Empire Spring Training Seminar 2014

We are excited to announce dates for the 42nd Spring Training Seminar at Empire Abrasive Equipment in Langhorne, PA. This spring, the seminar will be held between Tuesday April 29th and Thursday May 01st. This much-awaited biannual event is very popular among Empire distributors and select customers, attracting a global audience.
Empire Building











Empire has designed this seminar to suit the requirements of a wide spectrum of industry members. An entrant into the field of blast cleaning and shot peening is assured to leave the sessions with a good understanding of not only the Empire product range, but also cognizance of blast techniques. Participants with prior knowledge of the industry and product will gain a richer perspective of applications and equipment by sharing their knowledge and learning from peers in the industry.

This seminar has traditionally attracted active technical discussions between participants and Empire experts on common issues faced by users of blast cleaning and shot peening equipment. The level of expertise available in a single location to respond to such questions is unmatched anywhere else in the industry. More importantly, we have designed this seminar to be hands-on with our demo lab and shop available for ready references.

Some of the topics that our experts will cover include:

•    Principles of blasting (suction and pressure)
•    Standard and modified cabinets
•    Media reclamation and dust collection
•    Portable equipment
•    Automation and Robotics
•    Shot Peening principles
•    Airblast rooms
•    Safety equipment
•    Start-up tips
•    Customer service

Please contact your Regional Sales Manager for a detailed seminar schedule.

What’s new this session?

Empire has evolved as an airblast equipment manufacturer over the years. A vast majority of the automated equipment manufactured incorporates robotics. Most recently, Empire was awarded a several contracts to build sophisticated robotic systems.  We expect one of these systems to be in its final stages of assembly during the course of this seminar. We will also be demonstrating our newly acquired robotic software and its capabilities to animate path programs – a tool that will greatly enhance your presentation when discussing such equipment with your customers.

We look forward to hosting your visit to Langhorne, PA this Spring! Please contact your local Empire Regional Sales Manager to make arrangements.
Empire Training





Demo lab

Automation Overview: TT20 Indexing Turntable Machines

Indexing Turntables are among the most common equipment to automate your blast operation. Their design has certain inherent features that promote versatility, ease and economy of operation. Such machines are often classified by their main table size, quantity of nozzles, and type of media propulsion, i.e. suction and pressure.

Empire TT Indexing Turntable Machines are manufactured in three standard versions, TT-20 (20″ diameter), TT-36 (30″ diameter) and TT-48 (48″ diameter). Our focus for discussion here is the smallest of the range, TT-20.

The TT-20 was designed with the goal of providing a cleaning or peening solution with all the versatility of an indexing turntable machine, all in a very compact footprint. The TT-20 is available to you with either four suction or pressure nozzles, as required by your application. The tenacity of your cleaning application, or the intensity requirements of your shot peening application will determine the choice of media propulsion.

As with all indexing turntables, in the TT-20 loading/unloading of parts takes place under the cover of blasting.

TT20 Peening System Small Footprint

The engineers at Empire place special emphasis on your individual requirements, whether it be space constraint in your plant or a special technique in your manufacturing process requiring the inclusion of additional process control components in the TT-20. In the current example (see insert), the TT-20 performs a critical peening operation on aerospace components requiring a vibratory classifier, multiple outlet pressure vessel and dust collector, all in a very compact footprint in order to fit customer’s existing plant layout and constraints.

Industry and Applications:

  • Medical : A relatively recent adopter of blast cleaning and shot peening processes leaves our customers in the medical industry with very limited space availability. With a minor table modification to the TT-20, it can be upgraded to a 12 station configuration, producing two cleaned or peened medical component with every index of the main table.
  • Aerospace: When processing of small blades with vent  / cooling holes, the TT20 provides a pressurized part rotation station that blows air up through the blade to and prevents media from staying lodged in critical internal areas. In the absence of such an arrangement, the blast media has a tendency to clog the holes resulting in a scrap part.
  • Automotive: Small transmission components
  • Friction parts
  • Cylinders for airbags
  • Brake rotors

TT-20 features:

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System includes:
o    Cabinet
o    Work handling (main table & satellites)
o    Media Storage hopper
o    Media reclaim
o    Make Up hopper
o    Dust Collector

Blast capabilities
o    Three (3) blast stations provide excellent coverage
o    4 to 8 suction blast nozzles
o    2 to 6 Pressure blast nozzles
o    6  or 12 station satellites
o    1 or 2 part index (depends on part sizes)

Other features:
o    Tight footprint ideally suited to work in a cell
o    Systems PLC permits  versatility of operation
o    Vertical sliding work doors seal the blast operation for dust and noise
o    Faster cycles due to smaller turntable (Quicker index time)
o    Ease of accessibility for maintenance
o    Urethane ducting (optional item) helps reduce foot print

hopper-duct- reclaimer

o    Easy part loading and unloading from the front
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Makeup hopper:

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TT20 Cell Machine (2)

The blast system is regularly replenished using an automatic Make-up Hopper. This hopper adds virgin media to the system whenever the storage hopper runs low on media. This controlled replenishment helps maintain proper operating mix resulting in a consistent part finish.

The TT20 offers many safety features including:
o    Light curtains at load/unload station
o    Door safety interlocks
o    Door locks (if needed)
o    Vertical sliding doors

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As with all automated Empire systems, the TT-20 is completely tested with abrasive, with customers in attendance with their production parts, prior to shipment. This ensures trouble-free installation and quick start-up at the installation site.

Contact Empire to learn how the TT-20 or one of our suitable systems for your application can add to the profitability of your operation If unsure, why not visit our demo facility in Langhorne, PA to process your components in one of our several demo machines?

Eliminate The Guesswork Out Of Cleaning And Peening

Welcome to the most sophisticated and comprehensive test facility for airblast peening and cleaning applications. Welcome to the Demo Center at Empire in Langhorne, PA (USA).

Whether you are an existing user of cleaning or peening equipment, or a novice to the process, the Empire Demo Center has tremendous potential with tips to increase your productivity and add to the profitability of your operation.

As an advanced manufacturing plant, you have other critical parts of your production process that demand your attention. Most often, this results in an unintentional neglect of processes such as blast cleaning and shot peening. Interestingly, this neglect could lead to higher operating costs and equipment wear than normal. Let’s take the instance when your customer has introduced a new product and would like to partner with you and develop the cleaning or shot peening specifications and procedure for this new component. Empire is here to help with its demo center in both instances. Here’s how:

  • Review your existing application and equipment use with Empire by testing your production parts in one of over ten machine types on Demo Center.
  • Demo results could prove that maybe you have been using higher blast pressure than required, perhaps a different media type or size could provide you better results. Both changes will reduce your operating costs.
  • The Demo Center has equipment with varying and increasing degrees of automation. If your new production needs demand a slightly higher degree of automation, the Demo Center provides you the choice of equipment to test the same.
  • Shot peening is a process that’s either misunderstood or completely new to a lot of end users. Visit the Demo Center. Our experts in this process will carry out peening tests on your part samples, to varying levels of impact energy (shot peening intensity), that you will be able to conduct fatigue tests on at your plant. Along the way, we will also help you develop your peening parameters and even help you conform to an established specification.

Empire Demo Lab

The Empire Demo Center has the entire range of airblast equipment available for tests, starting from the simplest manual handblast cabinet to sophisticated robotic cells for single part flow. All this equipment is available for your testing, most times without any charge.

We look forward to seeing you in our Demo Center and help you increase the profitability of your cleaning and peening operation!

Modified Cabinets for Process Parts

For some applications, a part’s finishing specifications may be beyond the capabilities of a standard blasting cabinet. Empire is able to take the standard product line and modify the cabinets and technology to fit the application requirements. As an example, a customer may have a part that weighs 2,000lbs.; however the standard Pro Finish cabinet can only handle a 1,000lb capacity. Through Empire’s modified program, the upgraded design could include a raising the gloves and window in the cabinet to accommodate the customer’s largest part an in/out turntable or modified DC drive for part handling.

Modified Cabinet

 Typically the process would begin with an RFP through an authorized Empire distributor. The proposal information is filled out by the customer and aided by the distributor to get an understanding of how they want to process the part and cabinet features such as a turntable, outside platform etc. We develop a quotation that would fit a certain range of adjustments to standard equipment. During quoting proposal drawings are sometimes developed for customer clarification.

This proposal is sent to the customer for review and feedback.  We will put together an approval drawing after the order is accepted. The process usually goes smoothly since I believe we are modifying the top cabinets in the industry and most companies are familiar them.

During the proposal stage we may get a sample part to review and possibly process. Processing would be performed by Empire’s Product Support Team in our demonstration lab. After the proposal stage is complete and an order is received an approval drawing is generated with all of the important details of the system shown.

After the approval drawing is finalized the order is released to Production and Fabrication.  From there the modified cabinet goes to paint then on to final assembly. After assembly is complete we perform pneumatic and electrical tests to ensure the system is working properly.

Final inspection is performed by:

  • Assembly department
  • Technical  service department
  • Designer of the project
  • Product manager of the Modified Cabinets division

With stringent inspection and quality checks the cabinet is ready for shipping and installation.

Modified Cabinet 2

At this point the customer may come to Empire’s facility to inspect the system, or for a “runoff” to test the system. If the test is satisfactory, the cabinet is cleaned and prepared for shipment. The distributor then helps to setup the system upon arrival at the customer’s facility. Regional managers may also attend the setup and help with training if necessary.

A modified cabinet project will generally take approximately 8 to12 weeks from inquiry to installation.




Advanced Automation: Pre-Engineered to Custom-Built Systems

Empire offers two distinct approaches to achieve the best finishing solution for each robotic application.  The first approach is a pre-engineered blasting system. These systems have two types of design layouts starting with two forms of pedestal-mounted robot machines and an inverted robot machine. Most applications fit these machines with the ability to process parts up to 2ft dia. x 2ft high. In each solution the robot is manipulating the blast nozzle.  Each design includes a dc motor-driven 7th axis that can be upgraded to a servo-driven axis which provides the operator with infinite flexibly and more precision.

A main advantage of the pre-engineered system is that engineering costs are removed since it is predesigned.  At the same time, a number of standard options are available that will cost less than custom-designed systems. Lastly, a pre-engineered system can be produced much faster that a custom-built solution.

RBT 36 close interior

Pre-engineered System

A custom-built system is used generally if a part is too large for a pre-engineered solution or if it is more desirable to manipulate the part instead of the nozzle.  The customer may have a specific material handling need that is out of the range of the pre-engineered system capabilities.


  Custom Design

To determine which approach is the best solution, Empire analyzes customer-supplied drawings and part dimensions, integration and support needs. The plant layout is reviewed and becomes part of the design criteria to ensure proper installation and efficient production.  Empire arranges a meeting with the customer if necessary then provides a proposal.

Once the equipment is produced, a factory acceptance test is conducted at Empire’s facility. The customer visits Empire to test the equipment and receive operational and maintenance training.  Once the test is complete and the equipment is approved, Empire’s service technicians can be provided to supervise the installation and startup as well as provide on-site training.

Modified Finishing Cabinets for Specialized Applications

If your application is highly specialized, you can take advantage of the benefits of a Pro-Finish system. We can economically tailor a cabinet to meet your specific needs and reduce lead times over custom engineered purpose-built equipment. Empire Modified Pro-Finish® Cabinets are re-engineered to meet individual work piece and process requirements. The essence of the program is taking the great Empire base product and making it your Empire solution If you are confronted with a unique application or want to accelerate production rates through partial automation, Empire can meet your needs. Empire has created hundreds of modified cabinets to satisfy focused customer needs in a wide range of industries.

Common modifications include:

Work Envelope Expansion (vertical and Horizontal)

Envelope Expansion
Modified Systems











Wide Hand-cabinet

Wide Handcabinet









Other options:

• Crane Slots
• Pass-through cabinets
• Entrance and exit vestibules
• Heavier weight cabinets
• Dual cabinet systems
• Power turntables
• Powered work carts
• Tilting work carts
• Powered Doors
• Multiple Glove Locations
• Roll Blast Systems
• Vibratory Screeners
• Larger Pressure Vessels
• Powered Lance
• Blast-gun Oscillation
• Programmable Controls
• Robot Integration

Many applications require specific equipment arrangements to ensure the correct finish result and keep production efficiency high. With Empire equipment you are able to choose from the product line’s standard designs, then add-on many features and enhancements to adapt to your application. Pro-Finish cabinets can be specified with either suction or pressure blast systems. A pressure system being the preferred choice for faster production and more precise control of media at both high and low operating pressures. In addition, they are available in seven sizes and loaded with standard features that reduce operating and maintenance costs.

With a modular design, plus an extensive range of factory options, lets you select a system that’s just right for your applications.

Demonstration Laboratory

Empire’s testing and product demonstration facility is un-excelled by any other manufacturer of air-blast finishing equipment. The lab houses a comprehensive list of equipment purposely selected for prototyping, validation and process optimization.
Empire Demo Lab

Demonstrator Lab Equipment list:

  • ABB Robotic Air-Blast System – Features roof mounted 6 axis robot and coordinated 7th axis part rotation. The system is capable of manipulating both the part and nozzle.
  • FANUC Robotic Air-Blast Cell Machine – Features pedestal mounted robot and 7th axis part rotation. The system is capable of manipulating both the part and nozzle.
  • Automated Cell System – Features vertical oscillation and part rotation and is setup for pressure or suction blasting.
  • 6060 RS with in-out cart and turntable – Features nine gun rotary technology.
  • IL885 – Features pass through processing with both fixed guns and horizontal oscillation.
  • PF4848 Hand Cabinet – Setup to quickly evaluate both pressure and suction blasting
  • BB4 – Designed to batch process small to medium size parts and is outfitted with the flexibility to blast with either pressure and suction.
  • 3642 ProFormer ™ – A self-contained “drop in place” system that require only two connections, air and electrical, and includes features offered in our high production Pro-Finish® line.

Empire’s Product Support Managers have years of experience in evaluating the many ways to blast and peen almost any part.   The best way to determine the right solution for your unique finishing and production requirements is to send parts to Empire.

To learn more about our test and demonstration laboratory or any Empire air-blast products, please contact your local Empire distributor or Empire at 215-752-8800 or email airblast@empire-airblast.com.

Robotic Blasting: Key Applications & Efficiencies

To compete in a hyper competitive global finishing market the use of robotics in air-blasting is quickly becoming the preferred method to reduce costs, increase productivity and improve product quality. Our experience has enabled Empire to design robotic blasting systems that meet the needs of today’s most demanding applications.

Key Applications:
Empire has custom engineered and built hundreds of automated grit-blasting and shot peening systems for precision components in the aerospace, automotive, medical and many other industries.

General industrial applications include:
•    Surface preparation for thermal spray and other advanced coatings
•    Shot Peening for SAE aerospace material specifications
•    Non-destructive cleaning of high value parts and controlled stripping and coating removal

The use of robotics in blasting also allows for the transfer of direct labor from fatiguing and potentially hazardous blasting tasks to other more important value added jobs. A single operator can run multiple robotic blast machines resulting in better department productivity. With a robotic blasting system in place, a machine can operate 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.

Empire’s robotic systems combine high operational performance with powerful accuracy, consistency and unprecedented levels of flexibility. Whether it’s manipulating the nozzle to replicate the human hand blasting a component with perfect precision or manipulating the part against a stationary blast stream.

Robotics can be provided as part of a custom designed system or a pre-engineered solution. Empire’s pre-engineered robotic blast cells provide compact yet sophisticated solutions to meet your blast finishing needs.These designs are standard and field proven. Choosing an Empire robotic blast finishing system means less time spent in design and manufacturing resulting in the shortest time to production.

Empire can also provide custom designed solutions and will work as your partner to develop the machine concept that best meets your unique process requirement and take into consideration the uniquely harsh environment created by the blast process.

All systems are equipped with Empire’s highly efficient pressure blast and reclamation system.  Empire’s reclamation systems have an unmatched ability to separate fine, medium and coarse media from dust. Designed with the capability to fine tune to your unique set of blast requirements, Empire’s reclaimer will save on media costs while improving performance, processing speed and quality.
Whether your project is driven by improvements in productivity, costs, compliance, strict specifications or process validation requirements, Empire will partner with you to design and build blast systems that best meet your needs.

Robotic blasting offers:
–    Control & Repeatability
–    High Efficiencies
–    And uses Fewer Resources which Lower your costs

To learn more about robotic blasting we invite you to visit our demo lab, equipped with the most modern equipment in the industry and run by a staff with years of experience in evaluating the many ways to blast and peen almost any part.

Three Key Benefits For Basket Blasters

Empire’s BB2 and BB4 Basket Blasters automate cleaning, peening and finishing of small work-pieces. With certain types of parts, no other finishing method can compare to these heavy-duty production machines in terms of speed and quality results.
Typical applications are for parts or items that may be rusty, or in need of cleaning, or where you need to achieve a required surface finish for coating. Other applications include:
•    Refinishing
•    Surface preparation for coatings.
•    For batch processing – nuts, bolts, fittings, fasteners
•    Parts have to be able to withstand part on part contact

Ease of use:
Operation is simple: Load parts into the basket, set the precision timer, and the Basket Blaster does the rest. By tumbling parts within abrasive blast streams, these
machines deliver consistent finishes – automatically

Both the BB2-3K and the BB4-3K provide complete part coverage, the BB2-3K has two fixed guns to cover a 16″ wide basket and the BB4-3K utilizes gun oscillation to cover a 30″ wide basket. The oscillation utilized in the BB4-3K constantly changes the blast parameters and uses less air. Because both systems are automated, operator error is removed from the process. Also both systems are supplied with variable speed control for the basket rotation allowing you to slow things down or speed them up depending upon your application.

Cycle time improvement:
The Empire Basket Blasters are production systems with two different size capacities; the BB4-3K with three oscillating guns and a 350-pound parts capacity and the smaller BB2-3K unit with two fixed nozzles and a capacity of 300 pounds.

Normal process time ranges from 15 to 20 minutes; however parts can be blasted for longer periods of time if needed. In the BB4-3K there are three oscillating guns that provide increase production rates while reducing power consumption and in the BB2-3K there are two fixed guns

Top Three Things to Consider for Robotic Blasting

Robotic Blasting is becoming more and more prevalent in the manufacturing process.  Companies are looking to increase efficiencies and lower costs.  With robotic blasting equipment in place, the operation can run in a continuous mode. Operators are able to run multiple machines and become more efficient.


Top Considerations for Robotic Blasting:
Control and Repeatability:
As an operator gets tired they lose focus and attention.  Robotics provides repeatability and long run times without straying from the specification.  This ensures consistent high quality while reducing the defects, rejects and rework. The bottom line is meeting the specifications for each part with process control that happens consistently, every time.

With a robot, you can control where you are blasting all the time.  During a manual operation, the blasting frequently continues off the part while the operator repositions his grasp.  Over-blasting is also a concern with manual systems, as operators often blast longer than necessary or over the same area twice to ensure full coverage.  In both scenarios, the system is unnecessarily consuming compressed air, media, and most importantly, time.  This is inefficient in addition to general fatigue for the operator.
Less Resources and Lower Costs:
Robotic Blasting reduces the need for more people.  This dramatically reduces costs and is a main reason that automation is becoming more prevalent.  Additionally, robotics will reduce the amount of resources used to generate a finished part.  This ranges from energy, compressed air, blasting media, floor space, machine maintenance, and rework.
Robotic blasting is used in a wide array of applications and can accommodate large and complex parts. This enables users to assure the quality control and deliver the process validation so often required by
today’s aerospace, automotive and medical sectors.

Thirty Quick Benefits of Robotic Blasting
Improve Cabinet Component Life
Improve Product Quality
Improve Employee Safety
Improve Manufacturing Flexibility
Improve Operations Reliability
Improve Production Data
Improve Regulatory Compliance
Improve Decision-Making
Improve Product Yields
Improve Product Flow
Improve Return-on-Capital
Improve Employee Morale
Improve Revenue & Profits
Improve Time to Market
Reduce Air Consumption
Reduce Media Consumption
Reduce Media Disposal
Reduce Manufacturing Costs
Reduce Maintenance Costs
Reduce Utility Costs
Reduce Consumables Cost
Reduce Scrap and Waste Cost
Reduce Error and Return Cost
Reduce Product Development Time
Reduce Production Changeover
Reduce Floor Space
Reduce Production Variability
Reduce Schedule Variability
Reduce Production Failure Modes
Reduce Hazardous Exposure