A Wheelabrator® 10-wheel blast machine made its television debut during a recent episode of the Discovery Channel’s “Build it Bigger,” a show that highlights great feats of engineering around the globe. The Wheelabrator machine completes the crucial process of cleaning rusty, dirty, M1 Abrams Tanks before they are repainted and returned to combat service where they keep U.S. Army and Marine Corps soldiers safe throughout the world.
During the episode, an M1 Abrams is shipped to the Anniston Army Depot (ANAD) in Alabama to be broken down, cleaned, rebuilt and returned to Iraq for the U.S. Army. ANAD, which is known as “The Tank Rebuild Center of the World” according to the U.S. Army Web site, is the designated Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence for combat vehicles, artillery, bridging systems and small-caliber weapons, and performs depot level maintenance on military vehicles.
The Abrams tank is disassembled on the show, and the 20-ton tank hull is placed into the 10-Wheel blast machine to remove rust, paint and grit that accumulated during service in Iraq. The hull is hooked to a conveyor system, suspended vertically, moved inside the blast chamber and, after the doors are closed, it is cleaned. When the blasting is complete, the cabinet doors open and the conveyor system brings out a clean tank hull ready for repainting.
Wheelabrator Group is a global provider of surface preparation and finishing solutions. Visit the Wheelabrator Group Web site, www.wheelabratorgroup.com, to view the “Build it Bigger Episode” and learn more about the 10-wheel blast machine.