Blasting Overview

Empire ProFormer self contained blast cabinet

A Brief History

Sandblasting traces its roots to the late 1800's when it was literally sand blasting - typically beach (silica) sand thrown at a surface.  We've learned a lot since then - media, delivery method and force all play a role, as well as safety.  In some parts of the world (including in the US), sand is still used which can lead to silicosis causing lung cancer.

Over the years it has been used as a critical manufacturing step for cleaning, paint or coating preparation, work hardening, scale/rust removal and many others.

Interior view of Empire rotary head turntable blaster

How Does it Work Now?


There are 4 main types of media blasting - pressure air blast, suction air blast, wheel blast and dustless.

Pressure air blasting uses a sealed pressure vessel to force abrasive media into an air stream which is then directed through a hose and nozzle.

Suction air blasting uses a stream of flowing air to pull media through the nozzle using the venturi effect.

Wheel blasting uses a spinning wheel to sling media.  This typically doesn't work for lightweight medias but is excellent with steel shot or grit.

Dustless blasting is relatively new and works much the same way as pressure blasting except the blast media is either wet or in a slurry mixture to reduce dust in some applications.

Most cabinet systems are all capable of reclaiming media for repeated usage until the abrasive is no longer effective in your process.

System overview of indexing turntable automated blast system

Testing is Critical

To find the right solution make sure you find the right balance of equipment and media that works for you and your process.  Often a higher cost, recyclable media will offer lower operating costs than cheaper single-pass abrasives.

 Work with our sales professionals to develop the process you need in our testing lab and fine tune your process. 

Empire BB4 tumble barrel blaster

Don't Be Afraid of the Math


If you're new to blasting it can be daunting to learn it all quickly when you just need something that works.

Let us help - we'll work with you on every aspect of your project from equipment layout and electrical/air requirements to production rates and operational costs; we're happy to help.


How Does This Thing Work?


Blast systems share a few common components, here are some of the basics - 

Pressure vessel - holds media and air under pressure and forced media into blast stream, must be recharged between cycles.

Storage hopper - holds media for use in suction or wheel systems, media is either siphoned from a venturi or gravity fed to the blast apparatus.

Reclaimer - used to recycle blast media, uses an airwash to separate dust and debris from reusable media.

Dust collector - provides vacuum to operate reclaimer and/or remove spent media and debris from the blast environment.

Nozzle or Gun - creates final working pressure and ratio of air and abrasive right before contacting a part.  Selection and maintenance are critical for consistent function.

Wheel - controls speed, direction, and volume of abrasive used in wheel blast operations.  Must be periodically replaced to maintain best function.

Conveying hoses - moved air and/or media throughout the system, must be sized correctly and maintained in good condition for proper system operation.

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Grand Northern Products

616 583 5000