in Vol. 19 - November Issue - Year 2018
Right Steps To Advanced Shot Peening Solutions
Mr. Aljaž Molek; Technical Sales Representative of FerroČrtalič
Robotic machine for shot peening of different parts
Testing of shot peening of gears in process
3D model of automated machine for shot peening for roots and vanes
MFN was able to get an interview with Mr. Aljaž Molek; Technical Sales Representative of FerroČrtalič.
(?) MFN: What are the main reasons that customer choose FerroECOBlast products?
(!) A. M.: There are some factors that are important for customers. Customers check different companies for purchasing equipment and we can offer them the best solution to solve their problems and increase the quality and value of their products.
These parameters involve quality, after-sales service, offering the right equipment to meet their needs, and for sure, competitive pricing. What is important for us at first is to satisfy customers with our solution.
We believe that if the company is eager to work in the right way and place this purpose as the main core in the business then it will absolutely be distinguishable from other competitors. Our customers are our greatest treasure, and this makes it easy for us to meet new customers and develop our activities in our sector. Customers know that we are reliable in being able to give them the best solution and best quality with the best price.
(?) MFN: How did you get the idea for design of your custom-made machines for surface treatment?
(!) A. M.: FerroECOBlast has been working in the surface treatment industry since 1964 and has plenty of knowledge and experience in this field.
Of course, every project is different, so we mostly design and manufacture custom-made solutions. We seek to develop a solution in the sense that we allow a customer to co-operate with us from an early stage of the project right through to design. After we agree on technical points and design of the machine to meet our customers’ expectations, we then begin manufacturing of the machine in our facility in Slovenia, Europe.
(?) MFN: Do you only make custom-designed solutions?
(!) A. M.: I can say that more than 90% of our solutions are custom-made and customer-driven. The working concept of the machine is mostly the same, but every customer has different requests. Either they have different capacities, different requests of automation, or different space availability, etc. For example, an engine shop for repairing turbine blades has a request for shot peening of roots. Now we have already produced machines that carry out this process but are not suitable for every engine shop, as not every solution for the same part is suitable for every repair shop – it needs to be cost-efficient and, in some cases, more advanced, but sometimes a simpler and smaller machine is efficient enough for them, so it makes no sense to design them an extra-capable and expensive machine.
(?) MFN: Do you make equipment according to customers’ needs or just produce normal machines?
(!) A. M.: This question is very important, since one of our big differences with competitor’s can be explained here, where we exactingly study all details before offering solution to customers. It means that we consider everything to give the customer the right and perfect machine. We first evaluate the customer’s needs, how many parts need to be treated, for which purposes and in what way, then we decide and offer solutions based on our experiences that we have in surface treatment. Sometimes even our customer does not know which equipment is the best for their problem, and this is our job and duty to propose to them exactly the most appropriate equipment to solve their problem in the best way. This means that we must be able to offer custom-designed solutions.
(?) MFN: In which aspects are your new shot-peening machines for roots and vanes different from others and how do they work?
(!) A. M.: A shot-peening machine is a machine that needs high technology to manufacture products since during this process it is essential to have controls of the parameters. Meanwhile, it needs to be user-friendly and not be complicated. Another item that is crystal clear is the safety of the machine, which we always highly emphasize. In our machine, we consider all of the aforementioned factors and so customers are sure that they will not meet any problem or difficulty when they use it. If I want to explain more about this, I can say this particular machine has four satellites – two satellites for loading/unloading and two working satellites. The operator can easily load the part on the satellite and start the process to rotate the turntable where the shot-peening process is executed on roots or vanes of turbine blades. This machine can also be upgraded with a robotic arm for loading and unloading, so the whole process could completely be automated.
(?) MFN: Do you think that your solutions are competitive globally?
(!) A. M.: I am sure that our solutions are very competitive. In recent decades, we have managed to deelop a very good global footprint with our solutions. I think this is because we have a very good relationship with our partners that also provides our customers with local support, practically at their fingertips. We have shown in the past that not only our solutions in the market but also the quality of our machines is at the top level and I believe that this is also the cause of Europe striving to develop quality products and that we are more and more demanding of ourselves.
(?) MFN: Where do you see your company position in this field, especially for shot peening machines?
(!) A. M.: In shot peening technology, we are definitely placed as a leading supplier. If you check our references, it completely confirms this claim. The aviation sector is one of the critical sectors that always follow high standards and is not easy to work with. We are outstanding because of our hard-working, strong team, the much research we have done, and the many investments that we have made in our technology. There are just a few companies in the world like us and we are happy that we have been always at this level.
(?) MFN: Do you develop new shot-peening applications?
(!) A. M.: Yes, for sure. One of the main parts of our company, let’s say the brains of our company, is the R&D department, which has the duty to find and develop new applications of this process. Since we are very well-known and strong in this technology, we always thinking about this. For example, we have been working on a particular peening process for gears and shafts; moreover, laser and ultrasonic peening are two of the research projects that have become famous in recent years, so of course, we follow these to maintain our position in this industry.
(?) MFN: In which industries do you use your shot-peening machines?
(!) A. M.: They are used in the automotive industry, for gearboxes and suspension, and in the field of internal combustion engine components. Also, a very important industry is aviation where landing gears, engine parts, turbine blades etc. are peened.
We can boast of our own shot-peening cell, with which we offer services of shot peening on various products for customers from both the automobile and aviation industries.
(?) MFN: As a more general question, could you please talk about about other industries that you are focusing on?
(!) A. M.: In any case, our goal and long-term vision is to conquer other similar areas where such technology is necessary and important. In the first phase, we want to proceed in the direction of surface peening - laser peening and shot peening in combination with water, so-called wet peening. Here we also cooperate very closely with our partners, the best world-renowned companies and leaders in this field.
In the field of nuclear technology, we can already boast of our implemented applications for UHP (Ultra high pressure) surface decontamination.
(?) MFN: What are the advantages of your shot-peening machine in comparison with similar machines?
(!) A. M.: Regarding this fact, the shot peening process is very sensitive and must be totally under control; accordingly, repeatability of process and accuracy are main aspects that are always in our design, and the functioning of our shot-peening machine is always highly considered.
(?) MFN: Why is it important to stay updated on the most recent technological trends and developments?
(!) A. M.: In today's world where everything goes fast in the industry and is also very competitive, for staying in the top level of the market, you must invest in R&D and training of all workers, and in FerroECOBlast company, we always take care of this item. We always try to be on the edge of the newest technology in surface treatment. Our technology is always environmentally friendly and most reliable in safety and is exactly designed according to customer needs. It is very important to give the customer the most complete and highest technology solution, and it is not easy to achieve this goal except with hard work and investing in the newest technologies.
(?) MFN: What about the feedback of your customers regarding former machines that you have delivered?
(!) A. M.: All customers receiving and using our shot-peening machine are completely satisfied and they declare that this machine totally meets their needs and is exactly what they expected to have. In fact, finding the problem and designing and offering the right shot-peening machine are very important issues that are always prioritized in our company scope. In other words, we are offering solutions to the customers rather than just selling equipment.
(?) MFN: In what instances have you demonstrated leadership skills, and how would you describe your style?
(!) A. M.: We are a company that just focused on our expertise that is surface treatment, and we can say that in this sector we are on the utmost level. Talking more about details of our activities, we could mention the work related to preparation of surfaces like cleaning surfaces and de-coring foundry parts, cleaning surfaces with dry ice equipment, sand blasting, shot blasting, and ultra-high pressure water blasting is our interest and we are excellent in implementing these.
(!) A. M.: Thank you. Our solutions can be implemented in various branches of surface treatment technology. Readers can get into contact with us through our website or by phone.
MFN would like to thank Aljaž Molek for this interview!