in Vol. 13 - January Issue - Year 2012
High-Tech robotic and automated processing on the Surface Treatment Technologies for more than 45 years
Bojan Crtalic, General Manager and international lecturer for surface treatment technologies
Certificated Ex-proof shot blast room with Atex filter unit
Two Boilerblast machines for Inline Enamelling plants
Orbital 6 machine for inside blasting of boilers and Orbital 10 in the Teflon coating process
Inside shot-peening cabinet with Almen test control
Robotized sand/shot blast room for blasting of sensitive parts and shot peening
MFN met Bojan Crtalic, Gen. Manager of FerroCrtalic International Company from Slovenia, to speak about their news on the Research and Development of Surface Treatment Technologies and their latest ecological innovations and projects, carried out under their trade mark FerroECOBlast Europe®.
(?) MFN: We have met your company over many years at exhibitions all around the world, but most of our readers don’t know a lot about FerroCrtalic Company – tell us, what is your mission?
(!) B. C.: Yes, that is true, because we are not a mass producer of standard Sand/Shot blasting equipment. All our energy is fully focused on unique solutions for our clients, making comfortable and highly efficient solutions based on the highest ecological standards, always in time and at a fair price. In this field, we are really good and this is also our mission for the next 50 years.
(?) MFN: The next 50 years? Interesting! What do you mean by that?
(!) B. C.: The Company Crtalic was established in 1964 by Joze Crtalic who started in a small workshop with production of welded steel components and structures, which was quickly upgraded with simple sandblasting machines, at first as a service and maintenance for local users.
After having finished my studies, I joined my father in 1975 and we began to extend our production with the first complex sandblasting equipment, driven by compressed air. Our company then continuously developed its manufacturing program to its present extent and significance, thus making FerroCrtalic one of the internationally appreciated suppliers in the world of sandblasting/shot-peening/soft cleaning technologies. Numerous awards and medals won in trade shows worldwide, and especially thousands of excellent unique installations worldwide demonstrate our international appreciation.
Since 1998, the FerroCrtalic Quality Management System is certified in accordance with ISO 9001 Quality Standard, certification that we renew yearly.
(?) MFN: Impressive, but what exactly do you mean by the Next 50 years?
(!) B. C.: The always-family-owned and operated enterprise has been joined one by one by Bojan’s wife, our two daughters, the oldest Mojca and also the youngest daughter Anja ten years later, and finally we also helped our son, Jernej, a mechanical engineer like me, to establish his own company – Blasttehnik- which today is well known in our country. His company relates to us for our customers after-sales activities, service and many research tasks.
So, that means that the third generation is now working in the family company together with our 30 engineers and highly educated staff and in the next two years we will celebrate our 50th anniversary. Our power are our people, and the mix between the young and "old" generations is more than perfect, bringing a stable potential for the future and the trust and confidence of our customers.
(?) MFN: You are not a mass manufacturer. What then are your target groups?
(!) B. C.: In all those nearly fifty years we have specialized in Sand/Shot blasting technologies driven by compressed air. In Slovenia, there are two very strong and worldwide known wheel blast producers and we cooperate with both of them in order to compete better. Therefore, our target group is virtually all industries and utility operations and we mostly undertake individual projects, or supplement surface treatment technological lines, especially for painting and enameling. The second most important cleaning technologies in our company are also Dry Ice and Soda blasting industrial cleaning processes, which we have been using and implementing for more than ten years.
(?) MFN: We can imagine that these projects need extremely high levels of knowledge and experience. From where do you get that and how do you keep up with the fast pace of technological development?
(!) B. C.: Yes, you are absolutely right. Our motto all these years is primarily learning, development and testing and the expected profits as a result have never been our primary goal. We work very much with universities, institutes and laboratories around the world, notably with the University of Ljubljana and the University of Bayreuth. Last year we opened one EU project called Cleaner together with afore mentioned universities and with Fraunhofer institute of Germany. After one year of hard work, the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie recognized our project as the most promising project in the remanufacturing business in the whole of Europe.
We also have our own laboratories and testing equipment and more than 100 different blasting materials in stock only for researching new approaches. These resources, our ways of working, long-standing tradition and the expert knowledge of our team, provides our clients with an up-to-date and reliable implementation of the project.
(?) MFN: What are the innovations you are working on? Can you give some examples for our readers?
(!) B. C.: I’ve mentioned here the remanufacturing business, where we successfully finish complete projects for an automated robotic cell for Dry Ice cleaning of silicone seals, carbon deposits, greasy and oily surfaces on dismantled car engines. The Project is very complex because of tracking the serial numbers on each part, and from our first Idea-project till the finished Robotized cell with 12 Orbital stations in a fully automated process, it only took 6 months.
Now we're doing further research and testing in effective and fully supervised cleaning methods of turbochargers, and on the large blocks of truck engines, as well as an automated cleaning process on Bosch high-pressure pumps.
The second important group is fully automated Air blasting Sand/Shot Blast rooms, which we have been producing for nearly 30 years. In this year, we have produced for one of the world’s largest car manufacturers a fully automated Cleaning/Blasting chamber for the frames, when a complete car body is being painted. The complete installation is designed and implemented according to the latest Atex regulations, and you can imagine how much laboratory research and expertise is therefore required. But our engineering team is well trained and internationally certified for Atex installations and our company is now an approved supplier to the Renault group. This order was based on a thorough cost-effective analysis, made ??by the applicant, on the basis of our previous tests.
(?) MFN: This is a really complex project, congratulations. What about other, perhaps more widely applicable, projects?
(!) B. C.: We are especially proud of our family of automatic machines for domestic water heater blasting, whether they are in the Orbital or In-line designs. Our machines cover capacities from 30 up to 120 shot-blasted and enameled boilers in an hour, which means up to 1,500 boilers per day in two shifts. Such lines have been installed all over Europe (Serbia, Bulgaria, The Czech Republic, and Slovenia) as well as in Egypt and America, in Louisville.
The advantage of our line is that it is a fully automated and controlled pre-treatment process where the machine automatically detects the type of the tank, self-adjusts the workstation, automatically blast and cleans the boiler of the abrasive residues and dust and after, moves it forward by one stroke. Boilers can travel on the line mixed in different sizes and types and there is no need for an operator at all. And our clients get all that for the same price as they would pay for the half-automatic implementation of some other manufacturer. All these machines are always connected through Internet access with our Control Service Centre that provides 24 / 7 hour technical support to our customers.
"Development of solutions and production of special robotic and automated lines in various industries"
(?) MFN: At the GIFA Fair in Dusseldorf, we noticed your machine for shot peening. Tell us something about it.
(!) B. C.: Shot-peening technology is not very new for us; many installations are running well in companies in ex-Yugoslavian countries. Probably you remember there was quite a strong military industry and also producers of automotive parts as well. But this machine that you saw at the Dusseldorf fair was only one from a series of several similar machines for extreme precision Shot-peening of specific springs for nuclear reactors. As you know, the demand for treatment with Shot Peening is increasing, mechanical parts are always more accurately optimized, and reducing the weight and material usage is a daily task for all engineers in the world. Using this technology prolongs the life cycle of important machine parts considerably.
In our company, many different Shot Peening machines are always connected for immediate testing. We do research ourselves, we measure the results and suggest and create custom-made solutions with integrated software for every occasion.
In our program, we have, of course, much larger robotic machines and chambers for classical blasting of sensitive products with different types of abrasives, with full recycling, filtration and unloading. It is also possible to use some of them for low-level nuclear decontamination of objects.
On this basis, we have also developed a robotized Shot Peening station, which can be installed into a modified container, or in a self-standing and very well insulated chamber.
(?) MFN: Mr. Crtalic, where do you see yourself and your company in the future?
(!) B. C.: In all these years, our growth has been slow, but constant. But we have expert knowledge, and we have taken the time to understand and consolidate it. Our team is young and extremely professional. The management is completely in the hands of five members of the family.
Our path is clearly outlined in the conquest of new markets in East and South Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in India, China, Korea and Australia where we have already arrived. As you can see, the natural way is to implement our knowledge and products in new innovative projects that can take place in all continents.
We will remain as a manufacturer and supplier of the most demanding projects where customers value knowledge, responsiveness, professionalism and excellent customer service for a very reasonable price.
And these kinds of projects are growing around the world today, which is also in line with our long-term activities.
(?) MFN: Thank you Mr. Crtalic for your time and your vision in these turbulent times and we wish you good business success.
Sela pri Dolenjskih Toplicah 47
8350 Dolenjske Toplice, Slovenia