Preparing Surfaces! Here’s all you must know about types of blasting methods

Various surfaces require cleaning and preparation work. And most industries such as the concrete one find blasting services as one of the most convenient ways to do so. However, their use isn’t limited to just one industry, they are being employed by many around the globe. 
With this blog, you’ll learn all about grit blasting and its modern forms. 

What is Grit Blasting? 

Also referred to as Sandblasting, grit blasting is a surface treatment process that employs abrasive particles that are fired through a nozzle using compressed air. 

Grit blasting is mostly used in a wide range of industries to clean or modify the surface properties of components. 
Depending on the application, the particles utilised in the process range from walnut shells (relatively soft), through various types of sands, to silicon carbide, emery particles, or alumina. 

In the process, the methods of propelling also might vary and can include entrainment in compressed vapour (usually steam), liquid (typically water), air and mechanical projection methods (e.g. rotating paddles). 

Grit blasting is used for removing sand or scaling in the fettling of castings and also for the dressing of stampings and billets, etc. The process is often used for metal coatings in the UK and for preparing surfaces before welding (to remove rust, paint, or scale) and then enhance the adhesion of coatings.  

Just as sandblasting and blast cleaning, initially grit blasting was solely employed to rejuvenate a tired-looking surface. But, now it has become a necessity in recent construction and production practices. It’s currently being used to prepare the surface for repairing and cleaning surfaces for repainting or creating an improved surface for achieving the best possible cohesion of adhesives. 

Today, the industry rarely uses sand as a treatment media because sand has specific properties that make it challenging to work with. Let’s see some modern types of blasting methods used by experts in the industry: 

1. Bead Blasting

This type of grit blasting is effective in removing small or average-sized build-ups on the surface by running small glass beads against the surface. The process is highly useful as it helps in eliminating unwanted build-ups without damaging the main surface underneath. 

The application of this process lies in cleaning pool tiles, vehicle bodywork, grout, or producing a smooth finish on machined parts and eliminating embedded fungus. 

Benefits of Bead Blasting include the following: 

  • Suitable for sensitive machined parts
  • Glass bead media is less toxic to the environment
  • Easy to collect and recycle glass media
  • Alternative to using various-sized glass bead abrasives for different surfaces 

2. Wet Abrasive Blasting 

Well known as the alternative to sandblasting, wet abrasive blasting is a multi-purpose and fairly more adaptable method of grit blasting. With this method, you can use media ranging from super fine to coarser materials, which may include media with a variety of different densities. 

Wet abrasive blasting services are quite useful in eliminating dust and hazardous substances such as asbestos without any danger. 

Few benefits of wet abrasive blasting include:

  • Reduced production of dust
  • No media impregnation into blasted surfaces
  • Thorough cleaning of detailed or uneven surfaces 
  • Generates an exceptional surface for plating and bonding
  • Prevents the need to use toxic or harmful chemicals 

3. Hydro Blasting

Another grit blasting variant, which is much similar to bead blasting. The original surface isn’t damaged in this blasting process, and no media is used during the process as well. Therefore, it’s a convenient method to choose if the cleaning surface is challenging to operate. 

Typically, a hydro blasting will employ high-pressure stream of water, with 10,000 psi pressure and will efficiently clean dirt, paint or chemicals from internal or external surfaces without causing any sort of damage. 

Benefits of employing Hydro blasting method:

  • The water used in the process can be recollected and recycled. 
  • Water acts as a neutral liquid, which is non-corrosive and non-harmful.
  • Hydro-blasting machines achieved pinpoint accuracy.
  • Least post-process clean up required. 

4. Dry Ice Blasting

This grit blasting technique dislodges all the contaminants on a surface using frozen particles of carbon dioxide. These particles are drummed against the surface at high velocity. 

Dry ice is a softer material than the sand; the process is preferred over sandblasting as it’s less harmful to delicate or sensitive surfaces. It leaves no residue, ultimately speeding up the clean-up process.  

Few of the added benefits of dry ice blasting are as follows: 

  • Useful in cleaning individual moulds during use, reducing factory downtime
  • Dry ice is non-flammable, non-toxic, and non-conductive
  • The workers are free from any harm or damage

5. Micro-Abrasive Blasting 

As the name suggests, the micro-abrasive blasting uses a direct small stream of abrasive material to a specifically targeted area using a nozzle of not more than 1.5mm in diameter to cover an area of 1 mm2 to 3 cm2. Likewise, it’s also referred to as ‘pencil blasting’, and is employed mostly for delicate operations. 

The process can also be used to write on surfaces such as glass. 

Benefits of Micro-abrasive blasting includes the following:

  • Complex detailing achievable
  • No heat no vibration, hence ideal for working with silicon slices
  • Highly accurate with delicate parts
  • Can be utilised in a wide range of industries

So, these were some of the latest and modern grit blasting services that you can reach out to in the UK. Choose the best for the kind of work that you’re up to. 

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