Vol. 7
May Issue
Year 2006

Cover Page

in Vol. 7 - May Issue - Year 2006
Creative Air-Blast Solutions

This special cabinet cleans laminating adhesive from 40 foot long helicopter rotor blades. To accommodate available floor space, the cabinet is mounted on a track and travels the length of the part, reducing floor requirement from 80 feet to 45 feet.

This cabinet was designed to strip coatings from aircraft wheels to allow inspection for stress. The cabinet has twin joy-stick controls to manipulate both the wheel and the blast nozzles. Operator interface ensures complete cleaning of wheels with non-uniformly-applied coatings.

Special belt-conveyor machine blasts both sides of steel plates in a single pass. Machine is used to impart texture on plates for laminate manufacturing.

This portable machine was designed for shot peening landing gear components in place using a Baiker rotating nozzle, saving the customer considerable expense.

For decades, the driving force behind Clemco Industries Corp.’s marketing efforts has been finding creative solutions for its customers, particularly in the area of automation. Clemco engages in dialogue with its customers for the purpose of detailing their unique customization requirements. ZERO automation provides quality solutions for an array of cleaning, peening, and finishing problems to help customers save money, improve processes, comply with environmental restrictions, and provide a safe work place for their employees.

Clemco Industries Corp. has been directly involved in air blasting since the company’s inception in the 1940s.  The origin of the company derives from the Clementina Company, which was formed in 1941 in San Francisco, California.  A contractors’ equipment rental firm, Clementina was named for Clementina Street, the site of its original location.  The Clementina Company saw a market need, and developed innovative products as creative solutions to helping contractors improve process efficiencies and worker safety.
Those two objectives became the hallmarks of the business the owners and managers of Clemco built. While remaining true to its original objectives, the company that Clemco is today is quite far removed from its original form.  Today’s organization represents the culmination of many factors, including important people, developments, and acquisitions.  One such development was the formation of Aerolyte Systems in the 1980s to address the needs of the aviation and aerospace industries.  For these industries, Aerolyte products were developed for removing coatings from aircraft without the use of hazardous chemicals.  In the interests of worker safety, environmental protection, and cost reduction, blasting became an acceptable and economical alternative to chemical stripping. Also in the 1980s, Clemco made an important acquisition.  The ZERO Manufacturing Company of Washington, Missouri, an important player in industrial cleaning, finishing, and shot peening businesses was welcomed into the Clemco family of organizations.  ZERO’s capabilities in the area of blasting derived from its creative application of its manufacturing technologies to devise solutions for its stainless steel finishing problems. A simple manual blast cabinet built for in-house use became the springboard for ZERO to grow a dynamic surface finishing equipment business.
The combination of the varied competencies of these three entities has resulted in a single firm highly qualified in all aspects of air blasting.  From contractor products for construction and structural maintenance, to specialty blasting products for delicate substrates, to manual and automated industrial cabinets as well as full installations, blasting has proven itself an adaptive technology.  Clemco’s capabilities further expand to meet customer needs when combined with work handling equipment, robotics, and electronic controls among other technologies that improve worker safety and production efficiencies.
Further, Clemco has been highly successful in replicating these core strengths in the global marketplace through the operations of Clemco International Inc. in Germany, Denmark, Spain, England, Hungary and Singapore. Clemco has had a worldwide presence since the 1950’s, providing the same customer-focused solutions engrained in the company’s genetic makeup by our founders. In cooperation with our highly skilled, and  knowledgeable, international team, and through a determined and unwavering strategy of information sharing and technology transfer, Clemco has proliferated its blasting and surface finishing expertise to virtually every corner of the world.

Aviation solutions

In-place shot peening
Warner Robins Air Logistics Center’s C-5 Maintenance Directorate at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia performs programmed depot maintenance (PDM) and modifications for the Active and Air Reserve components’ fleet of C-5 cargo aircraft. They were experiencing problems with aircraft’s main landing gear attachment point. The weight of the aircraft and the stress of repeated landings, cause the landing gear pivot point to become misshapen, necessitating machining and shot peening.  Because this component is not removable, the work must be completed in-situ in the maintenance hangar.  The ZERO solution was to design a portable shot peening system. The system would allow repair technicians to roll the machine into place adjacent to the aircraft.  They would then jack up the small shot peening enclosure, automatically enclose the area to be peened, probe the pivot point with a Baiker plug-and-play rotary lance, and automatically shot peen the newly machined area of the landing gear attachment point.  This maintenance solution dramatically reduced costs associated with a complete replacement of the landing gear component.

Automated plastic media wheel blasting
The American Airlines Tulsa Maintenance & Engineering Base is the headquarters for the airline’s maintenance and engineering worldwide. It is the largest of the airline’s overhaul bases, and the world’s largest maintenance facility. Maintenance work at the Tulsa base is done on American’s fleet of MD-80, Boeing 757 and Airbus A300 aircraft. Overhaul work also is conducted on the Pratt and Whitney JT-8 and GE CF6-80 engines. The base also is home to a wheel and brake overhaul facility and composite repair center. American Airlines needed to remove coatings from its aircraft wheels to inspect them for cracks and indications of fatigue.  Because the coatings are not uniformly applied, the process could not be fully automated.  The creative solution was to include an operator interface for the purpose of visual inspection to ensure complete coating removal.  To speed the process, the Aerolyte cabinet was designed with joy-stick controls with five axes of motion for access to the wheels from all angles.  This system enables American Airlines to clean a complete aircraft wheel half in a single process.  The wheel is placed in a universal fixture that allows three axes of joy-stick motion to rotate the wheel and five axes of motion to control the blast nozzles.  The machine controls were designed to include an option for automating the process through implementation of teach-pendant capabilities. The machines, in operation for more than a decade, have been contributing to American’s efficient overhaul processes.

Blasting helicopter blades
Bell Helicopter, a Textron Company, wanted to blast 40-foot long parts.  The problem was that they did not have sufficient floor space in their existing factory to accommodate a typical pass-through style machine, requiring a conveyor system longer than 80 feet.  The ZERO solution for their application was to design an automated blasting system, which placed the part between two holding fixtures.  The complete cabinet system, including the media reclamation equipment and dust collection traveled along the 40-foot length of the part.  Rather than move the part through the blast cabinet, moving the cabinet and its components along the part required only 45 feet of floor space for the entire operation.

General industry manufacturing solutions

Manufacturing benefits from blasting processes
A world-leading producer of decorative surfacing products was looking for a method of reducing labor and materials in the manufacture of its laminate products.  High pressure decorative laminate (HPDL) is made by saturating sheets of decorative and core paper with resins, then pressing them under high heat, fusing the layers into a single sheet. The manufacturer desired a textured surface on the laminate.  At the time, they were manually applying a type of aluminum foil to the steel plates used to form the laminate product and achieve the desired texture.  Following extensive sample processing, working closely with the customer every step of the way, the ZERO solution was a horizontal belt conveyor designed to blast both sides of the steel plates in a single pass.  It was determined that blasting within tightly-controlled parameters could achieve the finish the customer required. The machine offered an extremely economical alternative to the manual foil-application process and paid for itself in a few short months.

A leading provider of equipment and analytical support to the semiconductor industry needed to blast parts in multiple operations.  The company operates state-of-the-art facilities for performing analytical testing and developing new methods for precision cleaning. Their production volume is low, and their budget limited. However, they still had a requirement for the precision and repeatability of automation.  Working with our local distributor, Clemco creatively designed a stand-alone, portable, horizontal nozzle manipulator that could be wheeled into place and attached to different cabinets as production requirements dictate.  To conserve resources, a single mobile unit provides the flexibility needed. 


Today, Clemco enjoys a well-earned reputation for manufacturing quality equipment; but Clemco’s focus is always on providing solutions to its customers’ surface finishing problems.  In partnership with our distributors, we maintain a mindset that puts the needs of the customer first, emphasizing quality, flexibility and creativity.

For information:
Clemco Industries Corp.
Washington, MO 63090 USA
Tel: +1.636.239 0300, Fax: +1.636.239 0788
E-mail: info@clemcoindustries.com