Astech Ups Productivity With Wheelabrator’s MaxMesh

Mon October 12, 2009 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Wheelabrator MaxMesh wire belt system, ideally used within fabrication industry.
Wheelabrator MaxMesh wire belt system, ideally used within fabrication industry.

Astech Underground, based in Loudon, Tenn., builds Astech brand utility trenchers, vibratory plows and horizontal directional drilling machines, Trencor brand trenchers and American Augers brand boring machines and drilling equipment. To prepare surfaces including edges of laser cut sheets and plates for coating, Astech Underground purchased a Wheelabrator MaxMesh wire mesh belt machine.

With a 60-in. (152 cm) wide work envelope, this machine is suitable for processing individual wide pieces or multiple smaller pieces spread across the manganese mesh belt at a typical conveyor speed of 4 to 6 linear FPM (1.2 to 1.8 mpm). The machine is suitable for processing flat and low profile formed pieces made of sheet metal or heavy steel plate prior to forming, bending, fabricating and coating. These piece parts become housings and related components for the trenchers and other earth moving equipment.

The operator places the work pieces on a load table with powered belt that automatically transfers them onto the mesh belt conveyor. As the parts pass through the blast zone, they are exposed to high velocity steel shot from four Wheelabrator Autoblast wheel units. Mill scale, rust and laser oxides are removed. Shot blasting also establishes the surface profile needed for improved coating performance.

Leaving the blast zone, the work passes through an automatic shot removal compartment where air from a high pressure blower is directed through multiple air cannons. This economical operation requires no plant compressed air. From the blow-off compartment, the work pieces exit the cabinet and transfer off the mesh belt onto an unload belt conveyor. A Wheelabrator designed and manufactured Model JPSM cartridge filter dust collector ventilates the blast cabinet, air wash separator, elevator and blow-off compartment.

Tim Smith, project engineer, stated, “We have been very pleased with both the dependability and operation of this blast machine. The simple design allows for trouble free operation with minimal down time. The design allows for flexibility in the parts we process, which was critical in our operation.”

The Wheelabrator 60-in. wide MaxMesh machine is available with four 25 hp (18.6 kW) or eight 15 hp (11 kW) Autoblast blast wheels. The normal conveyor speed range is 3 to 12 ft. (.9 to 3.6 mpm) per minute. Custom machine arrangements are available when faster cleaning rates are required. The Wheelabrator MaxMesh line includes machines sized to blast clean a wide range of work, from plate burn-outs to fabrications, forgings, die castings and iron castings.

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