How to Purchase a Shot Blast Machine? Purchasing a shot blast machine is a tremendous investment. We at Viking Wheel Blast Systems completely understand this. We want to assist you as much as possible during your research and buying journey. Below are 7 important questions to ask when purchasing a shot blast machine:
What type of steel is the cabinet made of? You may also want to ask about the Rockwell hardness of the cabinet steel. Many manufacturers will try to cut costs by using a lesser grade steel for their cabinet construction. There have been known instances where the cabinet was made of a lesser, cheaper material than the shot blast media. Cabinet construction with material softer than the blast media will lead to quicker wear. This will not provide the machine life that you invested in. Look for AR 500 (abrasion resistant), high 11-14% manganese, or chrome-moly steel. These levels of steel are formulated to withstand high velocity, highly abrasive functions, such as shot blasting.
How thick is the cabinet steel? Why is this important? Like the type of steel, the thickness of your cabinet is equally as important. As you know, the science of shot blasting – from start to finish – is a very aggressive process. Steel blast media or grit is being thrown at high speeds to clean or profile metals. Over time, this consistent, violent metal on metal collision within the blast cabinet will start to wear down the cabinet structure. Having steel that is abrasive resistant and of the proper Rockwell hardness is crucial to the longevity of your machine.
Are the liners the proper thickness and steel quality? Like the cabinet, the type of steel and thickness are very important. The direct blast zones of your shot blast machine cabinet receive an incredible amount of abuse, day in and day out. To reduce maintenance costs and machine downtime, please make sure that your liners are of significant thickness and steel grade. Depending on the thickness, chrome-moly liners can have up to 2X the life of the average, lower grade steel liners. Another important suggestion is to make sure they can be easily changed out. If you’re using grit or running your blast machine for multiple shifts per day, it may also be worthwhile to have the entire interior of your cabinet lined with high grade chrome moly liners.
Is the shot blast machine maintenance friendly? It’s no secret. Shot blast machines require regular maintenance. To reduce headaches for your maintenance crew and minimize machine downtime, it is important to make sure the “maintenance heavy” areas of your shot blast machine are easily accessible.
Do you have the right size of blast wheels to handle your needs? To maximize efficiencies and get the most ROI out of your shot blast machine, it is important to clearly explain your throughput expectations up front, so that your chosen shot blast machine manufacturer can equip your machine with the proper blast wheel(s) in terms of horsepower and size. Conversely, please be aware of manufacturers placing wheels on your machine that are oversized. Equipping your machine with too much horsepower may cause unnecessary wear and tear to your machine and force you to use too much shot media.
Are the shot blast wheels constructed of quality, durable materials? The hardest working parts of your shot blast machine are the blast wheels. They are continuously throwing shot blast media at high rates of speed, which over time, will lead to common wear and tear. Many manufacturers will go cheap when manufacturing their shot blast wheels. They will use lesser grade steel and parts that will require part replacement and maintenance on a higher frequency basis. This eats into budgets and causes unnecessary machine downtime.
Can you get your shot blast machine parts in a timely fashion? It’s been touched on several times, but if you’re familiar with shot blasting, you know that it is inevitable that your machines will require maintenance, and eventually, part replacement. When this time comes to a quality maintenance schedule, it is important to be able to have quick maintenance turnaround times. This prevents downtime. Having a trusted partner that can quickly supply parts is critical. When looking into a shot blast machine manufacturer, ask if they keep a large supply of parts and how many months’ worth of parts they keep in stock. Having a partner that understands the urgency and can get parts to you quickly will save you money and headaches.
Like anything else, when you are purchasing a shot blast machine, you get what you pay for. Searching for the lowest price may not always be the best strategy. Asking the right questions up front and getting the proper machine and options can save you a tremendous amount of time and resources in the long run.