Industrial Media Blasting

 In Blog

Through industrial media blasting, Storee Construction is able to breathe new life into older equipment or machinery. With a variety of media-blasting equipment, we are able to clean off the sides of buildings, remove layer after layer of paint, or clean out chemical residue when refinishing holding tanks.

For decades, sandblasting was used to remove old coats of paint, rust, stickers, and other imperfections from steel, aluminum, and other materials. This was done to either bring the original look back to life or to prepare the surface for re-painting or additional protective coatings.

It was the best system at the time and until recently was the go-to product for refinishing. Unfortunately, the type of sand used for best results contained crystalline silica, which we now know causes a specific type of respiratory illness.

The sand would break down during use, releasing small particles of silica into the air. These airborne pollutants would find their way past protective gear (if any was worn) and into the lungs. Once the silica took hold in the lungs, pulmonary silicosis sets in. This is marked by shortness of breath, coughing, and fever.

Otherwise known as “dust lung,” this illness could lead to death if not treated soon enough. This occupational hazard happens in other occupations as well, such as masonry or work in underground mines. Clearly, an alternative needed to be found for performing the debris removal tasks.

What is Media Blasting?

Following the same principles of pressure washing with water, industrial media blasting equipment uses metal shot, plastic, glass beads, and even walnut shells to clean off a surface. It is essentially the same process as sandblasting, just with abrasive materials that are much safer than sand and silica.

The media is placed in a blast pot that is attached to the blast machine. Usually in the form of a tank, although you could use an open bucket, media is brought through a hose to the blasting gun by an engine. Usually used on metals, it can be used on other surfaces as well with the proper media.

If you are unsure about the level of compressed air in your blasting system, make sure to test it first. Find an unseen or hidden part of the material and give it a blast or two. The type of media used will also affect the proficiency of the job.

Media Blasting Applications

Part of the appeal of industrial media blasting is refinishing old parts to make them look new again by removing decades of age. This could be paint, rust, oxidation, and just years of grease, oil, and grime. The advantage of using a high-velocity blaster is the ability to save most of the media with enough planning.

Depending on the size of the metal you’re working with, there are large blasting rooms, media blasting cabinets, or portable blasting machines that can be used on-site. The smaller the work area, the easier it is to save the media being used. A blasting cabinet is ideal for small metalwork, such as engine parts, art pieces, or panels that need refinishing.

For larger jobs, a blasting room is used. This allows the user more mobility to get harder to reach areas or for more efficient blasting. Depending on the size of the object, you’ll want to make sure the object is held down – sandblasters are highly pressured vessels capable of launching shot several yards!

Although it’s nearly impossible to save all blasting media when working outside, a well-placed tarp and concentrated blasting area will save a majority of it. Although the media is very small and is relatively harmless on the ground, it can get expensive to keep buying it over and over again.