Industrial sandblasting is necessary to keep rust, cracked paints, and other surface contaminants at bay. It is also an efficient way to strip off existing paint and substance build-up on any surface. Since not all industrial sandblasting services are the same, the media used for the job is subject to the project. Then again, not all surfaces are made of the same material. Once again, the material of the surface defines the abrasive material type. Knowing which is the most suitable abrasive media for a particular structure can help you acquire the desired results.
This post will show you the types of sandblasting services offered today, particularly for industrial use. We will also discuss some of the commonly used abrasive media for industrial sandblasting. Ready?
Different types of sandblasting services
Most companies offer mobile sandblasting services to cover light to heavy industrial projects. A couple of examples? Steel and concrete sandblasting. This method helps improve operational efficiency. It reduces maintenance costs for industrial environments, like construction sites and factories. Among the most popular types of sandblasting applications are:
- Water storage tanks
- Iron beams
- Public utilities
- Machine shops
- Parking garages
- Industrial Equipment
- Structural steel
Most of these sandblasting applications involve metal, steel, and concrete materials. As we said, the media used to blast the surface depends highly on the material. So, let us take a closer look.
Sandblasting media for industrial projects
A sandblasting contractor will always use the ideal media for a particular surface. Below are the common abrasive media used for industrial and commercial sandblasting:
1. Walnut shells
They are among the natural sandblasting media ideal for industrial use. They are multi-purpose abrasive media available in various sizes to suit your needs. Walnut shells are gentle enough to be utilized on soft metals like aluminum. But, on the other hand, they have enough hardness to remove paint and tough stains even on a metal surface when high pressure is applied.
Walnut shells can also be used several times. However, over-reusing them could produce poor results as they break down over time.
2. Glass beads
Another sandblasting media for steel and metal structures is glass beads. These abrasive media are usually utilized in a reclaimable commercial sandblasting or a blast cabinet. Below are the most common purposes of glass beads in abrasive blasting:
- Cleaning. Glass beads are ideal for surface preparation. They don’t introduce ferrous contamination or change tolerances.
- Peening. Blasting glass beads on metal components can improve the metal’s fatigue strength. The process can minimize the tensile stress on the metal, which boosts its fatigue limits.
- Finishing. Various glass beads can help blend machining marks and create unique surface finishes.
- Deburring. Glass beads are also used for deburring. A precise blasting method removes a burr on a metal surface.
Glass beads are environmentally friendly. They don’t contain silica, which is considered really harmful to human health. Due to that, choosing silica-free abrasive media for sandblasting is crucial.
3. Aluminum oxide
Aluminum oxide is a widely utilized abrasive media. It’s famous for its strength and hardness. On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, aluminum oxide is 9. That’s high. It is actually just below diamond. This abrasive media is ideal for blasting steel or iron. You can also use it to strip down metal into a bare substrate.
If you don’t wish to leave rust on the substrate you’re working on, use aluminum oxide. It is your best choice. It is a substrate that contains only a tiny amount of iron. This means less chance of developing rust deposits. Use aluminum oxide if you want to reuse the sandblasting media several times. By reclaiming and reusing the media, the project’s cost is reduced.
4. Sodium bicarbonate
If you require a softer abrasive media for a gentler way to prepare metal structures, sodium bicarbonate is an excellent option. Soda blasting helps remove coatings and surface contaminants using baking soda and compressed air. Sometimes, glass beads and sodium bicarbonate are used together to remove corrosion. The balanced combination of these two abrasive media effectively removes rust while keeping the substrate smooth.
Aside from steelwork, soda blasting is also ideal for CMU and concrete sandblasting. It helps remove paint. It’s also excellent for cleaning boat hulls.
To summarize, sandblasting can benefit industrial facilities in various ways. It can smoothen metal or steel surfaces and eliminate contaminants before applying paint. Some types of abrasive media are also ideal for cleaning concrete, commonly used on construction sites. Choosing the right type, grit, and size of the abrasive media is vital to ensure desirable results.