Detailed examinations and analysis on site helped to quickly identify weak spots in terms of handling around the blast machine. Manual operation of the machine, in particular the lifting of heavy castings onto hooks and the subsequent manual pushing of the loaded hanger into the machine, were strenuous for operating staff. Furthermore, some of the upper hooks of a hanger could only be reached by lifting the workpiece over head.
The machine was therefore equipped with automatic hanger transport units with horizontal and vertical range, allowing operators to halt the hangers in any position required for easy loading.
This measure alone drastically improved working conditions, but it also enabled a faster loading process, creating headroom for production increases.
Free of faults and niggles
The frequency of faults as well as maintenance intervals were identified as further areas of improvement, with the machine control and exhaust air repeatedly causing problems. Used air in the initial machine set-up still contained solid particles that were battering the filter cartridges, causing excessive wear and high maintenance costs.
An abrasive cleaning and separation system solved the problem, as it reliably removed shot particles from the exhaust air, considerably increasing the life span of filter cartridges.
The initial machine control had also been a frequent source of faults, putting production at risk. It was replaced by an extended control (SPS), which can accommodate the added complexity of the machine (ie, controlled the hanger transport units).
As part of the programme, the Wheelabrator Plus team also upgraded drive and transmission of the bucket conveyor and installed a hanger spinning system for more even and consistent blast results.