CPI Automotive and General Industry Applications

Wheelabrator Centre for Product Innovation in Metelen, Germany

The Wheelabrator Centre for Product Innovation based in Metelen, Germany designs both air and wheel blast solutions for Automotive and Industrial customers all over the world.

Partner of Choice to the Automotive Industry

The focus at the facility is primarily the automotive industry and it is the number one supplier for a whole range of high profile customers, including Daimler Benz, Volkswagen Group, Opel, BMW, Ford, PSA, Scania, Volvo, MAN, Getrag, INA, ZF, LuK and Benteler.

Wheelabrator machines in automotive plants are typically located in areas used for die-castings and the refurbishment of gearboxes. 

Beyond Automotive

Aluminium

The CPI caters for the aluminium industry, serving clients such as Honsel Group, GF and Magna, with various versions of monorail machines for die-casting applications, multi tables, robot grippers and other solutions for engine blocks.

Steel Plate for Shipyards and other Applications

Additionally, the facility also serves the steel plate industries, providing high performance preservation lines for shipyards and various structural steel companies.

Steel Mills, Wind Energy and Rail Industry Solutions 

Popular technology offerings include in-line high performance lines for steel mills, plate blasting, tower segment blasting and painting, gear component blasting, special machines for blasting tower flanges for wind energy towers and combined automatic wheel and air blast solutions for rail coaches. Customers include CSSC, CSOC, Siemens, ThyssenKrupp, Alstom, ANF, Vestas, Enercon, Suzlon and Tisco.

Wheelblast Innovation

Cost Reductions

The most requested improvement opportunity in surface preparation is to reduce operating costs for an existing product line. This is normally achieved by reducing abrasive and energy consumption while extending the life of traditional wear parts, and implementing automation, and loading and unloading technologies. The CPI devotes significant research to meet these challenges and others; and it is this research effort that has contributed to innovations such as the TITAN wheel.

Unique Capabilities

The CPI's engineering capabilities are second to none. Its preservation lines are able to blast 5m wide steel plates at only 6m per minute. So competent are the engineers and technologies available to customers that the facility has achieved great success in an entirely different market than its traditional customer base – the market for cleaning concrete and stone blocks.

On-site Test Centre and Laboratory

The CPI recently invested €250k in brand new test lab facilities, allowing Wheelabrator experts to trial and examine all types of blast processes and fine-tune them to exact customer specifications. The new equipment includes an x-ray diffractometer for on-site testing, imaging and analysis of compressive stresses in parts after shot peening - a unique capability that is of huge value to customers, especially in the automotive industries, who use precision shot peening processes to achieve higher strengths, longer part life and improved performance of ever lighter components. With Wheelabrator, you work with a partner who, thanks to the on-site test lab, can now precision-adjust shot peening and other blast processes with extremely short turnaround times.

On-Site Demonstration Centre

A comprehensive display of blast technology applications are exhibited at the facility in Germany including cleaning, corrosion removal, descaling, coating removal, deburring, etching, polishing, peen forming, shot forming, and concrete finishing.

Airblast Innovation

Wheelabrator Group’s 80+ years of experience in airblast technology affects each stage of the customer engagement lifecycle, from determining each customer’s unique requirements, through the constructive development of the machine concept to final manufacture, assembly and installation.

New Market Opportunities

The facility’s blasting and painting applications that service traditional markets such as automotive, aerospace, shipyard and railway industries, are now also being utilised across a range of new market sectors such as medical technology, wind energy and silicon plate production.

Evolution in Indexing Turntable Machines

The last ten years has seen rapid advancement in indexing turntable machines for the blasting of heavy gear wheels. What began in 1998 as an indexing turntable machine with two swinging front doors capable of blasting a gear wheel of a maximum weight of 1.6 tonnes has now evolved to a completely new machine concept with one stationary turntable and a mobile cabin ceiling that enables the treatment of gear wheels with a maximum weight of 100 tonnes and a diameter of 3m, as well as shafts of up to 10 tonnes and of 4.5m long.

Unique Frame and Robot Gripper Machines

Innovations in frame and robot gripper machines have given rise to completely new machine concepts that are unique to Wheelabrator Group. Within the past five years, a total of seven frame machines for various components were developed for DaimlerChrysler as well as an additional machine for Benteler.

A similar concept has been developed in the aerospace industry for Embraer with a frame that can accommodate large workpieces up to 4m wide and 2m high.

Wheelabrator Plus

The CPI also has a whole team of engineers dedicated to services such as equipment modernisation – turning old machines into new ones, modifying equipment to suit new requirements or boosting performance with strategic upgrades. The complete range of Wheelabrator Plus parts, maintenance and services are supported here.