Case Study – If your fabrication workshop is not considering synchronising the shot-blasting and beamline together and working both machines in lights out automation perhaps you should be?



Let’s investigate how investing in a fully automated beamline and shot blasting machine synchronised together will have a lower cost of ownership than a cheap beamline specified to the steel service centre performance outcomes.

Recently it was agreed that a fabricator in Australia has committed to Kaltenbach as their partner for the first fully automated beamline and shot blasting machine to be commissioned in the country.

When reviewing the finance cost and including 20% unskilled labour working 24×6 for material handling with a side loader. This fabricator can add this capability for a budget price of $4.66/ meter for shot blasted and fully processed profiles when synchronising both machines working in automatic mode. This number was calculated on a conservative 30m/hour of complex processing involving the full functionality of the beamline. Our client suggests for the steel they will be processing they forecast averaging closer to 45-50m/hour.

The profit when a fabricator combines both shot blasting and beamline machines would provide a significant competitive advantage into pending projects and tenders. Our client considers a reasonable charge out rate would be $800/hour which is the standard rate for these machines to be operated individually with the operators driving steel through each machine which is a redundant process when investing with Kaltenbach.

When charging out at $800/hour this is around $27/meter for processing/shotblasting automation/complex cope milling/layout marking on all four sides/drilling/tapping/bandsaw/automatic material handling/20% labour. This would allow the following margin to be won so the ROI would be less than 1 year. Kaltenbach has these synchronised machines commissioned in the Netherlands and other locations around the world. The installation in the Netherlands also has a Zeman Conti Plus that enjoys the benefit of clean steel being presented to the SBA for fabrication and welding the add-on parts automatically. View more.

A fabricator’s true cost of ownership and profit can be more attractive to invest in both these synchronised beamlines rather than the cheapest beamline like the steel service centres are committed to purchasing. When labour to drive both machines is included and the 40% additional labour required when the steel arrives at the fitter/boilermakers workshop bench for the processing to be completed that would be automated on the SMS beamline the fabricators costs increase, capacity decreases with the schedule which isn’t what a fabricator wants from any machinery investment, is it?

  1. SMS beamline + shot blasting machine in full automation mode with 20%
    labour of 1 person to load/unload both machines.
    • Machine finance cost and labour per day will be budget – $3360AUD
    • The total cost of ownership for a minimum budget of 720 meters per day for processing and shot blasting will be $3360/ day and $140/hour or $4.66/meter
    • Charge our rate $800/hour per 24 hours $19,200 /day
    • 24×6 or 300 days 5,760,00 income so ROI 6 months or 12 months
      whilst building to 24×6 production or 720 linear meters per day of
  2. SMS competitor beamline that steel service centre purchases
    • Budget finance price $1000/day
    • Labour 24×6 @$75/hour $1800/day only working one machine.
    • If a shot blasting machine is required that requires labour increase the daily cost of ownership to $1800
    • 40% labour required to finish off profiles with 10 fitters $5400/day
    • Contract shotblasting $400/hour 720m/day @ 2m/hour = 24 hours
      • As 1-3 profiles can be processed at one time on a shot blasting machine let's assume 40% of 24 hours = $3,840/day
    • The total cost of ownership for shot blasting, processing and finishing off profiles on the workshop bench when investing in the same beamline as a steel service centre will be $12,040/day or $500/hour and $16.72/meter
    • Income from beamline only is $400/hour is $9600/day – $12,040 costs per day is NET LOSS – $2,440per day to the fabricator after investing in a beamline that has a similar specification to a steel service centre

The numbers used in this example are a guide and will change based on the exchange rate the machines are purchased at, finance interest rates will vary and labour rates an individual workshop applies to the operators. We encourage clients of SMS to work in partnership to validate these numbers for their own ROI and charge our rates to the market.


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