Higher productivity and operational efficiency with “RetroFit”

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Better performance and higher equipment uptimes with significant reduced operating costs, all that combine Rutten Long Life blast turbines.

The companies must strive for further optimization of their manufacturing operations, to stay competitive in todayŽs global markets. RöslerŽs retrofitting with Rutten Long Life blast turbines will significantly improve the cost efficiency of virtually any shot blast operation. These patented high performance turbines yield energy savings of over 25%, due to their unique design. Contemporaneous, the service life of the throwing blades of 30,000 up to 40,000 hours results in essential higher equipment uptimes and dramatic reduced costs for maintenance and spare parts. To increase the productivity and efficiency of shot blast operations, the Swedish steel producer has taken advantage of the Rösler RetroFit program.
Surface treatment machines are usually subject to a certain wear rate. This is mostly true for shot blast equipment running in multiple shifts often resulting in long equipment down times with a significant minus of production and operating costs. Another necessary cost factor is the usually very high energy consumption of these machines.  A systematic equipment modernization will not only provide state-of-the art technology in many cases, but will also greatly improve the overall cost efficiency.  The Rösler OberflĂ€chentechnik GmbH has created, within the scope of its “TuneUp” program, a service organization that deals exclusively with the optimization and technical overhaul of existing shot blast machinery – irrespective of make or model. These retrofitting program of blast machines includes also the modernization with Rutten Long Life turbines for which Rösler is not only holding the respective patents, but is also the manufacturer and exclusive supplier of spare and wear parts. These highly unique high performance turbines are offered with Curved-C and Gamma-Y throwing blades.  The latter have two working surfaces arranged in a “Y” shape that allows shot blasting in both rotational directions of the turbine.

Reduction of turbines down times by 90% and spare part costs by 50%
One of the worldŽs leading suppliers of high strength steel, the Swedish SSAB AB, decided to modernize the shot blast equipment at its SSAB EMEA plant in Oxelösund. In 2012 the production of the company amounted to about 5.5 Mio metric tons of crude steel. The Swedish plant is considered to be one the most well-known producers of tempered steel in the world.
Production line 2 manufactures mainly wear resistant Hardox steel plates and sheets.  Preferential to tempering the raw material must undergo a blast cleaning process for which the line is equipped with two shot blast systems. Two further are integrated into the painting line. Five maintenance & repair teams working seven days per week round the clock to guarantee that the line runs smoothly with a minimum of down time. Kent Forslund, who as maintenance manager of production line 2 is responsible for the workflow of maintenance work and the cost efficiency of the equipment, explains: “With all of our four blast machines from three different suppliers the original blast turbines were generally wearing very fast.  This required a lot of maintenance work, which frequently resulted in long equipment down times and very high spare part costs. In addition, it could happen that a blast turbine completely disintegrated causing damage to the other blast turbines and the blast chamber. For this reason, we have equipped all our shot blast machines with Long Life Rutten blast turbines”.

On all four shot blast machines the original 32 blast turbines at SSAB EMEA were replaced with Rutten Long Life blast turbines, each with an installed power of 22 kW. The determination for this important RetroFit program with Gamma-Y high performance blast turbines was established on their excellent operational characteristics. This contains the extremely long service life of the throwing blades easily reaching 30,000 to 40,000 blast hours, before having to be replaced. The throwing blades in general blast turbines have an expected life of on average 2.000 hours. The maintenance manager continues: “The wear rate on the Rutten turbines is extremely low so that the overall maintenance work and the maintenance related down times could be drastically reduced. In addition, our overall spare part costs were reduced by about 50%”. In completion, the Rutten turbines also contribute to a much higher productivity: the particular design of the patented throwing blades guarantees a highly “fluid” movement of the blast media. This, in combination with an optimized blast media transfer onto the blades, produces a much higher media flow rate and throwing speed compared to the usual blast turbines operating at the same RPM®s and with identical turbine diameters. The overall effect is a greatly improved finish of the blasted surfaces resulting in shorter processing times and lower media consumption. Kent Forslund proudly summarizes his experience: “I think that by retrofitting our blast machines with Rutten Long Life turbines we have reduced the down times of our shot blast equipment by 90%.”

Quick amortization
At SSAB EMEA the RetroFit program has significantly contributed to considerable cost savings and optimization of the overall production process. The Rösler TuneUP team determines, based on the individual shot blast equipment configuration at the customer, which Long Life blast turbines are most suitable for achieving the customersÂŽ specified shot blast results, and which cost savings and amortization times can be achieved with the RetroFit program, Rösler will re-mount the original blast turbines free-of-charge within the specified time period and return the full purchase price for the Long Life blast turbines. The exchange of the original turbines with Rutten Long Life turbines needs an investment amounting to about 30-35% of the costs for the new shot blast machine. This investment is amortized in two to three years by drastically reduced costs for energy, maintenance and spare, much lower equipment down times, by considerably lower blast media consumption. Certainly, once a customer needs to replace the old shot blast machine, the new machine can be appareled with the existing Long Life Turbines. Retrofitting an existing shot blast machine with Long Life turbines greatly enhances this machineÂŽs operational efficiency and is in various issues a cost effective alternative to purchasing a brand new blast machine. Customers should also regard if the performance of an existing shot blast system could be improved with additional peripheral equipment, or if the equipment uptime could be greatly increased by the installation of optimized wear protection packages in critical wear areas.