Astech Underground Improves Overall Productivity Levels with Wheelabrator Wire Mesh Belt System

Burlington, ON - (September 15, 2009) - Astech Underground, based in Loudon, Tennessee, builds Astech brand utility trenchers, vibratory plows and horizontal directional drilling machines, Trencor® brand trenchers and American Augers brand boring machines and drilling equipment. To prepare surfaces including edges of laser cut sheets and plates for coating, Astech Underground purchased a Wheelabrator® MaxMesh Wire Mesh Belt machine. Installation occurred in Summer 2003.

With a 60-inch wide work envelope, this machine is suitable for processing individual wide pieces or multiple smaller pieces spread across the manganese mesh belt at a typical conveyor speed of four (4) to six (6) linear FPM. The machine is suitable for processing flat and low profile formed pieces made of sheet metal or heavy steel plate prior to forming, bending, fabricating and coating. These piece parts become housings and related components for the trenchers and other earth moving equipment.

The operator places the work pieces are on a load table with powered belt that automatically transfers them onto the mesh belt conveyor. As the parts pass through the blast zone, they are exposed to high velocity steel shot from four (4) Wheelabrator Autoblast wheel units. Mill scale, rust and laser oxides are effectively removed. Shot blasting also establishes the surface profile needed for improved coating performance.

Leaving the blast zone, the work passes through an automatic shot removal compartment where air from a high pressure blower is directed through multiple air cannons. This economical operation requires no plant compressed air. From the blow-off compartment, the work pieces exit the cabinet and transfer off of the mesh belt onto an unload belt conveyor. A Wheelabrator designed and manufactured Model JPSM cartridge filter dust collector ventilates the blast cabinet, air wash separator, elevator and blow-off compartment.

Tim Smith, project engineer, states, "We have been very pleased with both the dependability and operation of this blast machine. The simple design allows for trouble free operation with minimal down time. The design allows for flexibility in the parts we process, which was critical in our operation."

The Wheelabrator 60-inch wide MaxMesh machine is available with four (4) 25 hp or eight (8) 15 HP Autoblast® blast wheels. The normal conveyor speed range is 3 to 12 feet per minute. Custom machine arrangements are available when faster cleaning rates are required. The Wheelabrator MaxMesh line includes machines sized to blast clean a wide range of work, from plate burn-outs to fabrications, forgings, die castings and iron castings.

Look for Wheelabrator at the upcoming FABTECH 2009 tradeshow, being held November 15th - 18th in Chicago, Illinois. Make sure to stop by the booth and talk to one of the Wheelabrator technical representatives for up-to-the-minute surface preparation product information.

Wheelabrator is a global provider of surface preparation and finishing solutions. Committed to offering the broadest array of technologies, products, replacement parts, services and technical know-how, Wheelabrator works closely with customers to deliver the best solutions for their specific requirements. The company's strategically located and electronically linked offices allow Wheelabrator to provide unrivalled customer service and support worldwide. For more information on Wheelabrator, visit the web site at or e-mail

More from Electrical Equipment & Systems

All Topics