Distressing Alternative To Tumbling

New surface distressing equipment for the North American market will be unveiled by German landscape unit producer and machinery manufacturer KBH at MCPX

Alwin Bennmann

New surface distressing equipment for the North American market will be unveiled by German landscape unit producer and machinery manufacturer KBH at MCPX [Booth 333], Feb. 7-9, in Denver. Named ÎDancing WeightÌ System, the latest model of the surface-distressing machine creates a tumbled/aged look on a variety of concrete products, including slabs, pavers, curbstones and retaining wall elements, with virtually zero cull rate. In less than two years, KBH reports, more than 30 Dancing Weight Systems have been sold, including 11 in North America.

The new surface-distressing systems can be integrated, as well as retrofitted, in paver/block line operations, regardless of plant supplier. Output from a Dancing Weight System easily matches paver/block machine cycle times, KBH affirms. And, labor-intensive manual sorting and cubing are no longer required. Moreover, product changeover is accomplished completely hands off, providing maximum safety and greater efficiency, product engineers contend.

Off-line operation is an option, with possible in-line installation at a later date as demand increases. Nonetheless, most lately commissioned KBH lines have been installed according to the in-line mode.

Generally, a concrete layer produced by the paver/block machine Û and retaining the configuration of its mold Û is transported by means of a pusher or a pick-and-place cuber from the production pallet to the in-feed line of the Dancing Weight System. The emptied pallet is moved forward on the dry-side conveyor, as product is indexed through the surface-distressing equipment to create a tumbled look.

The KBH system is innovative in employing a vibratory impulse to make the concrete product, i.e., pavers, slabs, or retaining wall elements, dance. As a result, the Dancing Weights make random contact with the concrete to produce a distressed surface. Debris from edge breaking is fully removed during and after processing and, thus, is not trapped between individual stones or product layers Û an essential step to avoid contaminating cubes and creating difficulties when cubing distressed layers.

On the out-feed line of the KBH System, a shuttle deck receives the manufactured stone layers and positions them on the layer-transfer machine, typically a pusher or pick-and-place cuber. The distressed or aged-stone layers are transported back to the empty production pallet, which is conveyed to position under the main cuber to fabricate finished components. Alternately, the layer of distressed product can be indexed directly under the main cuber.

Occasionally, space restrictions in existing plants require special retrofit solutions. Accordingly, KBH can provide customized designs that enable producers to achieve what company officials describe as a first-class aged look at low operational cost. Besides the Dancing Weight System, KBH offers cubing lines and all necessary conveying systems, thereby supplying a total solution for all applications.

A popular setup combines the Dancing Weight System with an abrasive, coated surface brush. When added to the outfeed line of the distressing equipment, the brush smooths the surface of the distressed product, brightening its color. The Brush and the Dancing Weight System can be used independently. Thus, three modes of operation include (1) distressing/aging only; (2) distressing/aging and surface brush; and, (3) surface brush only. KBH notes, however, that a surface brush added to the Dancing Weight System helps ensure differentiation of a producer’s landscape units.

As the operater of two paver/block plants in Germany’s sophisticated precast market, KBH adds, the company is especially suited to offer a wide range of solutions for the production and distressing of concrete products. Besides the latest Siemens PLC control systems, KBH can supply Allen Bradley control systems as an option.

Alwin Bennmann, KBH North American Representative, [email protected]; (phone) 01149 4942 204 737