For the best results in a refinishing or painting project, preparing the surface is of critical importance. Traditionally, surfaces were scrubbed and smoothed by hand using sandpaper. This method had many disadvantages, including time wastage and risk of inhaling harmful chemicals. Today, machines are used to prepare surfaces in a process called industrial sandblasting.
Industrial sandblasting makes use of abrasive material to texturize or clean a surface such as metal, brick and concrete. It is normally done to prepare the surface for refinishing or painting. This operation is aimed at knocking loose rust, old paint, dust, dirt and chalk so that the surface can be washed easily. Industries that make use of industrial blasting include the automotive industry, shipbuilding and other industries that carry out big surface preparation and painting projects. During the process, the abrasive material is propelled at high speed onto the surface.
Industrial sandblasting systems include three components. These include an abrasive container, a propelling gadget and a blasting nozzle. The choice of specific equipment depends largely on the abrasive material being used. Below are the most common machines used for industrial sandblasting:
1. The basic sandblasting machine: Consists of an air compressor, a tank that holds the abrasive, and a delivery system. This machine produces a lot of dust in the work area, and the operator must wear protective gear such as breathing apparatus. This type of machine is available in different sizes. It is used for various purposes, including paint removal and implement restoration.
2. The sandblasting cabinet: This machine keeps the danger posed by dust to a minimum by incorporating a built-in dust collector system. It is mainly used for the restoration of automotive parts. The part to be sandblasted is placed inside the blast cabinet, and it must, therefore, be small enough to fit.
3. The pressure blaster: This sandblasting machine sees a great deal of use in industrial cleaning. It delivers a high-pressure flow of abrasive material strong enough to strip paint and engraved materials from surfaces. It is portable and thus commonly used to clean sideways and curbs. The pressure blaster might incorporate environmentally safe media such as baking soda for more reliable and safer cleaning.
4. The wet sandblasting machine: This is a modified power washer that is mainly used where dust elimination is critical. It is used for lead abatement or other projects that can put the operator at serious health risks. The machine may not be very effective in removing heavy rust deposits but is safer to use.
Commonly used abrasives
Silica sand is often used where reclamation is not feasible. Silica sand has a high breakdown rate but results in significant dust generation. The worker should use full-body protection gear, for being exposed to crystalline silica can cause serious health risks.
Coal slags are mostly used at shipyards. Their use is associated with the advantages of reduced silica content. Black Beauty, TM is obtained by crushing slag consists from coal-fired utility boilers, and is a commonly use slag. Coal slags, however, release hazardous materials into the air.
Metallic abrasives such as cast iron grit, cast iron shot and steel shot are a cost effective option as they can be reclaimed and reused.
Synthetic abrasives are now being widely used to substitute sand. They produce less dust and can be used for longer periods. They can also be reclaimed and reused. Such abrasives include aluminium oxide and silicon carbide. Other abrasive materials used for industrial sandblasting include cut glass, glass beads, nut shells and mineral abrasives like olivine, garnet and staurolite. Mineral abrasives produce less dust than slag and sand abrasives.
The specific abrasive to be used in an application depends on the blasting method employed. Sand, metallic grit or shot, aluminium oxide (alumina), and silicon carbide shot are usually used in dryblasting. Wetblasters can use sand, glass beads and other materials that can be suspended in water.
Professional sandblasting experts in Texas ensure that parts that don’t need sandblasting are well covered before they start their work. They finish the job quickly so that the owner can continue using their machinery or space. Choosing a sandblasting company should be done carefully to ensure that only well-experienced people do the work. Remember that if sandblasting does not remove all the unwanted materials properly, the refinishing of painting project will not produce good results. The professional must make sure that the surface is thoroughly clean and as smooth as possible, especially if it is being prepared for painting.