Abrasive Blasting Mistakes

5 Common Abrasive Blasting Mistakes to Avoid

Should you be thinking of cleaning up a building or a kind of industrial machinery or equipment, abrasive blasting is one of the most effective solutions you could consider. This is particularly so if you wish the job to be over faster, precisely and efficiently. Abrasive blasting involves forcing what is known as blast media into surfaces that need to be cleaned at great velocity and under great pressure. Once these blast media collide with the surface that needs to be cleaned, they then trap contaminants including rust, grime, dirt, old paint along with other debris and leave the surface clean. The efficacy of abrasive blasting depends on the operator’s compliance with accepted best practices. When carried out in an improper manner, this industrial cleaning method is often fraught with peril to the operator and those around them. Here then are 5 common abrasive blasting malpractices you need to avoid at all times.

1. ignoring safety precautions

The use of power tools often comes with a number of safety concerns. So if you can’t observe all abrasive blasting safety measures, please stop. Nothing is worse than sustaining preventable injuries or grossly damaging your property or machinery. With abrasive blasting, there is always an inherent risk of bounce-back since it entails introducing blast media at high speeds and pressure. People in close proximity to the blast area are at risk of sustaining injuries if they haven’t donned on the right PPE.

Ignoring safety precautions
First, ensure that you and your team wear full-body coveralls crafted with a sturdy and strong fabric. This will prevent any accidents that might occur when blast media or debris hit your body or any exposed parts of your skin. Next, make sure you have the right face protection gear like a full-face mask that can effectively protect your eyes and face from getting injured. You should also invest in a pair of leather protective gloves that reach your forearms. Lastly, always observe the proper distance from the blast cabinet or unit while the operation is underway. Each blaster comes complete with its own operational speed. You must ensure you read its user manual to determine just how far you need to stand away. If for any reason somebody stays close to you, ensure they don the suitable PPE.

2. Making use of the wrong blast media

You will always be spoilt for choices when it comes to abrasive media you could use in your project. This includes glass beads, crushed glass, coal slags, walnut shells, steel grit, plastic beads, dry ice, bicarbonate of soda and more. However, it is important to note that different blast media are ideal for working on different surfaces and even different abrasive blasting projects. Should you have the misfortune to pick the wrong blast media, you could end up damaging your machinery or property.

wrong blast media
For example, glass beads are suitable for eliminating stains, mold and mildew or even fungi without causing damage to most surfaces. Walnut shells or bicarbonate of soda are ideal for cleaning soft surfaces like brick. If you use your machinery to process food-grade products, dry ice or plastic beads can be suitable.

3. Failing to collect blast media after use

Ignoring to collect blast media after each abrasive blasting operation you undertake isn’t only impractical, but could be costly in the long term. This cleaning process should be always performed in a blast cabinet or if this isn’t possible, in a tarp enclosed area. This ensures you can easily collect the used blast media in a hassle-free manner. This way, you’ll have a convenient means of eliminating waste matter and capturing blast media for reuse.

4. Using the wrong sized blaster

Abrasive blasting units come complete with varying features and capabilities including power and size. The smaller and less powerful the blaster is, the more pocket-friendly it will be. Yet, the lower a blaster’s capacity is, the longer it will ultimately take to carry out an abrasive blasting project. Diminutive blasters need to be switched on and off repeatedly too. Should you be attempting a big cleaning project, a medium or industrial grade blaster will enable you to save time.

wrong sized blaster

5. Failing to enlist the services of a professional when you feel you aren’t up to the challenge

It is always prudent to ask the help of a professional if the scope of your abrasive blasting project is too extensive or surpases your skills. This will go a long way in helping you avoid serious injuries or extensive damage to your property.

abrasive blasting project

ZPar International is a foremost maker of top notch abrasive blasting units and equipment. We also offer paint booths and powder coating booths and other related accessories.