasting cycle eight times faster, but the automatic solution also produces better quality at lower costs. This results in a significant competitive advantage.

ML Constructie produces small tools and industrial furniture. the company serves other manufacturers with a laser cutting service for sheet metal, tubes and semi-finished products. In the past, industrial furniture was generally sold without any protective coating. However, in recent years, customers have increasingly demanded the furniture to be painted. Due to the rapidly growing demand for color coated products, the company initially had the shot blasting and powder coating of the furniture done by external job shops. Ben Luizink, co-owner of ML Constructie, explains: “We were not satisfied with the handling of our work by external job shops. Due to long lead time, we could not deliver our products as quickly as we wanted. Moreover, most of the time, the coating quality did not meet our specifications. For example, we found residual sand from the sand blasting operation on our products. And the coating thickness was generally inadequate. To better control the blasting and coating operations, we set up our own in-house coating department.” That’s how a few years ago ML Coating was started. Since then, it has grown into a coating company that shot blasts and powder coats its own products and provides blasting and coating services to other companies.  

Quick investment in a spinner hanger blast machine 

One of the first purchases of the newly created company was a spinner hanger blast machine from Rösler. Mike Luizink recalls: “The pre-condition for achieving a homogeneous, high-quality coating is that the components are thoroughly and precisely shot blasted. Most companies in our area still do this manually. However, right from the beginning, we decided to automate the entire shot blasting process.” 

More comfortable working 

conditions and higher shot blasting quality 

Since manual blast operations are hard and exhausting, it is very difficult to find and keep the people for this type of work. With the Rösler blast machine, the employees only need to place the workpieces onto the fixtures and remove them after the blasting process. Another significant contribution towards a better working environment was the low noise emission, which is considerably lower than the noise from manual blast rooms. Moreover, the automated shot blasting process is eight to ten times faster. While in manual blast rooms, media quantities about 6 kg are dispensed per minute, each of the four blast turbines in the spinner hanger machine throws 150 kg of media at the workpieces every minute. Another benefit is that the spinner hanger blast machine is equipped with two rails in a “Y” design. This allows the operator to place workpieces onto the fixture on one rail branch, while the workpieces from the other rail branch are being blasted. Therefore, unproductive idle equipment times are virtually eliminated. Last but not least, the overall blast cleaning quality is considerably better. “In the automated shot blast process, the blast media gets into even the tiniest workpiece corners. This is nearly impossible with manual shot blasting”, comments Ben Luizink and continues: “The Rösler shot blast machine is very tight and emits practically no dust. Since we are coating the workpieces in the same hall, this is a huge advantage.”  

Lower media and energy 

consumption results in significant cost savings 

That shorter processing time results in lower costs is quite obvious. However, ML Coating has also achieved significant cost savings in other areas. “After ten blast cycles, the sand used in manual shot blasting becomes dust and is, therefore, no longer usable. This produces a lot of waste material,” explains Ben Luizink. “Another drawback of manual blasting is that the sand remains in tight corners of the workpieces and is, therefore, lost. In automated shot blasting machines, the entire quantity of thrown blast media is collected in the bottom and transported to the media cleaning system with special augers. This ensures a much longer life of the blast media. An additional advantage is that significantly harder blast media can be used.” 

In manual blast rooms, the compressed air needed for blasting is generated by compressors requiring a high energy input. In the new Rösler shot blast machine, the blast media is accelerated by direct-drive electric turbines. Ben Luizink explains: “The turbines require a lot less energy than media acceleration by compressed air.” Another important energy-saving feature of the Rösler machine is the Rösler Gamma G turbines with their curved throwing blades. Because of the curved blade design, the blast media leaves the throwing blades at a higher speed without additional energy requirements. This results in a higher impact velocity of the media on the workpieces. The energy consumption can be further reduced by intelligent adjustment of the turbine RPM. For example, delicate components can be blasted at 1,500 RPM, whereas old paint can be stripped at 3,000 RPM. 

Smooth order processing and 

trouble-free commissioning   

Ben Luizink remarks: “Throughout the project, we had optimal support from Rösler. Initially, the Rösler engineers helped us to decide which shot blast machine would be best for us.” Once the decision was made, the implementation started. For example, for an optimal placement of the machine in the hall, the standard equipment layout had to be modified, and the dust collector had to be relocated. Various preparatory works like the installation of electrical wiring and the pouring of various concrete foundations were done by the customer. After a brief review of this work by Rösler, the blast machine was installed and commissioned. “Installation and commissioning were completed within one week. After a short operator and maintenance training, we were able to fully utilize the machine”, explains Ben Luizink.

Automated shot blasting provides a competitive advantage 

At the moment, ML Coating is the only company of its kind in the region that does its shot blasting operation fully automatically. Around 80% of all workpieces can be processed in the spinner hanger blast machine. The remaining workpieces, such as very large and heavy components, are blasted manually. If needed, very delicate components can be pre-treated chemically. 

About 50% of the workpieces processed in the Rösler automatic blast machine are components for ML Constructie, whereas the other 50% are prepared for coating jobs for external customers. Overall, ML Coating achieves excellent shot blasting results, and the company is highly satisfied with the easy operation of the Rösler machine. “We can easily adjust the shot blasting parameters such as throwing speed and blast time. This allows us to create workpiece-specific programs for various product groups. At the moment, we work with twelve programs, which are more than sufficient for our current shot blasting needs,” concludes Ben Luizink.

For Information: 

Rösler Oberf lächentechnik GmbH

Mr. Daniel Hund

Vorstadt 1, 96190 Untermerzbach, Germany

Tel. +49.9533.924-802

E-mail: d.hund@rosler.com