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12/1/1996 | 3 MINUTE READ

Up-to-Date Finishing is Key to Growth

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As the company grew, the finishing process needed to as well...


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Master Pneumatic, Detroit, Michigan, manufactures wickfeed and sight-feed lubricators for a variety of applications. Each design has special operating principles, benefits and features; therefore, it is critical that the finish on the lubricator parts not inhibit operation.

In a wick-feed lubricator a porous bronze wick is saturated with oil by capillary action. Oil is stripped from the wick by air flow. The design is self-adjusting; however, oil delivery can also be varied manually.

In sight-feed lubricators, air flows through an automatic flow sensor that creates a slight pressure differential between the air passage and the oil reservoir. This causes oil to move up a riser tube, through the adjustable metering valve and to drip into a transparent Nylon sight-feed dome.

Approximately 20 pct of Master Pneumatic's Detroit sales are exported to companies around the world. About one third of these sales are to Asia/Pacific rim countries. According to Lynne Summerhays, OEM sales manager, "A principal reason for export sales growth is a our policy of strict quality control, cost containment, and product line improvement.

"Bill Wang of Strongaire, our Taiwan distributor, visited our plant and was impressed with the appearance and quality of our parts. Much of this quality can be attributed to our flexible mass-finishing processes that perform with a high degree of automation, process flexibility and control."

Hand deburring problems. The company's miniature series of pneumatic devices are hard to deburr. The burrs are small, and the passageways are small. When an employee sits at a table all day long trying to deburr these small passageways, s/he ends up not only removing burrs but also making them. The company had three, sometimes four people performing hand deburring operations.

"We decided to call someone in to see if they could help with the deburring operations. Initial tests showed us that the Spiratron from Roto-Finish would work well. After evaluating test results, we decided it would be advantageous to purchase this equipment. Now one person loads, operates and unloads the machine. There is no need for hand deburring. Parts are up to spec and have a lustrous finish," stated Mel Dries, manufacturing supervisor.

Parts Processing. Parts are loaded into the machine and processed. It requires 20 minutes from the time the machine is loaded with parts until the time the processed parts are discharged. Master Pneumatic processes about 300 parts per hour.

The machine is controllable insofar as the media feed and the media role. When the machine is set properly, the parts not only receive an aesthetically pleasing appearance, but both external and internal threads are retained. They are not changed or altered in any way. Also, a curved wall lining prevents smaller parts from floating on the media.

The process techniques take care of about 85 pct of all the jobs. Since the time of installation, the company has added more jobs and learned more about the machine's processing capabilities. The company now processes all of its miniature series filters, lubricators and regulators in the Spiratron.

Drying Process. Processed parts are automatically sprayed with a rust inhibitor. The solution is recycled, allowing the inhibiting solution to be reused. The system has a 38 gal storage tank, 1/3 hp solution pump, solution level float control, compound makeup pump and water makeup with a flow meter for proper inhibiting compound concentration. Parts are then conveyed directly into the dryer. The dryer is designed to blow off and dry aluminum parts from approximately two inches in diameter by one to two inches tall, at a rate of one batch every 30 min.

Parts are conveyed through a 12-by-four-inch dryer tunnel and exposed to a controlled elevated temperature blow off. Each air knife strips gross moisture from the product surface. Heat assists the flash drying of any residual surface moisture.

Waste Treatment at five cents per gallon. The waste from the system is piped directly into a 1,000 gal tank. It is then pumped from the tank into a clean machine by a flocculation process, processing 500 gallons per treatment. Processed waste is then filtered and passed into a holding tank.

At this point, the waste is checked to make sure it is in compliance with the Detroit water board. After this check, it can be dumped directly to sewer. Complete treatment costs are approximately five cents per gallon, a considerable savings when compared to having the waste hauled to an approved disposal site.