Previously, products were cleaned by manual blasting operations outdoors. However, due to the vast surface area that needs to be cleaned, this method requires significant labor hours and a workforce. Additionally, manual blasting necessitated the use of costly and time-consuming scaffolding to access all areas of the barge.
The requirement was to blast clean exterior surfaces completely without the need for manual blasting. The underside of the barge needed to be blast cleaned as well. This requires a separate robot, because of the width of the workpiece. The goal was to automize production and increase efficiency, quality, consistency, and lead time.
One of the unique challenges was processing a variety of coating systems on the same line with different curing schedules, fitting the new booths and ovens in an existing building, and tight clearances to building columns.
The size of the blast room requires a very wide gantry bridge to gain access all around the barge. To reach maximum capacity, two B20CS robots with large nozzles were installed in the blast room. Both robot arms have separate man cabinets to allow manipulator touch-ups after automatic blasting. To blast the underside of the barge, Blastman engineered the MBU – Mobile blasting unit. This is an electric car with blast nozzles driving below the barge whilst blast cleaning. All automatic operations can be started and monitored from the operations room. Cameras were installed so that the process can be monitored better. Programming of the robots is done with 3D software.
Nozzles6 * ¾ in [#12]
Number of Nozzles/Robot2
Blasting Pressure140 PSI
Blasting Rate36 hours for 2 Barges
Degrees of Freedom12 per Robot
Operation ModeAutomatic + Manipulator
Blastman Gantry, Cabin Separate (B20CS)Two B20CS (Blastman gantry, cabin separate) robots were installed.
The B20CS is a bridge-type, 8-axis blast-cleaning robot designed to blast large workpieces. The B20CS has two separate bridges: one to carry the robot arm and one to carry the movable operator cabin. An operator can steer the robot with joysticks from the operator cabin, which moves on its 4-axes. When the B20CS is used automatically, the operator cabin can be driven into the other end of the blast room.
The functionality of the B20CS robot is similar to the B20S model: it is custom designed to fit into various dimensions of blast rooms and meet the requirements to blast customer-specific workpieces. With its telescopic arm, the robot can reach inside railcars, through windows, or other openings to blast clean the interior surfaces. Applications include railway rolling stock, transformers, diverse steel structures and castings.
Mobile Blasting UnitThe MBU, short for Mobile Blasting Unit, is a versatile robotic manipulator that delivers exceptional efficiency through its large blasting nozzles. It offers unparalleled flexibility for various blasting applications, with blasting operations being operated by the operator from an air-conditioned and ergonomic cabin. The movements of the MBU can be easily controlled by the operator using joysticks or the user interface in the panel PC.
“We knew we had the capability to blast and paint barges quickly and efficiently, but what we’ve been able to accomplish in these first nine months has exceeded our expectations in both speed and quality of blast.”
The delivered solution blast cleans huge barge exteriors completely without the need for manual blasting. This results in less idle motion in the blast room. Performance has increased dramatically and we’ve reached the required efficiency.
Engineered solutions have been tailored to fit customer requirements and conditions. The result is a state-of-the-art facility in shipbuilding and barge repair.