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Why change the sandblasting process for shot blasting?

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Why change the sandblasting process for shot blasting?

On many occasions the terms blasting, sandblasting and shot blasting are confused when we refer to the process of surface treatment by projection of abrasives. Occasionally these processes are considered as synonyms but they are really different processes and terms. The term sandblasting and sandblasting is really old since it is not currently possible to use silica sand because it is an abrasive prohibited for producing silicosis. In addition to this reason for not using sandblasting as a surface treatment, there are several reasons that we will detail below;

Operating cost of abrasives.

The average cost of sand consumption per m2 of shot blasting surface will be 14 times higher than the use of G40E steel shot and 18 times higher than the Sablacier steel shot. It is also important to consider the higher logistics cost due to the movement of larger volumes of sand and dust generated in the process compared to the steel shot.

Abrasive and complementary spray equipment

Similar spray equipment and operator protection are used. However, the sand is more abrasive and produces greater wear on the abrasive transport line, hoses, couplings and nozzle. The sand produces more pollution than the shot, requiring extraction and filtering systems between 3 to 5 times larger than those necessary for the metallic shot. These extraction and filtering equipment constitute the most expensive part of the installation as well as operationally, increasing the maintenance cost of the filter elements. If steel shot is used, it is necessary to have an abrasive recovery and cleaning system to be able to reuse it in efficiently. For the sand, a collection and final disposal system is necessary.

Ambient conditions and visibility during the process.

The sandblasting process is a VERY dirty process that generates pollution that not only affects the operator but prevents good visualization of the work. In addition, the wear of the equipment with the use of sand is much higher than that generated using shot blasting.

Conclusion

The use of steel shot, in closed areas, is extremely advantageous compared to the sand, highlighting the following points:

  • Greater productivity
  • Lower cost abrasive per clean m2
  • Reduction in maintenance costs
  • Better quality in terms of work performed (homogeneity, roughness, cleaning)
  • Less environmental pollution
  • Less generation of waste and dusts
  • Better visibility of the operators
  • Less risk to the health of the operators
  • Less investment in dust collection systems

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