Sandblasting is an umbrella term that applies to all media blasting processes, although its original and technically meaning refers exclusively to media blasting processes that employ sandblasters and silica blasting media. Sandblast equipment, therefore, is machinery that has been designed to treat a surface with pressurized particles.
Other than blasting, surface treatments by sandblasting equipment include: descaling, degreasing, deburring, coat removal, smoothing, roughening, etching and carving. Surface treatments can be applied to all sorts of plastic, glass, metal and wood, depending on the equipment configuration and blasting media they’re paired with.
Traditional sandblast equipment is divided into two main categories: wet and dry. Wet sandblasters, used mostly with surfaces that need cooling, spray a combination of blasting media and pressurized water. Dry sandblasters, the more common of the two, blast powerfuls stream of air-compressor fed abrasives through a nozzle. (“Abrasives” is another term used to refer blasting/polishing/grinding media.
Abrasives are either loosely gathered or formed into bricks, files or wheels or stuck to cloth or paper with resin or glue.) This is the basic configuration of dry sandblasters, but they are also broken down into three common three subtype configurations–siphon, pressure pot and gravity-fed. Siphon sandblasters work by passing a stream of compressed air next to unpressurized abrasives that, due to the pressure change, get caught up in the stream.
Siphon sandblasters work almost the exact same way, except that abrasives are negatively pressurized to allow for a more efficient air-particle combination. Unlike the previous two, gravity-fed sandblaster systems use gravity itself to direct abrasives into the air stream. Read More…
Other variable factors that affect the function of sandblasting equipment are blasting media shape and blasting media composition. Generally, blasting media shapes are divided into two categories–angular, or sharp-edged, particulates and rounded beads. Angular particulates are chosen for applications like descaling, surface texturing and cleaning, deburring and paint and coating stripping.
Usually, angular media is made of flaked carbides, ceramics, copper, aluminum, gold, iron, glass, plastic, steel, wood or acrylics or baking soda, silica, nut shells or fruit kernels. Rounded beads can be used as media for the same as applications as angular particulates, but additionally, they can be used in peening and shot blasting. Rounded media are usually made of some sort of glass, metal or ceramic beads.
Non-traditional sandblast equipment includes: grit blasters, shot blasters, micro-blast or micro-jet machines, shot peening equipment, soda blasting equipment and bead blasters. Grit blasters use highly pressurized streams of abrasives and slurries to clean or resurface industrial products, parts and components.
Shot blasters hurl shot, a type of dust-free media, at a high velocity, to remove debris, paint and buildup from a selected surface. Micro-blast machines, also called micro-jet machines, are custom designed for speciality applications that require selective surface preparation, material removal and finishing.
Next, shot peening equipment cosmetically and mechanically modifies the surface layer of metals, while soda blasting equipment uses pressurized streams of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to clean or resurface industrial components. Similarly, bead blasters use high-pressure streams of spherical, bead-like abrasives to clean or resurface components from commercial, domestic and industrial settings.
Sandblast equipment is invaluable for healthy functions of products like: printed circuit boards, tractors, cars, marine vehicles, aircrafts, heat exchangers, industrial fasteners, bridges and building components. Their value cannot be overstated; it’s important to make the most of them by consulting with a media treatment professional before beginning any projects to make sure you have the right equipment and materials for the job.
In addition, when undergoing sandblasting projects, make sure to wear protective clothing and a respirator and introduce blast cabinets and ventilation into your workspace environment. Also, work towards sustainability by recycling and reusing residual blast media. If your application allows for it, you can use organic blast media like ground corn cobs, sand, crushed walnut shells, garnet, emery, baking soda, flint and corundum to the risks of reduce air and water pollution.
An Overview of Sandblast Equipment
Sandblast equipment is a type of machinery, which is designed to treat a surface by blasting it with pressurized particles. This process is called sandblasting; it uses an abrasive material, which is blasted at high pressure into the surface that needs treatment. Technically, sandblasting is a term only used for a blasting process that uses sand and silica as blasting media, but it has become a blanket term for all media blasting processes.
Apart from sand silica blasters, some sandblasting equipment, such as soda blasting equipment, bead blasters, shot peening equipment, shot blasters, and grit blasters, use different particles like ceramic, metallic, and glass of varying shapes to treat surfaces. These treatment tasks include degreasing, smoothing or roughening, deburring, coating removal, etching, carving, deflashing, and descaling. Each treatment task requires variation in blasting machines, media, and technique. These treatments are applicable for all type of wood, glass, metal, and plastic products. Apart from sand, other materials are also used in the sandblasting process, as sand can cause lung disease due to extended inhalation. Sand was used to be the common material, but now any small, relatively uniform particles like bits of coconut shell, copper slag, walnut shells, steel grit, and powdered abrasives are used. The sandblasting process is carefully controlled by using proper ventilation, protective wear, and an alternate air supply.
Pressurized water and compressed air are two main sandblasting processes that are widely used in the industry. Sandblaster equipment can treat surfaces from as small as nuts and bolts to as large as ship hulls. Because of this, a different array of blasting equipment is essential to complete the process. In order to allow treatment at large scale of small products, automated blasting systems and sandblast cabinets are provided. Additionally, portable sandblasters make single treatments of large surfaces possible as they can be transported from one site to another easily.
Varieties of sandblasting equipment:
Primarily, two types of sandblasters are widely used in the surface treatment industry: dry and wet.
Wet Blast: All dry blasting generates frictional heat on delicate materials, which is eliminated by wet machines. Stainless steel cabinet fabrication and a seal-less slurry pump are used by wet blast machine to suspend the abrasive while delivering mixed slurry to the blast gun assembly.
Offers a chemically clean part surface
Can be used for medical implants manufacturing
No abrasive impregnation into the part surface
Uses micro-fine abrasive
Removes discoloration on tooling
Dry Blast: Dry abrasive cabinets are the most common type, which use air compressors to produce a powerful stream. This machine has the ability to use larger gun sizes, which makes it faster in cleaning. For proper cleaning operation, it is important to use matching gun size, dust collector size, and duty cycle.
Most common and demanded widely in the industry
Provided in different models and specifications to meet the requirements for low to high daily duty cycle
Faster cleaning due to frictional heat generation
For large aggressive and ultra-fine abrasives, various models are available