March 04, 2016

The Top Sand Blaster Alternatives

For many years, sandblasting was considered the best method for abrasive cleaning and surface preparation. Today, a number of professionals seek alternatives, as sand can sometimes be difficult to work with, and can even pose health problems. This is especially true in cases where silica based sand is used as a media, which can lead to small particles entering the lungs, resulting in silicosis, a serious occupational lung disease. While sandblasting still has its place, especially when safe media is used, there are a number of professionals who are seeking blasting methods that are not as harsh as sand, and that are safer for the environment and for anyone around the worksite.

Let’s take a look at some of the best alternatives to sandblasting that are available for professionals.

Interested in an Eco-Friendly Blaster?

A sand blaster can be difficult to operate and expensive to run. In recent years, the following alternatives have been amongst the most popular blasting methods used by professionals.

Agricultural media has been used as an abrasive in some blasting applications. This is the use of broken down nut shells, seeds, and kernels from organic food. Using this type of media is able to provide an ecological advantage, because it makes use of the waste that is created from food processing and preparation. Another benefit of this blasting media is that it is not as abrasive as sand, so it is suitable for cleaning surfaces without damaging the underlying material, and in many cases it won’t damage the original finish of the surface. The downside, is that agricultural media may not be readily available in every market.

Bead blasting is also popular, and can be used in situations where sand would be inappropriate, impractical, and damaging to the material that is being blasted. This method uses small glass beads that break up upon impact, removing surface residue and contaminants. It is especially popular in applications where the surface has been contaminated with fungal growth. It can also be used to remove calcium from around pool areas, fountains, and other water features.

Dry Ice can also be used as media, and is popular in a number of industries. Unlike sand, there are no contaminants that can pose health problems to someone who is performing the blasting, although dry ice does need to be handled safely to avoid accidents. Dry ice, like bead blasting and agricultural media blasting, will not damage the surface that it is being applied to. There is also no leftover residue from using dry ice, aside from the broken down remains of the material that is being removed through the blasting process. In many cases, a simple hose wash will complete the cleaning process on the surface. Dry ice machines for blasting, have steadily risen in popularity.

These are three alternatives are useful in certain scenarios, and are popular in a number of industries. At Daimer, we understand the need to provide options, while also providing solutions that can reduce costs and improve safety. This is why we offer another alternative, which is the Coulson heavy duty ice blaster machine.

What is an Industrial Ice Blaster?

Much like sandblasting and the alternatives mentioned, an ice blaster also uses compressed air to accelerate media towards the surface that is being cleaned or prepared. Ice blasting should not be confused with dry ice blasting, because instead of using carbon dioxide in solid form, an ice blasting machine uses readily available water, which is frozen and then used as the media in the blasting process.

Ice blasting is an all-in-one process, which is to say that you don’t need to add media to the unit. Ice is created inside the ice blast machine, through refrigeration and the use of an immersed cold drum. As the machine operates, ice is continually formed under stress, and is broken off by a stationary blade before it is fed into a tube using vacuum air. The ice fragments then mix with compressed air before finally being propelled through a nozzle for any specific blasting application. This method is particularly energy efficient, because it does not require large blocks of ice to be formed. The refrigeration technique used is highly reliable and built using proven technologies, and because there are no mechanical parts needed to break or distribute the ice, there are few maintenance concerns with such a unit.

When ice is used for blasting, it is characteristically similar to dry ice, with the difference being that an ice blaster can be continuously run on a work site or in an industrial setting, without the need to resupply and handle any solid carbon dioxide. An ice blaster leaves no residue, and because additional water is not needed in the application process, it is more environmentally friendly than conventional blasting methods.

Countless Applications for an Industrial Ice Blaster Machine

The niche technology of ice blasting is rising in popularity, and is already being used in industries as varied as aerospace and military, food and beverage, timber engineering, automotive, and for general maintenance and cleaning in construction and other industries. The combination of being mildly abrasive, safe, and cost efficient, all mean that ice blasting could be exactly what you need if you’re looking for an eco-friendly blaster.

To learn more, contact us at Daimer Industries, and find out if this high tech and highly versatile blasting device is the right machine for your business.


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