Vol. 21
May Issue
Year 2020

Good Vibrations

in Vol. 21 - May Issue - Year 2020
The challenging period 2020-2030 for Surface Finishing



Orbital RWO.D.330-MF-AIR – With QF media in Vectorial version, it is possible to process parts with any degree of abrasive dosed in gel, then rinse and dry the parts with hot air

RoboTEP Wave Finishing Systems are totally enclosed in the cabin where the parts or the technologic trays can be loaded from two drawers, or from a storage device with laser-guided vehicles

A Softsiever RW3-sa-720-VDC (VibroDRY Cyclon model) during the separation and discharge of aluminium components hot molding – no water treatment nor drying required – reduced investment - cost-efficient

IntegrAM provides temperature reduction cells, with programmable temperature diagram, offering shortest timing from SLS unit to De-caking

The long period of about 75 years passed from the Second World War to the "third one", taking place against an invisible enemy called Corona Virus, has left no less than one doubt about how to manage the challenging period of the next ten years (not only in Surface Finishing).
Everybody has seen how easy it is to change all the priorities and disrupt every agenda and planning within a few days – the Covid-19 has determined a total change of priorities worldwide – and highlighted how weak the health service is, and how varied the feedback of the different Countries is to a so-terrifying pandemic.
However, another shadow is darkening the world perspective of the future five to ten years with the related effects between increase of the carbon footprint and climate changes.
Some people still look doubtfully at climate change, the melting of glaciers, the rising levels of the oceans and the alterations of the most classic events, such as the four seasons that no longer exist in Europe, such as rains turned into floods, landslides and avalanches, the fires of millions of hectares of land now frequent on several continents, and so on.
From many sides are coming huge questions about what our main industries and technological excellences are trying to offer as best possible solutions, like:
Is the electrification of cars the true solution to all the problems of mobility? What about trucks? What about airplanes? And boats?
Is hypodronics (hydroculture) the best way to solve the world hunger?
How to reduce the carbon footprint of a complete manufacturing cycle of any product and when? New Directives? New laws? New taxations/de-taxations? What the remedy?
A recent report from the World Economic Forum explains that today there are 150 million tons of plastic in the oceans, with an expectation for 2025 of 1 ton of plastic for every 3 tons of fish and, by 2050, the plastic will overcome the weight in fish.
Our globe is just one small planet. Most Countries and politicians hold different points of view – one example is the REACH directive, which is limiting in Europe the use of dangerous and/or hazardous substances, but what about other Countries?
The list of doubts, in other words, simple questions like the few posed above, is long and ultimately, there is always an interrogation point. What to do to dissolve all doubts and, above all, how, when and where to start to act to reduce the carbon footprint worldwide to avoid, in a different way, a drastic and irremediable situation as the one now occurring with the diffusion of the Corona Virus worldwide?
Many and more questions will arise every minute, every hour, every day, to the teams working to these kinds of challenging projects.
Doubts and uncertainties, between other things, do not go in the direction of good economic evaluations worldwide (as punctually demonstrated by the trend of international stock exchanges). So, to identify positive solutions for the health of the planet and its inhabitants, or for the reduction of the carbon footprint, two positive effects should be generated: 
one for the environment and the people 
another for the interconnected economy and markets worldwide.
Smart solutions in the direction of environmental safeguards would determine new production strategies, including innovative start-up and new products, investments, generating growing economy and industrial, agricultural, biological expanding realities.
Looking at the potential of its own technology and know-how, Rollwasch Italiana S.p.a. started its green challenge about 29 years ago in the springtime of 1991, converting its chemical compound-manufacturing program into a completely renewed program (called: "Europa Series") based on several hundred recipes, all of which have been re-formulated without major pollutants - anticipating, de facto, the REACH directive, born later on December 18th 2006.
That revolution was helpful at Rollwasch to sustain the most competitive offer then ever of water treatment plants, solving the problems starting from less-negative conditions than with the old-style formulated chemical compounds. This produced competitiveness, gave advantaging benefits to customers for many years, besides giving profitable returns for Rollwasch.
To remake its green soul, in 2010, Rollwasch traced its first ROADMAP 2030, based on the most eco-friendly solutions available at that time.
The sense of the Roadmap traced by Rollwasch was published on the Rollwasch web site starting from year 2010 until today – and later on in the Issue of 17 November 2016, it has been published as an editorial on page 52 on MFN Metal Finishing News.
The Roadmap traced by Rollwasch about ten years ago, after developing and perfecting further eco-friendly strategies, has been updated mid-2020, passing from the four original innovative programs to eight. This message will be advertised on the Rollwasch website soon.
After this preface about the critical situation worldwide, influenced from several factors like the pandemic, climate change and, last but not least, a negative economic reflection leaving many doubts about the future, in the context of this "good vibrations" editorial, let’s think about our expectations of the next ten years as "the challenging period from 2020-2030 for Surface Finishing".

The Surface Finishing Challenge from 2020 to 2030

According to the vision of Rollwasch, the period from 2020 to 2030 will be one of the most revolutionary and complex periods in the history of Mass Metal Finishing and of Surface Finishing in general.
One main challenge will be to offer a suitable environmentally friendly program based, on one hand, on equipment and systems and, on the other hand, on consumables with cost-effective, eco-friendly sustainability in the circular economy characteristics.
Rollwasch is working on this project, according to its Environment Sustainable Strategy, with a broad R&D program that started in 2007-2008, that was then formerly published in 2010.
From that date, Rollwasch has focused on the development of strong partnership or strategic alliances, mainly based on European Technologic Excellences, in several fields like:
Sand blasting, shot blasting, ultrasonic shot peening, Ultrasonic technologies, Additive Manufacturing, Microelectronic sensors, Robotic Integration, Robots manufacturing, Polymers manufacturing, Abrasives manufacturing, Vision Systems specialists, Injection Moulding specialists, Mould specialists, Metrology specialists and so on.
In parallel, Rollwasch has developed intensive cooperative partnerships and shared innovative projects with: 
Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI), AFIL - Associazione Fabbrica Intelligente Lombardia (IT), ATC Additive technology Center (IT), Open Innovation Lombardia (IT), Lombardia Aerospace Cluster (IT), Cetim of Saint Etienne (FR), Cetim of Cluses (FR), Enise of Saint Etienne (FR), HALL32 of Clermont Ferrand (FR), some R&D labs of Leading Companies in the Aerospace & Power (under NDA), and many more.
The period 2010-2020 has therefore produced a solid basis on which to expand further.
Coming back to the R.E.S.S., composed of eight fundaments, it is interesting to understand something more of each one, for example:
What kind of technology it is
What advantages it offers mainly
Why it has to be considered "eco friendly" and sustainable
Why it is cost-effective or competitive 
Accordingly, let’s explore the R.E.S.S. starting from one of its strongest fundamentals, the Quattrofinish Media, or simply: QF media.

Quattrofinish – the sustainable QF media!

QF media is a quite recent innovation in the niche environment of abrasives for Mass Metal Finishing. Everybody knows the plastic and ceramic abrasive media, having been available on the market from the sixties and having been the basic elements of hundreds of different kinds of finishing process.
The abrasive ceramic media are produced by mixing up water to clay and abrasives (typically aluminium oxide or corundum).  They result from a wet mixing, producing a solid element destined to extrusion in several kinds of shapes and sizes.  The extruded elements are then dried in a drier (to remove water excess), then cooked in a kiln at very high temperatures.  Their lifetime, according to the Rollwasch Iso-9001 Quality Check directives, is in the average of 9% to 12% every 24 hours in a small vibratory finishing unit of 100 liters, with constant quantity of water.
The abrasive plastic media are produced by mixing up liquid polyester resins and abrasives (typically silica).  They result from a mixing, adding styrene to modulate the density, producing a thermosetting element destined to gravity casting into molds in order to produce several kinds of shapes and sizes.  The molded elements are then sintered in ovens at medium – high temperatures.  Their lifetime, according to the Rollwasch Iso-9001 Quality Check directives, is in the average of 5% to 15% every 24 hours in a small vibratory finishing unit of 100 liters, with constant quantity of water.
QF media is a family of special plastic media (patent pending – I) produced by injection moulding, with machines from 150 to 300 tons pressure and suitable moulds. They are available in several shapes and sizes like the plastic and ceramic media, and can be of four (Quattro) types:
Extension C – with finishing action very similar to ceramic media – for wet process;
Extension P – with finishing action very similar to plastic media  –  for wet process;
Extension V – with finishing action non-abrasive - vectorial media – for wet process;
Extension L – with dry finishing processes, like ViboDRY, or VibroBLAST;
According to the Rollwasch Iso-9001 Quality Check directives, it is in the average of 0,5% to 1% every 24 hours in a small vibratory finishing unit of 100 liters, with constant quantity of water.  Something less for the dry finishing types.
As a conclusion, the big advantages of the QF media are:
The lifetime, most of the times relevant up to 10 – 20 times longer than for any normal ceramic or plastic media (porcelain excluded from this comparation)
The resilience – which allows incomparable performances in two directions:
Grip on the surface, specially starting from 24-25°C or up
Absence of "chipping", typical of the ceramic media and dangerous on the blind holes
The cost-efficiency due to favourable ratio unit price – lifetime, that in average applications may reduce processing costs by 40% to 60% respective to the use of common plastic or ceramic media
The versatility, being able to substitute in many cases the classic existing media in wet processes or to innovate with dry-mode processes
The QF media known until now, are only one face of the coin.  Infact Rollwasch has invested important resources to produce a "second generation" of QF media starting from 2020, with extraordinary performances from the point of view of abrasiveness and completing the scenario of available sizes and shapes with new ones.

Wave finishing – Eco-friendly Robotic finishing!

Wave finishing is a robotic aided finishing process working in 100% dry mode.  This family of systems is offered in the Multichannel version (patent pending - I) with two (or more) concentric rotary channels, having one different media each one.
The wav- finishing principles are based on machines already proposed on the market in the seventies by Rollwasch, but with mechanical arms to hold the parts plunged into the media under centrifugation in a single channel rotary tank and in wet mode.
The evolution of suitable media, chemical compounds and the idea of multichannel design has made it possible to offer the modern industry a very efficient process with top levels of automation thanks to the robotic integration with eco-friendly finishing media that allow dry-mode finishing processes to operate in full silence (less than 70 DbA).

VibroDRY – Eco-friendly vibratory finishing!

Vibrodry is one of the most trendy finishing process which sales have boosted starting from the year 2015, in which for the first time the Rollwasch sales of dry-finishing systems has been of almost the same volume of the wet ones.

IntegrAM – Eco-friendly Post 
Process for AM / 3D print!

IntegrAM is the acronym for Integrated Post Processing and Finishing Technology for AM. This is more than a simple program of machines and products specifically designed for the 3D print and Additive Manufacturing.  IntegrAM is a true specialistic division of Rollwasch that operates with a dedicated staff to support the engineering of tailor-made solutions resulting from a cross-disciplinary approach, strong in innovative proprietary technologies combined with multi-tasking partnership with valuable specialists.
The IntegrAM program offers solutions both for the Polymers AM, or for the Metals AM, with regards to many aspects of the Post Process and Finishing, always winking at the sustainability and eco-compatibility of the solutions offered.

Automatic De-Caking, powder selection/recovery and VibroBLASTING

The new generation machines range VibroBLAST-DCK (patent pending – I) are able to assure De-caking, Powder selection / Recovery and finishing with the innovative VibroBLAST technology in one single – multi-tasking fully automatic piece of equipment.

Temperature reduction cells TRC

This new generation of temperature reduction cells was born from the need of customers managing multiple build-plates produced per day, to proceed with their de-caking within the same day and avoid lengthy time waiting for natural cooling down of the cakes that, on average, can reach up to 140 °C in their core.

VibroBLASTING followed by Ultrasonic Shot Peening

The new generation of finishing systems combining the VibroBLAST technology (patent pending – I) with the ULTRASONIC SHOT-PEENING (patent pending - EU) are able to assure increasing fatigue strength with a technology 100% operating in dry mode, eco-friendly and able to maintain reduced rugosity levels on the AM components.
Rollwasch has started a network of excellence with Leading Actors of the Aerospace field, where several trials have demonstrated very positive results by the cross-disciplinary approach of Rollwasch and its valuable technological Partners, contributing to the design of joint-technology or integrated finishing systems. 
Important support has been given from Non-Destructive trial reports, from which there is evidence of the improvements achieved with the finishing both of SLM components made with vertical growth or with components with growth at 45° angle, therefore with much higher initial rugosity.
Extraordinarily, the texturing capacity of the VibroBLAST process in one example, arrives at RA 4,0 µm with the contribution of QF media, whilst re-blasting the same sample by hand with same blasting media and same pressure, the surface rugosity comes back to RA 5,2 µm. – This highlights the finest texturization capacity of the VibroBLAST process compared with the classic blasting process.

New generation of DragBLASTING machines

The fruits of the partnership of Rollwasch with leading specialists of sand-blasting and shot-blasting technology is showing very interesting potential, where many exclusive options, like the patent pending Carving Finish technology (patent pending – I), can be applied to complex components difficult to reach in all their areas.

Eco-friendly Microfluid finishing process

The automation level achievable with the second-generation Microfluid finishing machines, combined with the well-known eco-friendly level of this technology, is able to satisfy the most difficult requirements of Leading Industries in aerospace, power, medical, automotive, textile, luxury and many other modern fields.

HPM – DRY Technology, nearest to the environment!

High Performance Media are one of the alternative kinds of consumables designed and manufactured by Rollwasch to assure dry-finishing processes to future generations.  The year 2020 is a year of evolution of the HPM program, born less than ten years ago, which is now expanding with new formulations, shapes and sizes.
The technology offered by the use of HPM media, with Dry Finishing Rollwasch Systems, increasingly assures the saving of water in a scenario where this natural resource will be less and less available.
In conclusion, The Roadmap traced by Rollwasch about ten years ago, in mid-2020 is now offering a way to "think differently" and approach the future 10 years of planning with positive arguments and sustainability.

Author: Paolo Redaelli
Good Vibrations
by Paolo Redaelli
Contributing Editor MFN and Rollwasch® Italiana S.p.a.
Tel. +39.0362.930 334
Fax +39.0362.931 440
E-mail: paolo@mfn.li