Vol. 5
March Issue
Year 2004


in Vol. 5 - March Issue - Year 2004
A Fully Automated System - Combined Technologies for Improved Productivity

Heating Elements received Vibratory Finishing Treatment

Spaleck Spiral Machine DL1000

Unload Section Spaleck Spiral DL1000

Both pictures show a view into the washing and air flow area of the Zippel washing machine

Storage Turntable and Pneumatic Handling System

 In the Spotlight

Spaleck Oberflächentechnik, is a leading specialist in surface finishing, and can look back on 80 years experience in surface finishing. In addition to providing vibratory and centrifugal finishing machines, the German company has developed new and combined treatment technologies, and specializes in offering complete system engineering, optimized for productivity and cost saving.

The task was not simple. A requirement for continuous production of extremely sensitive parts requiring surface finishing and cleaning, without part on part contact. The parts have to be sorted according to their curvature, and must be absolutely free of any residue after treatment. To solve this problem the Dutch enamelling manufacturer Ferro Techniek turned to Spaleck Oberflachentechnik, who integrated their knowledge of surface finishing technology with partner companies Zippel (cleaning systems), Festo (automation technology) and Ferro itself in the overall concept. The result: Greatly improved productivity and efficiency at Ferro.

Ferro Techniek in Gaanderen is a highly specialised Dutch vitreous enamelling company. As a technology-based, market driven company it provides industrial firms with products that are  balanced in design, price and performance.  The core activities of Ferro are colour enamelling, pan supports and burner caps, heat exchanger parts and thick-film heating elements.
In 2003 the General Manager at Ferro, Mr. Kaastra, decided to focus on the manufacturing of the core products – heating elements. These elements are used in different electrical kitchen equipment like water cookers, coffee makers and other professional kitchen equipment.
As those parts are manufactured by stamping technology, the process will leave sharp edges on those plates. Not only should the sharp edges be taken off but the parts had to be very smooth and clean after the deburring process. 
Earlier trials at a job shop centre had not shown the desired result of a fine and clean surface. Spaleck was chosen to find a new solution with Ferro.  Part of the solution should be a continuous process, starting with stamping, through deburring, surface preparation and cleaning, to storage into a magazine, ready for enamelling.
Such a continuous process was chosen for the following reasons:
The continuous process would allow a production rate of 1 part every 3 seconds, without part on part damage.  The process steps of stamping, deburring, and cleaning can be combined and automated so that manual labour is not involved.   The DL1000 was the machine to fulfil the flow-through production of 1 part every 3 seconds.

Due to its spiral design the machine has a channel length of 18 meters and a 15-minute treatment time. The whole machine requires less than 7 square meters of floor area. The deburring is done by the abrasive media, which is  made out of ceramic with an angular cut cylinder. A special compound, a cleaning and degressing agent supports the process. At the end of the treatment though, the separating zone separates the parts from the media, feeding the parts onto a conveyor belt and returning the media back to the lowest spiral of the DL1000. Leaving the conveyor belt, the parts will reach a storage turntable. 
From this turntable, a pneumatically and electrically controlled handling system will pick them up part by part and release them into the washing machine.  The handling system also measures and takes care of the correct positioning of the heating elements. The correct position during the washing process ensures the parts are collected in the same position after washing, guaranteeing a trouble-free process in the enamelling machine.
The washing machine ZD 5000 is manufactured by Zippel.  Zippel and Spaleck have been involved in many projects together. Within the washing machine the parts are rinsed with hot water (50°C).  There are 3 cleaning rinsing stages, the next stage is a pre-drying stage, operated by air flow. Infrared drying is the last step to assure spotless products.  Temperature of the parts at this stage:  70° C.
A conveyor belt takes the parts from the Zippel machine to a storage container, where the parts are kept until they are transported to the enamelling unit.
Therefore Ferro reuses as much process liquid as possible. An inner circuit has been installed inside the Zippel washer ZD 5000. That means the liquid flows from one quality stage to the next lower one, and then from the washing machine further upstream to the vibratory finisher DL1000. Here the quality of the liquid is still good enough to be used during the deburring process.  But this is not the last step using this liquid.
The Dutch company collects the waste water in a deposit tank and from there it is used for cooling purposes in other production units. This way Ferro keeps water consumption low and reduces costs effectively.
In the long term Ferro has not only reduced its production costs, but has also improved its production capacity and quality.

Author: Mathieu Geuting
For Information:
Spaleck Oberflächentechnik GmbH & Co. KG
Schlavenhorst 117
46395 Bocholt, Germany
Tel.  +49.2871.9500 0
Fax +49.2871.9500 95
E-mail: info@spaleck.biz