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A Wheel Cleaning Solution

(Clacton, U.K./Tyres & Accessories) A small Airblast modular blast room has provided D&S Factors with a self-contained blast cleaning facility for preparing tractor wheels.

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As well as stocking new and reconditioned standard products from leading agricultural wheel OE companies, D&S also manufactures its own range of special products such as rowcrop wheels, wide flotation wheels and grassland wheels for use on golf courses, parks etc.

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Due to an increasing demand for its products, D&S Factors began restructuring its manufacturing factory at Donington, near Spalding. As part of this development a great deal of thought was given to the installation of a new surface preparation facility. “We have always known that the efficient surface preparation of wheels prior to painting is vital to ensure a quality end product,” said manager, David Tasker. “We used to do our blast cleaning in a home-made room – a rubber lined shed really – using a small open nozzle blast machine.”

“This leaked dust into the workshop and was generally very inefficient. Our increasing order book meant we had to step up throughput. In addition our customers demand the highest quality and we knew we could no longer leave this vital element of our production to chance.”

Space in the factory was tight and with the largest wheel being 54-inch diameter – a large hand blast cabinet was considered but discounted. Engineers from Airblast therefore recommended a 3-metre long x 2.6 metre wide x 2.6 metre high, modular blast room.

Said Airblast’s managing director Jon Cook: “We have developed this range of blast rooms in response to customer demands for more versatile and less costly rooms. By manufacturing them as separate modules, which can be connected in a number of configurations, not only have we been able to reduce costs and maximise flexibility, they can also be commissioned quickly and easily on site. A range of standard or bespoke accessories can be specified and easily incorporated.”

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They are therefore a viable alternative to container type rooms, which can only be supplied in one or two sizes. The new room was sited straight onto the factory floor and is complete with a blast machine linked to a sweep-in vacuum media recovery, cleaning and recycling system and dust arrestor. Full width access doors, high level lighting, rubber lined walls and ventilation complete the package. Within 48 hours of delivery it was up and running.

A batch of fabricated wheels, centres or outer rims are pushed into the room on a trolley and the doors closed. Each is blast cleaned in turn using special rollers, which allow the operator to manoeuvre them easily to ensure that every surface is cleaned.  
The efficiency of the media recovery system means that D&S can use chilled iron grit, allowing them to make big savings in abrasive costs compared to their previous set up.

“We needed a complete solution that would add value to our products and that’s exactly what Airblast have given us. The new room has helped us streamline our production, increase quality and reduce processing costs – what more could we ask for?” concluded Tasker.

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