If you can treat a metal surface with sandpaper and abrasive brushes and get excellent results, why use any other method? We found out in a building in Cincinnati, OH, the home of ARKU, Inc.
Fifth Wave Manufacturing has already covered the EdgeBreaker 3000, the EdgeBreaker 4000, and did a video on the EdgeBreaker 6000. In all of these cases, the machines used abrasive brushes, belts, and drums to get the job done, be it deburring or rounding.
Now we get to experience the EdgeBreaker 5000, which specializes in removing slag from flame-cut (oxy) and plasma-cut parts. We are talking about thick parts, up to about 4” (100 mm), where flame and plasma shine (although the EdgeBreaker 5000 can remove slag from something as thin as 2 mm). Like the deburring products we explored, the maximum width is 51” (1,300 mm).
To help illustrate the unique challenges of the job, let’s consider before and after photos (Figures 1 and 2, respectively). The before picture clearly shows the slag which must be removed; the after photo shows a slag-free part. While removing slag, the pins lightly graze the surface without damaging or denting it.
It’s all about the pins
Inside the EdgeBreaker 5000 are two processing units. As you’ll see in our first video, each processing unit is a set of five disks set in a line perpendicular to the path of the workpiece. One line is closest to the entry point, one line is closest to the exit point. On each disk are 15 pins (See Figure 3 for a look at one of the 10 installed pin disks).
The pins are calibrated to just “kiss” the surface while effectively getting rid of slag. The pins wear on one side first because they rotate in one direction. Once the leading edge of the pin wears, you can reverse the rotation and take advantage of the other side. You can continue to do this for the life of the pin, which can be 2,000 hours or even more, according to the company. It depends on the slag and the throughput/disk rotation speed. They wear down until they’re very low.
When it’s time to change a pin disk, you use the control interface to put the disk into a change position. From there, a change takes only a few minutes. To change, you remove the pins from the disks and affix new pins. The pins come in various stiffness ratings to let you process a variety of slag sizes.
Let’s have our now-familiar ARKU host, marketing pro Denis Weinfurtner, take us through the inside story of the EdgeBreaker 5000:
Because you’re not sanding off small particles and creating dust and powder, there is no need for a dust removal system with this product. The bits of slag simply fall to the bottom of the machine as they are removed. It’s easy to clean the machine; you simply empty the slag debris bins inside the machine.
Now let’s test it
This would not be an Under the Hood story unless we ran some steel through, and we will in a moment. We start with a look at the slag we will remove:
Notice there are gaps in the sound when the part first goes into the machine; it is at the first processing unit (remember, the units oscillate back and forth, so that causes the initial gap in sound). When it hits the second processing unit, the sound becomes continuous because both processing units are at work. As it moves away from the first processing unit and only uses the second, once again there is intermittent sound.
You can adjust how far each unit oscillates back and forth. You can utilize the entire width of the machine, or just certain areas.
Notice also that with the EdgeBreaker 5000 we are not trying to put a mirror-like finish on any parts. We are merely trying to remove slag that might be either inconvenient or dangerous when we get to downstream processes.
This product is compact; the processing happens in a much shorter path than its brethren. You don’t need a lot of room to run the two processing units. Floor space is not a crucial issue.
And one last thing to note, that when we showed the slag on the first part of the video, it was merely to show you what the machine was up against. Normally we would leave the slag side down as it came off the cutter so we would not need to flip it, since the processing happens on the bottom of the part.
If you cut with flame or plasma and process thick parts, the EdgeBreaker 5000 is an option to investigate.