Wheelabrator System Reduces Labor Costs, Saves Time at Franklin Aluminum


March 29, 2007

Since 1962, Franklin Aluminum in Franklin, Ga., has been a sought-after source for quality aluminum extrusion pieces for major automotive industries throughout the United States. The company, which is both ISO 14001 and TS 16949 certified, extrudes aluminum billets into automotive trim such as luggage racks and truck bed rails.

In 2005, a MaxMesh(TM) Belt System was installed to remove flash and enhance the cosmetic finish of aluminum trim components before shipping to other companies for the coating process. After the parts are finished, the trim is sent back to Franklin Aluminum for further assembly before it's shipped to automotive assembly plants.

Franklin Aluminum contacted Wheelabrator to find a machine that would reduce labor costs, save time during the manufacturing process and provide a consistent finish on automotive trim. The MaxMesh Belt System not only provided an efficient and economical solution for Franklin Aluminum's processing needs, but it also uniformly etched the surfaces of extruded aluminum products at the facility, consistently preparing the trim for an anodized or powder coated surface.

Prior to the Wheelabrator® machine purchase, Franklin Aluminum employees manually buffed the surface of each trim piece. This process was difficult because it was hard to hold the pieces by hand and consistently buff each trim piece before coating.

The machine has four blast wheels and uses S110 abrasive to produce the desired/required finish. It is equipped with a variable speed frequency drive to provide an adjustable belt speed of 3-12 FPM. The variable speed blast wheels provide optimum abrasive velocity for various surface finish requirements. In addition to the MaxMesh Belt System, Franklin Aluminum also uses a Wheelabrator dust collector.

"This machine eliminated multiple, labor intensive buffing stations at Franklin Aluminum. Performing these manual operations required considerable physical effort," said Bill Raby, Wheelabrator Factory Sales. "Franklin Aluminum's management has been very pleased with the reduction of labor costs and time savings allowed by the MaxMesh Belt System."

The Wheelabrator MaxMesh Belt System is designed with versatility in mind and can accommodate a variety of parts with hard-to-reach surfaces, such as castings, forgings, die castings and formed and fabricated parts. The blast wheels are oriented to achieve maximum surface preparation exposure and coverage over the entire exposed surface of the part.

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

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