Wheelabrator recently designed and manufactured an automated airblast etching system for pressure plate manufacturing. The process required a suitable “etched” finish to be imparted on one or both sides prior to introducing the pressure plate to a bonding process.

Wheelabrator recently designed and manufactured an automated airblast etching system for pressure plate manufacturing. The process required a suitable “etched” finish to be imparted on one or both sides prior to introducing the pressure plate to a bonding process. Consistency and repeatability of finish were critical in this high-production process. The Wheelabrator® system incorporated a precision nozzle manipulator to horizontally oscillate the blast nozzles along the width of the area being etched; a vibratory classifier to classify 100% of the blast media, thereby ensuring consistent media size every cycle; a closed-loop feedback circuit for air pressure to achieve consistent etched finishes; and an easy-to-use operator interface with the capability to create, store and retrieve part techniques/recipes.

The application also required some pressure plates to be etched on one side and others on both sides. Advanced controls made it convenient to select part recipes that would enable selectively turning nozzles on and off, as required by that particular part type.

A two-piece masking arrangement presented a flat seat to mask the machined surface of the pressure plates. The second part of this mask was powered and located in the blast zone. This “dynamic” mask lowered itself over the part, thereby not only masking the top portion of the pressure plate from overspray, but also providing a ‘hold-down’ when processing thin parts.

For more information, visit www.wheelabratorgroup.com.