Challenge image

Alternative to Shot Blasting for aluminum injection parts

Premio: 10.000 €

Estado: Completed

Background

Our client is a leading manufacturer of high-pressure aluminum injection parts for different industry applications. Their objective is to offer high value-added solutions according to great innovation around materials, weight, process performance, quality and cost.

Their pioneer research program is developing robust designs, based in a continuous development of properties of different materials combining with new technological processes applications.

The factory located in South Europe is producing a wide range of products.

The challenge

The company uses injection molding to manufacture aluminum parts and a shared shot blasting process to remove burrs (see attached pictures and specification showing maximum burr thickness).

Each injection cell manufactures a single part every 70 sec. (cycle time) through the following operations:

  • Cast the part
  • A robot removes part from the die and cools it down in water or air
  • Trim the runner and overflows
  • Mark (label) the part

Then, parts are being sent to the Shot blasting process through a conveyor or a forklift.

Shot blasting process (see https://youtu.be/W11Q2H_cT6o) helps to effectively eliminate burrs but has many disadvantages:

  • The process is quite aggressive, degrades the installation and requires high maintenance.
  • Leaks blasting material into near installations.
  • Deformation of parts.
  • Requires rework to eliminate blasting material from the part using a file or through blowing.

The company has tried to solve this challenge in the past however alternative technologies are not fully viable due to cycle time, available space or investment.

What the client is looking for

The company is looking for an alternative process/technology to the current Shot basting process for aluminum injection parts (Any proposed solution based on Shot Blasting technology will not be considered)

  • Part specification:
    • Parts dimensions: minimum 400 x 400 x 100, maximum 600 X 600 X 600 mm.
    • Very irregular surfaces
    • Weight part: between 3-12 Kg.
  • Part injection output temperature: 70ºC
  • Burr (see sketches and pictures in the attachments)
    • Thickness is 0,1 - 0,5 mm. long: 10mm.
    • Length: 10 – 50 mm. (desirable)
    • Can be inside or outside the part.
  • Should operate according to a 70 sec. cycle time (includes load, operation and unload).

If possible, the client would prefer a modular solution so that the new process can be integrated into each injection cell, within an available space in the production area of 3X3 m (see sketch/drawings to show available space dimensions).

  • The expected investment is around 100.000€ for each cell in average.

This is a 3-rounds tournament with the following submissions:

First round

  • Proposed technology with a high-level process description.
  • Provide sketches/pictures for complementary equipment.
  • Feasibility evidences.

Second round

  • Detailed process specification.
  • Equipment specifications and available suppliers.
  • Estimated investments (per cell) and operational costs.

If required, additional information will be provided during the course of this round.

Third round

  • Required clarifications

Evaluation criteria

  • Proposed technologies will be assessed according to the following criteria:
  • Complies with parts specification and quality
  • Complies with required cycle time requirements (< 70 sec.)
  • Feasibility evidence
  • Lower investments and/or cost
  • Nice to have: Can be integrated into each injection cell

Any proposed solution based on Shot Blasting technology will not be considered

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