Table of Content
- Dry Grit Blasting
- Description of dry grit blasting process
- Advantages of dry grit blasting
- Disadvantages/limitations of dry grit blasting
- Wet Grit Blasting
- Description of wet grit blasting process
- Reasons for adding water to the grit blasting process
- Advantages of wet grit blasting
- Disadvantages/limitations of wet grit blasting
What is abrasive blasting actually?
Abrasive blasting is an industrial process that utilizes the high-pressure application of different elements for the purpose of intensive cleaning; it has existed for the better part of a century. Throughout the duration of its existence, progression and modernization have been inevitable and have naturally resulted in the development of various types of blasting methods. In present times, we can generally divide blasting processes into two different categories which include Dry Grit Blasting and Wet Grit Blasting. In this article, we shall explore some of the differences between these two methods, their pros vs cons, and also an excellent method to use additionally, Vertidrive’s Robotic Solutions.
Dry Grit Blasting
This technique for cleaning uses an abrasive (such as sand, beads, or metal) to clean and finish the desired surface. Dry abrasive blasting is an industrial cleaning process that involves the use of high-pressure blasts of dry abrasive materials to remove dirt, grime, and other contaminants from surfaces. This method is commonly used in a variety of industries, including construction, automotive, aerospace, and marine, as it is effective at removing a wide range of contaminants without damaging the underlying surface. Dry abrasive blasting is a quick and efficient way to clean and prepare surfaces for painting, coating, or other treatments.
Advantages of choosing dry grit blasting
Cost-effective: Materials used in grit blasting are generally inexpensive and widely available. Abrasive materials, such as sand, glass beads, or aluminium oxide, can be purchased in large quantities at a low cost, making grit blasting a cost-effective option. In addition, grit blasting is a relatively simple process that does not require specialized equipment or training. Basic grit blasting equipment, such as a pressurized air tank and a nozzle, can be purchased or rented at a relatively low cost, and the process itself is easy to learn and perform. This makes grit blasting accessible and affordable for a wide range of users.
Efficiency: Dry abrasive blasting methods are a very thorough process and are highly efficient at scale, rust, and paint removal amongst other surface contaminants. Industrial-level metal services will often select this method above all others as the process is faster and will produce great blasting results.
Range of Abrasives: With a massive variety of abrasives available, dry abrasive blasting allows an operator the option of flexibility to change between abrasives depending on the desired finish and type of work to be conducted.
Disadvantages/Limitations of Choosing Dry Grit Blasting
Health Hazards: The surface prep process used when dry blasting can be extremely hazardous for one’s health. Inhalation of dust, paint flakes, and abrasives pose the biggest health risks alongside accidental contact which could be made with one’s skin.
Dirtiness and Contamination: Due to its nature of releasing large amounts of abrasive into the atmosphere, dry blasting is a dirty process that has potential environmental risks. Generally, a safe way to manage this is by utilizing systems such as the M7 crawler or by housing the blasting system within a booth however, when unavoidable blasting outside a booth is required the mess created can be big and affects the surrounding environment irreversibly.
Wet Grit Blasting
This method functions through the addition of water to the abrasive. This is what makes wet grit blasting unique – a wet abrasive or mixed wet-dry abrasive (such as water or a mix of sand-water) is always utilized to clean and finish the desired surface.
Why water is added to a grit blasting setup
There are several reasons why water might be added to grit blasting. For example, water can be used to increase the effectiveness of the blasting process by reducing the static electricity that can build up on the surface being blasted. This can help the abrasive particles to adhere more effectively to the surface and can improve the overall quality of the blasting process. Additionally, water can be used to control the temperature of the blasting process, which can be important in certain applications where the temperature of the surface being blasted is a concern. Finally, water can be used to wash away debris and surface contaminants after the blasting process is complete, which can help to prepare the surface for further processing or treatment.
Advantages of Choosing Wet Grit Blasting
Reduced Dirtiness and Contamination: Perhaps the most important advantage is that, due to the presence of water, wet abrasive blasting drastically reduces the amount of dust created and minimizes associated environmental risks. This is also hugely beneficial for an operator’s health as there is no dust involved in the process.
Improved health and safety: Wet grit blasting reduces the amount of dust and debris that is created during the blasting process, which can improve working conditions and reduce the risk of respiratory issues for workers.
Better visibility: The water used in wet grit blasting acts as a lubricant, which can help to prevent the abrasive particles from bouncing back and obscuring the operator’s view. This can make it easier to control the blasting process and achieve a more consistent finish.
Reduced risk of surface damage: The water used in wet grit blasting can help to cool the surface being blasted, which can reduce the risk of warping or other thermal damage. This is particularly important when working with sensitive materials or surfaces that are prone to damage.
Easier clean up: Wet grit blasting generates a slurry of water and abrasive particles, which can be easily collected and disposed of. In contrast, dry grit blasting creates a cloud of dust that can be more difficult to clean up and can pose a risk of contamination.
Disadvantages/Limitations of Choosing Wet Grit Blasting
Increased Spending: Wet blasting systems can be costly to operate and maintain.
Flash Rusting Risk: Due to the nature of exposed steel and water, flash rusting can occur between completed surface prep and painting/coating. If so, workload and additional spending must be considered which are unideal. This is particularly important when the coating system to be used is specified as intolerant to flash rusting.
Increased clean-up time: Wet grit blasting generates sludge, which is a mixture of abrasive media, water, and debris. This sludge must be cleaned up and disposed of, which can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.
Limited media options: Not all abrasive media can be used in wet grit blasting, as some media may not be compatible with water or may break down too quickly. This can limit the range of materials that can be effectively blasted.
Equipment maintenance: Wet grit blasting equipment requires more frequent maintenance due to the presence of water, which can increase costs and downtime.
In conclusion, abrasive blasting is a widely used industrial process for intensive cleaning and surface preparation. There are two main types of abrasive blasting: dry grit blasting and wet grit blasting. Dry grit blasting is a cost-effective and efficient method, but it can pose health risks and create a dirty, contaminated environment. Wet grit blasting adds water to the abrasive material to reduce static electricity and minimize dust and debris, making it a safer and cleaner option. Vertidrive’s Robotic Solutions offer an additional method for abrasive blasting that can be used in a variety of industries. When choosing an abrasive blasting method, it is important to consider the specific needs and limitations of the project, as well as the potential risks and benefits of each technique.
The alternative to all the mentioned would be to add a Vertidrive robotic crawler to the equation, such as the M7 or M3 crawler. These are remotely controlled systems that can be operated by 1 person. This minimizes training costs and health and safety risks. Additional M7 & M3 specifications and benefits include x7 more efficient than the traditional method of blasting up to 60m² / 646 ft² of surface area covered per hour. 8x faster than manual work with an (up to) 86% cost reduction.
Robotic solution for both dry and wet blasting
At VertiDrive we don’t just sell you equipment but we go the extra mile by looking at your blasting setup as a whole. Aligning your current setup with the VertiDrive robot, provide you with a detailed ROI calculation and suggest what you could upgrade to achieve stunning production rates.
These graphs show the result of an actual calculation performed for one of our clients. These KPI’s should be important for any shipyard or storage tank farm. Based on input from our clients about their operations, we are able to give you the right information to justify investments in our equipment.
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Did you know that...
You could save up to 30% on abrasive media consumption by using a VertiDrive in your blasting operations. A Vertidrive in your operation means minimal overlap and prevention of operator fatigue
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