Latest from Issues and Ideas

Noise and Maintenance Decrease, Throughput Increases

July 10, 2006
with new cleaning wheels; also, media drum skips initial step

John Deere Foundry in Waterloo, IA already had installed two Wheelabrator Ezefit wheels on a 70-ft. Tumblast machine, with successful results. Based on the results of the first two, the foundry installed 16 more such wheels on two monorail machines.

The first of the two monorail machines is a heavy-core knock-out machine with six wheels. The second is a primary machine with 10 wheels. Every part produced at John Deere in Waterloo passes through both monorail machines for final cleaning.

Ezefit wheels offer bi-directional rotation — clockwise or counterclockwise — with a single wheel style. The accompanying direct-drive design offers standard or custom base mounting for increased versatility.

The Ezefit wheels also feature the new standard TargetLok control cage positioning, ensuring consistent blast pattern targeting no matter how many times the tune-up kits are changed.

TargetTrak — a blast pattern adjustment — is another feature that allows remote control of blast pattern targeting from the control panel for a more efficient blast.

The new Ezefit wheels are designed to operate with reduced noise levels, and consequently will reduce maintenance costs. "The wheels are cleaning the castings better than the old wheels did," said an engineer at John Deere. "Now we aren’t running castings back through two or three times. We are very happy with the installation and the production cleaning." Workers are happy with the noise reduction, maintenance ease, and the increase in production.

Rotary Media Drum Skips Initial Shot Blast Step, Solves a Series of Problems

Robar Industries in Surrey, BC, is a foundry that produces gray, ductile, steel, brass, and bronze castings. The handling of hot and sandy castings were just the top of a list of small problems the foundry faced.

In addition, returns in the cleaning department and sand carryover into the shot blast equipment caused a constant bottleneck, increasing the foundry’s overall operating expenses. To add to the problems, high maintenance levels for the shakeout and blast cleaning equipment added to a dusty, noisy workplace. There also was a dilemma over how to handle hot return sand.

Robar added a new Didion Mark 5 rotary media drum, improving its operation with automatic green sand molding. The Mark 5 has improved plant efficiency, thoroughly cleaning the castings and returns. The sand remains in the sand system and out of the cleaning room. Airborne silica dust from high-volume shakeout and blast maintenance has all but disappeared, as has the noise of those processes. Hot sand is handled correctly and efficiently, too.

By combining shakeout, sand screening, casting cooling, and cleaning, production costs have been reduced. In fact,

Robar has been able to eliminate the first step — initial shot blast — and no longer blasts the gates, runners, and sprue. Sand is cooler now, fully conditioned, and screened twice, lowering sand-related scrap costs.