Wheelabrator continues to provide innovative peening solutions to Skills Inc., in its Auburn, Washington facility. With a September 2008 installation of a Wheelabrator Inline Peening machine; this is the company’s second Wheelabrator installation in 3 years. Skills Inc., a supplier to major aircraft manufacturers, approached Wheelabrator Group for a solution to simultaneously peen both sides of in-spar rib components. Wheelabrator assured Skills Inc. that technical expertise offered by its rich experience with such applications would guarantee success where other contenders could not find a technically feasible solution.
“Given our previous experience with similar projects, there was no doubt in my mind that this was achievable,” states Ron Wright, Wheelabrator Group Sales Representative who worked with Skills Inc., to achieve their peening goal.
The Inline Peening machines supplied to Skills Inc. contain non-marking conveyor rolls that transport the part through a blast stream consisting of an identical arrangement of reciprocating nozzles (4 up blast, 4 down blast). The strategic positioning of these 8 nozzles is critical to the overall peening process. Single and multiple axis nozzle manipulation directs the media stream at specific part locations. The Wheelabrator® Inline Peening system is ideally suited for processing conventional aerospace components such as wing spars, structural members, composite components as well as non-aerospace components.
“Our acquisition of a second peening machine from Wheelabrator has allowed us to expand our capacity and provide redundant processing capability. The second machine was designed and built to our custom specifications. The build process was completed without a hitch and the machine was installed and certified in record time,“ stated Mr. Todd Dunnington, CEO, Skills Inc.
The in-spar rib parts are loaded on an in-feed roll conveyor that carries the parts through the blast cabinet. As each part is loaded, a barcode reader identifies that part’s peening specifications, and uploads this process information electronically to the main control system. This is a key advantage of this user-friendly, automated system that allows the operator to program and store process techniques. Using a touch screen interface, the operator can control media size classification, flow rate, and air pressure to ensure consistent peening results. Detailed diagnostic logic also provides critical feedback when troubleshooting.
The Skills Inc. Auburn facility also has many capabilities that are approved and audited by NADCAP (a supplier management and audit system for suppliers to the aerospace industry). Both Wheelabrator peening systems were designed and built to be compliant with the stringent requirements of NADCAP and other OEM audit systems. This includes automatic monitoring, controlling and reporting of critical process control parameters such as air pressure, media flow, media size and real-time display of the process, all of which contribute to repeatable and consistent peening results. With this machine and its NADCAP accreditation, Skills Inc added shot peening to their competitive scope of services. “Peening has become a key part of our sales strategy and combines nicely with our NADCAP approved chemical processing capabilities”, confirms Mr. Dunnington.
With the first machine installation in 2005, a Wheelabrator technician spent significant time training Skills Inc. Quality Assurance and Engineering personnel on its Wheelabrator system. The thorough training made the installation a seamless integration with no requirement for additional training. Both machines were pre-assembled and a run-off test occurred in the Burlington facility prior to shipment. This testing drastically reduced installation and start-up time at site.