Auto Manufacturer Moves toward Cleaner Air

Shot blasting is a method used to clean, strengthen, or polish metal. Almost every industry that uses metal uses shot blasting, including the automotive industry.

During the manufacturing of automobiles, a variety of aluminum parts are needed to produce a light weight, strong, and fuel efficient product. To meet the performance requirements required by the automobile company, several aluminum castings are created. Excess aluminum is removed from the casting by a steel shot blasting process, providing a polished, finished product.

The high pressure spray causes the blast media to break apart on impact, causing the metal or finish coating to become airborne. These irregular sized particles can be as small as 0.5 - 5.0 microns, which are undetectable to the naked eye. In addition to their size, their coarse nature makes them highly abrasive, causing them to fall into the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) explosive dust category.

The challenge in ventilating this type of process is to only collect the nuisance dust and not the steel shot material used in the cleaning process. Also, since aluminum dust is considered an explosive dust, this critical characteristic needs to be addressed.


The customer desired a dust collector that could be located close to the sandblasting process to minimize installation cost, meet all safety codes related to NFPA requirements, reduce housekeeping, and be operated as required in conjunction with the shot blast cleaning machines.


AAF provided a RotoClone® N complete with automatic sludge hopper ejector, Model A low water safety control and corrosion package. The water level control minimized water consumption while providing a safe system to the operate with the aluminum dust per NFPA light metals requirements. With the unit installed next to the sandblasting operation, the fan was exhausted with a silencer through the building roof. The fan and complete unit controls were included with the RotoClone® N.


The customer was extremely happy with the unit and the solution that it provided. With the installation of the RotoClone® N, the customer is able to turn the unit on and off whether the blasting machine is running, for complete operational flexibility. Additionally, a safe, quiet, and clean environment has been provided for the employees.