Thoroughly cleaning metal surfaces can take much time using traditional manual methods. Media blasting gets the job done quickly and efficiently. The shape of the abrasive media particles makes a difference. Like silica sand, parts with a knife-like body are cut through a substrate or coating. Like glass beads, others are rounded and peen the surface like a hammer blow.
Preparing for Painting or Coating
If you plan on powder coating, you must ensure that all oils, dirt and rust have been completely removed from the item to be coated. Media Blast is one of the best tools for ensuring that all dust and rust are gone from your metal items before you proceed with your new coating. The blasting medium you choose also plays a role in the level of cleanliness that results. For example, a light and gentle abrasive like pumice or walnut shells works well for mild stripping without damaging the surface underneath. At the same time, more coarse materials like coal slag or steel shot are more suitable for heavy blasting. Vapor blast equipment can handle wet and soda blasting, which helps you meet a wide range of project requirements. For instance, soda and dry ice blasting can clean up hazardous chemicals and mold. This can help you stay in compliance with environmental health and safety standards, as well as reduce containment and cleanup costs.
Preparation for Painting or Coating
Besides removing rust and corrosion, media blasting prepares products for painting or coating. Before an item can be powder coated, it must be free of oils, dirt, fungus, paint and damaged plating (like zinc, nickel or chrome). Media blasting easily removes these contaminants, preparing the item for the next step. A soft blasting medium like sodium bicarbonate or walnut shells can be used for more sensitive surfaces. A harder abrasive, such as garnet or silicon carbide, is used for tougher metal surfaces. Traditional abrasive media can leave residue on the surface, affecting coating performance. Baking soda does not leave any residue, which saves you time in the cleanup process. If your shop uses abrasive media regularly, you can invest in a reclaim system to quickly reuse spent media. This will save you money on replacement costs and increase the time your blasting equipment is in service.
Media blasting, also known as sandblasting, uses an air-powered blast system to propel abrasive materials against surfaces to clean or remove material. Depending on the type of abrasive used, it can be gentle enough for use on fragile or soft surfaces like glass and stone and powerful enough to remove old paint, scale or rust from metal. Sandblasting has long been a common cleaning solution but has some downsides. Not only does sand create thermal sparks that can be dangerous, but it can also cause the respiratory illness known as silicosis. The good news is that sand can be replaced with safer, more environmentally friendly materials. Plastic media, for instance, is increasingly being used to eliminate rust without digging into the underlying metal, and it can be recycled afterward. This allows for rapidly removing rust and corrosion that would otherwise take hours to accomplish by hand with chemical solutions.
Keeping Your Metal Surfaces Looking Like New
Whether your products are steel, aluminum or any other material, they can be protected from corrosion and kept looking new with a quick blasting application. With the right media and blast pressure, you can achieve various surface finishing goals, from roughening to smoothing. Blast media is available in various types, from hard minerals and metals such as copper or steel grit to softer materials like corncobs or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Some are even environmentally friendly, while others can cause thermal sparks when used on engine components. Next-generation vapor blasting equipment can use soft abrasives for delicate substrates or switch to coarse materials to tackle heavily corroded and thickly coated metals. The versatility of a vapor blasting system allows you to easily meet the unique needs of each project with one machine. With a high reclaim rate, you can use spent abrasive media several times before it requires replacement.