Wheelabrator halves maintenance time at ME Electmetal


A team from Wheelabrator Plus has drastically reduced maintenance time at ME Electmetal, with a machine upgrade that allows blast equipment to keep up with increased production. The shot blast machine at Electmetal was equipped with the latest blast wheel technology, using EZEFIT wheels from Wheelabrator to reduce downtime and improve blast efficiency, and the abrasive separator was upgraded to reduce wear.

Company Profile

ME Electmetal in Duluth, Minnesota, is a leading supplier of premium-quality grinding mill liners and other steel castings for mining equipment and construction. Rising demand for copper and iron ore has fuelled a boom in the American mining industry and, in turn, increased demand for ME Electmetal's products.


In 1978, ME Electmetal had purchased a 4-wheel Wheelabrator Pass Through Spinner Hanger blast cleaning machine to clean cast metal parts, removing sand and mill scale.

Built to last, the nearly 40-year-old Wheelabrator machine was running continuously 5-6 days a week when Wheelabrator experts assessed the equipment and recommended an upgrade with the latest technology. Eager to keep up with increasing demands, ME Electmetal agreed and purchased the upgrade to improve productivity and reduce maintenance time.


Key pieces of the upgrade were four new double-sided EZEFIT blast wheels, which feature direct drives to reduce vibrations and wear.

The use of extremely long life wear parts means less maintenance and improved uptime.

Nick Gerard, Project Engineer at ME Electmetal, said: “Our maintenance technicians have found the new wheels very easy to take apart and reassemble, which means maintenance turnarounds have become extremely fast.”

"The EZEFIT wheels also blast very effectively. It’s given us the option of running only two or three wheels at a time, allowing us to clean castings evenly while using even less abrasive and power.”

In addition to the EZEFIT wheel upgrade, Wheelabrator experts recommended a new abrasive separator system that keeps the abrasive in top condition and free from sand and other contaminants, increasing wear life of wheel components.


The combination of new blast wheels and separator upgrade has decreased blast wheel maintenance at ME Electmetal by almost half.

Where the team previously had to change blades and liners every two weeks, they now only need to change them every 3-4 weeks.

Pete Gundrum, Regional Sales Manager at Wheelabrator Plus, summarized the upgrade: “We can achieve leaps in equipment performance by swapping old wheels for new technology, but it’s important to look at the whole machine and the interplay of its components. At ME Electmetal, modernising the shot separator was just as important as the wheel upgrade.”

“For most of our customers, it is no longer just about blast performance. With machines running 24/7, downtime has become a major cost factor and pressure is high to increase throughput. We’re here to help customers do this and get the most out of their equipment.”