Cover Page

in Vol. 19 - September Issue - Year 2018
Embracing a Digital Future

Defining optimal positioning of the work piece within the work cell configuration with virtual engineering technology is achieved rapidly with realtime visualization and validation

Virtual model or digital twin of a 13 axis robotic blast system

Physical grit-blast asset

IoT enabled Empire blast machine with an ethernet connect HMI

The Internet of Things is disrupting the way every business operates. Today, the age of half of the world’s data is less than one year. McKinsey predicts by 2020, fifty billion devices are projected to be connected, and digitalization is expected to account for 25% of the world’s economy. Digitalization of machine tools and the factory floor commonly referred to as "Industry 4.0" or the "Smart Factory" is changing everything in manufacturing and continues to transform how OEM machine builders invent and design systems, integrate safety, and provide service.

Empire Abrasive Equipment Company in Pennsylvania, USA is ensuring it plays a prominent role in the next industrial revolution by embracing their digital future. Peening equipment has long been built with enhanced controls, checks and measures with the sole purpose of conforming to peening specifications. These process control packages for shot peening were primarily in place for quality assurance and not customarily used to optimize operations.  Enabling grit-blasting and shot peening production assets to support the Internet of Things (IoT) with sensors to control and monitor motion, predict and prevent machine failures, and reduce the cost of operation, is changing everything.

Beginning with a Digital Prototype

Every system design begins with rationalizing the task-space required to perform all operations. Computer-aided engineering and virtual engineering technology bring together three-dimensional modeling and part processing simulation. It gives Empire’s engineers the ability to visualize the task-space required for all motion. 
An automated blast machine is typically defined by the following components:
Blast Enclosure (also referred to as the blast cabinet or blast compartment)
Blast Media Delivery System (such as blast wheels, blast nozzles and related accessories; pressure vessels, media make-up hoppers, and related accessories)
Blast Media Reclaim and Recovery System
Part Manipulation or Nozzle Manipulation
Ventilation and Dust Collection
Work Parts (complete Range)
Part Fixturing

The use of Digital Twins for Process Innovation and Optimization

The concept of a digital twin is not new. Traditionally, Empire’s design engineers used digital twins to create virtual models to optimize multiple parameters simultaneously. The digital twin has always existed as a 3D vision of what the machine should be before its physical equivalent is manufactured. IoT enabling the physical blast or shot peening system with sensors makes it possible to collect data from machines deployed in the field. This data is captured and applied to the digital twin for continuos performance throughout the machine’s life cycle. Digital twins are the key to making quantum leaps in innovation.

The Internet of Things for
Predicative Maintenance

Connecting IoT enabled blast equipment to the internet offers tremendous potential benefits from the technology within for manufactures. It’s a break through that will benefit everyone, from the OEM blast-machine builder to the end-user.

Leveraging the data blast that machines create to support predictive analytics has profound positive implications for media-blast and shot peening sectors.  Some of the noteworthy advantages that come along with digitally enabling air-blast and shot peening equipment include:
• Predicting and Preventing Hardware Failures and Eliminating Downtime
• Optimizing Maintenance Routines and Resources
• Extending the Service Life of the Machines
• Improving Worker Safety
• Streamlining Inventory Management
• Remote Monitoring & Diagnostics


Responding aggresivelyaggressively to the current digital opportunity with a full commitment, Empire is changing the blast-machine and shot-peening landscape by digitally transforming their air-blast and shot peening systems and unlocking enormous value for the end-user. Manufacturing generates more raw data than any other sector of the economy, and the ways decision makers and organizations are using this information is changing. Many large manufacturers are now using data analytics to optimize factory operations, boost equipment utilization, and improve product quality. While the digital transformation of the $10-trillion-plus global manufacturing sector evolves over the coming years, early adopters such as Empire are moving to drive top-line and bottom-line growth for both the OEM machine builder and the end-user, in the near term.

For Information:
Empire Abrasive Equipment
2101 W. Cabot Blvd.
Langhorne, PA 19047-1893, USA
Tel. +1.215.752 8800, Fax +1.215.752 9373
E-mail: snangle@empire-airblast.com
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