Empire Abrasive Equipment Application Job Story – Medical Implants

stainless-steelMarket: Medical

Application: Abrasive blast cleaning of hip and shoulder implants

The Challenge:

A major manufacturer of hip and shoulder implants in the medical industry wanted to automate their abrasive blast cleaning procedure in order to improve the overall production process. The goal of the medical manufacturer was to increase the production rate by at least five hundred (500) hip and shoulder implants per eight-hour shift as well as to improve part consistency and quality. Read more

Expanding The Empire – Empire Abrasive Equipment Completes New Building Expansion

Late Spring 2016 – Empire Abrasive Equipment Company, a leading producer of air-blast equipment, announced today the completion of a significant expansion to their corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility located in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Designed to accommodate the growth of its custom automated blast cleaning systems, the additional manufacturing space will position the company to meet current and future sales growth while reducing overall manufacturing costs.

Expansion exterior “The market landscape has changed”, said Scott Nangle, Vice President of Marketing. “Previously automation was limited to small parts, but now customers want special automation systems to handle much larger parts – ones that typically would have required a blast room in the past”, he remarked.

Empire’s building expansion is a result of the double-digit sales growth they have experienced over the past five consecutive years. In addition, manpower has increased over 55% in the past seven years, from 80 to 125 employees.

The new addition has added 11,000 sq. ft. of production floor space to the existing building bringing the total to over 80,000 sq. ft. for the entire facility. It features two 5-ton overhead cranes with a combined 10,000 pounds lifting capacity and a loading dock that is undercover. A second entrance and exit to the property was also created along with the construction of additional parking and driveways. These were designed to alleviate congestion in the rear of the plant and to speed up the flow of shipments and deliveries to and from the facility.

The new space is organized to provide an ideal environment for the efficient and timely production of complex robotic automated systems. With the market’s demand for increasingly larger systems, the addition was designed with a minimum 35 foot clear span beneath the hooks of the dual cranes. This now gives Empire the ability to build and test much larger equipment in-house rather than having to build on-site. For example, in a recently produced system, an individual part to be blasted weighed over 3,500 lbs. requiring a two-story blast room as part of the automated system. In another, the cranes were used to lift small equipment over one another in order to improve the overall workflow.

Airblast machine new spaceEmpire currently ships over 300 standard and custom grit blast and peening systems per year. With this building expansion, Empire will also be reorganizing the rest of their facility and manufacturing methodology to be more efficient in the production of their full line of standard blast cabinets and custom blast rooms.

The building expansion and reorganization of the existing facility will benefit Empire’s customers by providing better lead times on equipment and lower overall costs over time.

Airblast machine new space
Grit blast close new space
New Building Exterior side

Empire Spring Training Seminar 2014

We are excited to announce dates for the 42nd Spring Training Seminar at Empire Abrasive Equipment in Langhorne, PA. This spring, the seminar will be held between Tuesday April 29th and Thursday May 01st. This much-awaited biannual event is very popular among Empire distributors and select customers, attracting a global audience.
Empire Building











Empire has designed this seminar to suit the requirements of a wide spectrum of industry members. An entrant into the field of blast cleaning and shot peening is assured to leave the sessions with a good understanding of not only the Empire product range, but also cognizance of blast techniques. Participants with prior knowledge of the industry and product will gain a richer perspective of applications and equipment by sharing their knowledge and learning from peers in the industry.

This seminar has traditionally attracted active technical discussions between participants and Empire experts on common issues faced by users of blast cleaning and shot peening equipment. The level of expertise available in a single location to respond to such questions is unmatched anywhere else in the industry. More importantly, we have designed this seminar to be hands-on with our demo lab and shop available for ready references.

Some of the topics that our experts will cover include:

•    Principles of blasting (suction and pressure)
•    Standard and modified cabinets
•    Media reclamation and dust collection
•    Portable equipment
•    Automation and Robotics
•    Shot Peening principles
•    Airblast rooms
•    Safety equipment
•    Start-up tips
•    Customer service

Please contact your Regional Sales Manager for a detailed seminar schedule.

What’s new this session?

Empire has evolved as an airblast equipment manufacturer over the years. A vast majority of the automated equipment manufactured incorporates robotics. Most recently, Empire was awarded a several contracts to build sophisticated robotic systems.  We expect one of these systems to be in its final stages of assembly during the course of this seminar. We will also be demonstrating our newly acquired robotic software and its capabilities to animate path programs – a tool that will greatly enhance your presentation when discussing such equipment with your customers.

We look forward to hosting your visit to Langhorne, PA this Spring! Please contact your local Empire Regional Sales Manager to make arrangements.
Empire Training





Demo lab

Automation Overview: TT20 Indexing Turntable Machines

Indexing Turntables are among the most common equipment to automate your blast operation. Their design has certain inherent features that promote versatility, ease and economy of operation. Such machines are often classified by their main table size, quantity of nozzles, and type of media propulsion, i.e. suction and pressure.

Empire TT Indexing Turntable Machines are manufactured in three standard versions, TT-20 (20″ diameter), TT-36 (30″ diameter) and TT-48 (48″ diameter). Our focus for discussion here is the smallest of the range, TT-20.

The TT-20 was designed with the goal of providing a cleaning or peening solution with all the versatility of an indexing turntable machine, all in a very compact footprint. The TT-20 is available to you with either four suction or pressure nozzles, as required by your application. The tenacity of your cleaning application, or the intensity requirements of your shot peening application will determine the choice of media propulsion.

As with all indexing turntables, in the TT-20 loading/unloading of parts takes place under the cover of blasting.

TT20 Peening System Small Footprint

The engineers at Empire place special emphasis on your individual requirements, whether it be space constraint in your plant or a special technique in your manufacturing process requiring the inclusion of additional process control components in the TT-20. In the current example (see insert), the TT-20 performs a critical peening operation on aerospace components requiring a vibratory classifier, multiple outlet pressure vessel and dust collector, all in a very compact footprint in order to fit customer’s existing plant layout and constraints.

Industry and Applications:

  • Medical : A relatively recent adopter of blast cleaning and shot peening processes leaves our customers in the medical industry with very limited space availability. With a minor table modification to the TT-20, it can be upgraded to a 12 station configuration, producing two cleaned or peened medical component with every index of the main table.
  • Aerospace: When processing of small blades with vent  / cooling holes, the TT20 provides a pressurized part rotation station that blows air up through the blade to and prevents media from staying lodged in critical internal areas. In the absence of such an arrangement, the blast media has a tendency to clog the holes resulting in a scrap part.
  • Automotive: Small transmission components
  • Friction parts
  • Cylinders for airbags
  • Brake rotors

TT-20 features:

2013-11-14 15.27.06

System includes:
o    Cabinet
o    Work handling (main table & satellites)
o    Media Storage hopper
o    Media reclaim
o    Make Up hopper
o    Dust Collector

Blast capabilities
o    Three (3) blast stations provide excellent coverage
o    4 to 8 suction blast nozzles
o    2 to 6 Pressure blast nozzles
o    6  or 12 station satellites
o    1 or 2 part index (depends on part sizes)

Other features:
o    Tight footprint ideally suited to work in a cell
o    Systems PLC permits  versatility of operation
o    Vertical sliding work doors seal the blast operation for dust and noise
o    Faster cycles due to smaller turntable (Quicker index time)
o    Ease of accessibility for maintenance
o    Urethane ducting (optional item) helps reduce foot print

hopper-duct- reclaimer

o    Easy part loading and unloading from the front
2013-11-14 15.27.41

Makeup hopper:

2013-11-14 15.27.06

TT20 Cell Machine (2)

The blast system is regularly replenished using an automatic Make-up Hopper. This hopper adds virgin media to the system whenever the storage hopper runs low on media. This controlled replenishment helps maintain proper operating mix resulting in a consistent part finish.

The TT20 offers many safety features including:
o    Light curtains at load/unload station
o    Door safety interlocks
o    Door locks (if needed)
o    Vertical sliding doors

2013-11-14 15.26.42











As with all automated Empire systems, the TT-20 is completely tested with abrasive, with customers in attendance with their production parts, prior to shipment. This ensures trouble-free installation and quick start-up at the installation site.

Contact Empire to learn how the TT-20 or one of our suitable systems for your application can add to the profitability of your operation If unsure, why not visit our demo facility in Langhorne, PA to process your components in one of our several demo machines?

Eliminate The Guesswork Out Of Cleaning And Peening

Welcome to the most sophisticated and comprehensive test facility for airblast peening and cleaning applications. Welcome to the Demo Center at Empire in Langhorne, PA (USA).

Whether you are an existing user of cleaning or peening equipment, or a novice to the process, the Empire Demo Center has tremendous potential with tips to increase your productivity and add to the profitability of your operation.

As an advanced manufacturing plant, you have other critical parts of your production process that demand your attention. Most often, this results in an unintentional neglect of processes such as blast cleaning and shot peening. Interestingly, this neglect could lead to higher operating costs and equipment wear than normal. Let’s take the instance when your customer has introduced a new product and would like to partner with you and develop the cleaning or shot peening specifications and procedure for this new component. Empire is here to help with its demo center in both instances. Here’s how:

  • Review your existing application and equipment use with Empire by testing your production parts in one of over ten machine types on Demo Center.
  • Demo results could prove that maybe you have been using higher blast pressure than required, perhaps a different media type or size could provide you better results. Both changes will reduce your operating costs.
  • The Demo Center has equipment with varying and increasing degrees of automation. If your new production needs demand a slightly higher degree of automation, the Demo Center provides you the choice of equipment to test the same.
  • Shot peening is a process that’s either misunderstood or completely new to a lot of end users. Visit the Demo Center. Our experts in this process will carry out peening tests on your part samples, to varying levels of impact energy (shot peening intensity), that you will be able to conduct fatigue tests on at your plant. Along the way, we will also help you develop your peening parameters and even help you conform to an established specification.

Empire Demo Lab

The Empire Demo Center has the entire range of airblast equipment available for tests, starting from the simplest manual handblast cabinet to sophisticated robotic cells for single part flow. All this equipment is available for your testing, most times without any charge.

We look forward to seeing you in our Demo Center and help you increase the profitability of your cleaning and peening operation!