When Wheelabrator Does Big


Wheelabrator machines are rarely considered light and slender, but have you ever wondered how big our biggest blast machine might be? We were curious, so we investigated – and found these three giant contenders.

Blast power in sequence

In April 2017, a machine designed by the Wheelabrator team in Zürich broke an internal record as the first ever 5-module HB strip descaling machine. The team had previously designed HB machine arrangements with up to six modules, but this was achieved by linking separate 2- to 3-module machines.

With this new machine, for a customer in Taiwan, it was necessary to connect five blast chambers, each with four powerful U105x500 blast wheels, directly to accommodate the required blast power within a shorter-than-usual space at the customer. The new HB strip descaling machine is only 28.5m ‘short’, but has a combined blast power of 2200kW from 20 blast wheels.

Combining air and wheel

Another contender for biggest machine comes from our team in Metelen, Germany, who in 2013 delivered its largest ever combined shot blast machine to Liebherr Container Cranes Ltd in Killarney, Ireland.

Designed as a combined pass-through monorail shot blast machine, the beast is 36m long, 8m in width and height, and split in two along the axis of transport. Inside, 24 TITAN blast wheels are arranged along two intersecting circles. Parts then pass through a touch-up area for manual air blasting and abrasive removal. The machine blast cleans crane components weighing up to 52t and with dimensions of up to 52m length, 3.5m width, and 4.2m height.

The mysterious monster

While the above machines certainly show scale and complexity, a mystery machine designed by the Metelen team and clandestinely commissioned in 2015 impresses with sheer brute force. It features 48 blast wheels – the highest number of turbines ever to be installed on a single machine. Unfortunately, that is all we can reveal about this mysterious monster.

Have a potential record-breaker of your own? Tell us about it on Twitter or via e-mail.