Flexible Tumble Blast Design Improves Cleaning

Brillion Iron Works, Brillion, Wis., a company of Accuride Corp., Evansville, Ind., has experienced considerable growth over the last few years. Its more than 100-year-old facility currently produces 140,000 net tons of gray, ductile and austempered ductile iron annually for a wide variety of industries.

With growth comes the need for equipment improvements and upgraded technology to maximize production. Its finishing room had a need for speed, and Brillion project engineer Jim Knuth brought in Metcast Blast Cleaning Technologies to join his planning efforts.

brillioninnosjun13“Our foundry is primarily a job shop, which requires flexibility when it comes to cleaning castings,” said Knuth. “When the opportunity arose to make this investment for shot blast equipment, we had an unbelievably tight time frame and very tight footprint with headroom constraints. We were also looking for someone to not only work with us, but partner with us to think outside the box of your typical shot blast designs. We needed a design that would minimize the complexity of our layout while improving the productivity and cleaning of our castings.”

Brillion produces everything from lightweight, intricate, thin-walled iron castings to highly cored, heavy-sectioned parts. The Metcast M-34s offered a flexible tumble blast design that can handle the company’s range of castings and configurations.

The machines include dual blast e-Wheels, improved abrasive control valves, abrasion-resistant steel bucket elevators, a magnetic separation system mounted on the floor, and cast manganese flight and link assemblies. These M-34s are designed to be much more rugged than traditional 34s, with heavier liner sections and load door as well as more access to the machine’s internal components, with larger access doors for maintenance personnel.

Other durable features of the standard M-34 include an abrasion-resistant lower hopper and screw trough, a 1-in. manganese roof plate and kick plate requiring no additional liners, and a severe duty mill. The air plenum includes an abrasion-resistant baffle plate exclusive to the M-Series. The M-34 has a shaft-mounted 3HP gear motor and high alloy, cast and flame-hardened drive sprockets and traction wheels for extended life. Flame hardened plow bolts average 55 Rc hardness for durability. With an improved top door and side seal arrangement, the machine is designed to retain the abrasive inside the blast.

“The Magnetic Separation System has definitely gotten our attention in the last four months. After 500 hours of operation, the blades show very minimal wear, and we expect to see over 1,000 hours in blade life,” said Knuth. “We attribute this to the design and improved functionality of this system as well as the new e-Wheel technology we installed. Our productivity has doubled, cutting blast cycle times by 50% when compared to our older 34 tumble blasts. The surface finish of our castings has improved as well.”

The M-34s are loaded and unloaded using a General Kinematics traveling feeder conveyor, and two-way unload conveyors feed three process conveyors for final grinding and inspection.

For further information, go to www.metcastservice.com.

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