Tips for Choosing the Right Blast Machine and Its Major Components
Increase productivity and decrease downtime.
Tips for choosing the best blast machine, pressure regulator and gauge, abrasive metering valve, and remote controls for your next blasting job.
It’s a cliché, but it’s true: To do a job right, you need the right equipment. This is especially true for abrasive blasting.
This article outlines how to evaluate which blast machine, pressure regulator and gauge, abrasive metering valve, and remote controls are best for a typical abrasive blasting job. However, before choosing equipment, evaluate the target surface and the worksite environment, perform a job hazard analysis, and assess the goals of the job.
1. Blast Machines
A well-engineered blast machine allows smooth air and abrasive flow throughout the system. An industrial-quality blast machine features a concave head for easy filling, and it seals automatically with a popup valve. Place a recessed, steel screen over the machine’s filling portal to keep out debris, and cover the machine when it’s not in use to keep out rain and condensation. Make sure the pressure vessel has National Board approval, an indication that it meets American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) specifications. Choose a blast machine that can hold enough abrasive for 20 to 30 minutes of steady blasting. Consider the effects of compressor and nozzle size on blast machine productivity. (See Table 1.)
Learn More: Blast Machines
Clemco designs and manufactures five categories of abrasive blasting machines:
- Classic Blast Machines
- Contractor Blast Machines
- Wet-Blast Machines
- Bulk Blast Machines (We call them Big Clems.)
- Nonaggressive-Media Blast Machines
See which type of blast machine is right for your jobs: Clemco Blast Machines.
TABLE 1: Compressed-Air and Abrasive Consumption
2. Pressure Regulators and Gauges
These components enable operators to monitor and adjust air pressure. (TIP: Use a hypodermic-needle gauge to check pressure at the nozzle.)
3. Abrasive Metering Valves
In a well-engineered metering valve, abrasive flows into a stream of compressed air at a steady, uniform rate via the pull of gravity. A well-designed valve also permits precise flow adjustments. Metering valves that feed abrasive at a 45° angle facilitate the natural pull of gravity and promote a smooth abrasive and compressed-air blend. Metering valves that feed abrasive at a 90° angle have drawbacks, but they are better suited for small and lo-pot blast machines.
Learn More: Abrasive Metering Valves
Clemco designs and manufactures three major categories of abrasive metering valves. See which type is the best for your blast machine:
4. Remote Controls
OSHA requires that blast machines be equipped with remote controls that quickly halt blasting after the control handle is released. Pneumatic remote controls work well at distances up to 100 ft. Electric remote controls are recommended for distances greater than 100 ft and are mandatory for distances of 200 ft or more.
Learn More: Remote Controls
Clemco designs and manufactures pneumatic and electric remote controls. Both types are offered as pressure release or pressure hold. But which remote control is right for you? Find out: Clemco Remote Controls.
Take the Next Step
If you have questions about the equipment discussed in this article, Clemco can connect you with a local Clemco distribution partner who will answer your questions.