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Size Matters - Ask a Savvy Contractor

Based on the calls we get, too-small air hoses and restrictive fittings cause more troubles for blast operators than any other problem.

Unlike most pneumatic tools, blast machines demand a continuous flow of air at high volume and high pressure.  Other pneumatic tools require high pressure, but use air intermittently and at low volumes.

Clemco’s high-production blast machines --- those with 4 cubic feet or greater capacity, with 3/8-inch or larger nozzles --- all come fitted with at least 1 ¼-inch plumbing.  Optional 1 ½-inch plumbing, and correspondingly larger nozzles, can further increase air consumption.

Some inexperienced contractors rent compressors without telling the dealer it will be used for blasting. The dealer supplies air lines designed for pneumatic tools --- ½ to 1-inch ID, with slip-in fittings.  Between the small ID air line and the restrictive fittings, the blast machine is left starving for air.  The remote controls do not work properly, the production rate slows to a crawl, and abrasive drops out of the slow moving air stream, blocking the blast hose.

Get the pneumatic tool fittings out of the air line.  Replace them with externally-fitted couplings and air lines that have at least the same ID as the blast machine’s inlet, and preferably ½-inch larger.

If the compressor’s outlets are smaller than the air lines, check the compressor’s specifications.  It may be inadequate for abrasive blasting.  If you find that it is rated at sufficient power to deliver the pressure and volume required, replace the small outlet fitting with a free-flowing ball valve, sized to match the air line. Do not use water valves.  These have internal restrictions that eliminate any advantages gained by a large inlet and outlet.

A savvy contractor, who has been around the block a few times, so to speak, knows how important matching the sizes of piping, valves, hoses, and nozzles can be for an efficient operation.

©Clemco Industries Corp.

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