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Casting Finishing Operation Takes on Surface Treatment

June 3, 2024
A casting impregnation operation imported a novel table-blast system in order to achieve the finished quality its automotive supplier requires.

Among the casting finishing steps that have grown in importance during the past decade has been impregnation – sealing porosity and leak paths in parts destined for use in high-pressure or fluid-tight applications. Baron Industries, Madison Heights, MI, is a provider of impregnation services for metalcastings, powder metal parts, and electronic components. Its customers are automotive manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as manufacturers of construction and agriculture machinery, military and defense systems, aerospace systems, marine programs, plumbing, alternative energy and general industry.

In 2020, Baron Industries acquired a Sinto America Inc. SNTX-III table blast machine in order to fulfill the requirements of a transplant automotive manufacturer that planned to transition some production to North America and sought to duplicate the production process as nearly as possible.

The SNTX table blast system has a two-wheel design, which provides superior coverage of parts during the blasting process. The novel, three-position turntable indexes to the front, center, and rear of the blast pattern to provide varying blast projection angles during the blasting sequence. This feature significantly reduces the need to reposition parts midway through the blast cycle and, according to the developer, improves the surface cleaning operation overall.

It was Baron’s customer that alerted the service provider of the particular shot-blasting requirement, identifying the Sinto system capable of delivering the result. Once Sinto confirmed that SNTX table blast system could be manufactured and supported in the U.S. market, Baron booked the order.

Baron is using the machine to treat powder-metal parts after the impregnation sealing is completed, to retain consistency with the surface quality of the parts provided to the customer from its source in Japan. Shot blasting effectively removes any surface imperfections that may result after the sealing process.

Before the SNTX-III was installed and started in November 2022, Baron did not have shot-blasting capability – and adding that capacity allowed it to secure the current business and properly support their customer’s production schedule because it did not then need to outsource the surface-finishing step.

Kevin Roslinski, Baron industries director of development, said the SNTX-III “has been durable and reliable.

“The operation and programming is simple and straightforward, so we have been able to train a dozen or more operators to run this particular machine. The technical support has made it easy for us to continue to operate without any significant down time.

“This positive experience will make taking on new and different processes into our service centers in the future an easier decision going forward, especially if focused around shot blasting,” Roslinski noted.

Over 18 months of operation, Baron reported it has had no performance or reliability issues with the table blast unit. The machine is performing as expected – and thereby keeping the delivery schedule on track and minimizing unplanned scrap. Not having to adjust or modify equipment once it’s installed and operating is an advantage that Baron Industries has recognized.

“While we knew this model was suitable for the application in terms of production capacity, the use of high-hardness grit did cause some concern due to the higher than normal part wear associated with HG products,” according to Sinto Surface Treatment vice president Charlie Gorman. “The fact that maintenance has been manageable is a testament that this equipment can handle the most difficult and aggressive applications.”