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Wheelabrator helps wheelchairs get ready for off-road action


US based Action Manufacturing, a specialist manufacturer of off-road wheelchairs, has switched from manual blast cleaning to Wheelabrator automated shot blast equipment to increase production and meet rising demand for its Action TrackChair – for people who won’t let a disability hold them back.

Company Profile

The Action TrackChair is the result of managing director Tim Swenson’s dream to produce the ultimate off-road wheelchair, allowing users to navigate mountain roads, campgrounds, woods, beaches, hiking trails, frozen lakes, shallow streams, muddy and snowy terrain and much more, giving disabled people access to places that are inaccessible for regular wheelchairs.

Action Manufacturing produced its first specialist chair, which has tracks instead of wheels, seven years ago, and continues to manufacture the entire chair at its base in Marshall, Minnesota. The company has now made over two thousand Action TrackChairs and has recently invested in a new manufacturing facility, allowing it to respond to increased demand.

Challenges, Solution and Results

As part of this investment, the company moved from manual airblasting of steel frames to wheelblast cleaning.

The upgrade enables them to wheelblast fifteen chairs in the time it used to take to manually blast three – an increase in productivity of 400%.

The previous manual blasting of raw steel was not only a slow and labour intensive task, it was also messy and had to be done away from the production line. Replacing this manual process with a 72-inch table blast machine from Wheelabrator has turned blasting into a clean operation that can take place within the workshop.

All the separate components for a whole chair can be loaded onto the turntable in the machine and cleaned at once.

Machine doors are closed when the blasting takes place so there is no abrasive, dust or other pollutants outside of the machine. This means the machine can sit right next to the paint shop, which saves time and prevents contamination of the surface between blasting and painting.

Tim Swenson says: “It’s impossible to compare the old system with the Wheelabrator system. The table revolves for just two to three minutes at five rpm and the chair comes out completely clean and ready to go immediately for painting. I don’t believe there is a quicker or more simple and effective way to clean metal.”

Wheelabrator rotary table shot blast machines have become a popular solution to help reduce production times as the wheel placement allows for multiple impacts on the part, ensuring that any part - short, tall, wide, or narrow - is blasted efficiently, without the need to reposition.

Beyond reducing processing time, Action Manufacturing was also keen to keep machine downtime to a minimum.

Swenson adds: “As with all machinery, we build in a maintenance program and with the Wheelabrator machine this has been minimal. The machine has an easy-to-operate clean purge and dust collector program, and an automatic air system for cleaning the filters - and it is super-easy to use. However, what has also impressed us is that since the machine was installed there has been zero downtime.”

Case Study Video

Click to watch Action Manufacturing testimonial