A Clean Solution for Shot Peened Aluminum

Shot peening is often referred to as the bombardment of metals with shot, or very small aluminum balls, in order to increase its material properties such as yield stress and porosity. This process can also increase the cycle life on a component, as it is less likely to crack or fracture. Shot peening is very similar to shot blasting, however, shot peening tends to be less abrasive and removes less material from the parent metal, resulting in a smaller amount of dust generation.

Without proper ventilation, shot peening booths can experience a problematic accumulation of aluminum debris on the floor and other surfaces, as well as aluminum dust and shot particles dispersing through the air. These particulates have a high potential for causing fires and explosions, requiring properly engineered equipment and systems to be used to minimize risk. An explosive event could shut down a company’s entire process so that extensive inspections and repairs can be made.

An industrial fabricator of welded aluminum components required for the construction of bridge assemblies utilized a shot peening process to finish their parts. Used extensively in the aerospace industry, shot peening is an effective method of surface finishing that will strengthen and provide stress relief to metal and alloy parts while also helping to prevent the propagation of micro-cracks.


The debris from the shot combined with the fine aluminum dust from the welded assemblies creates a significant amount of dust which needs to be removed while peening. The customer’s biggest challenge was airborne aluminum dust, which has a high explosion potential and requires a carefully designed solution.


The RotoClone® N is perfect for this aluminum shot peening application because it uses water as its collecting medium, making the equipment inherently explosion proof. The unit was specifically designed to handle heavy dust loading, which occurs in shot peening operations, suitable for loadings as high as 10 grains per cubic foot.


The RotoClone® N helped to ensure a safe workplace through the elimination of airborne dust. With no cartridges to replace, worker exposure to dirty filters was eliminated. The hopper configuration of the Rotoclone® N allowed for the continuous draining of the water/dust slurry.