Water blasting is increasingly being used in applications traditionally dominated by sandblasting techniques.
A modern water jet cleaning machine for instance, is effective on epoxies, paints, resins, rust and scale build-up. In certain situations, especially in cleaning ships, oil rigs and areas where a lot of water is involved, water blasting can be a fast and clean alternative to traditional grit blasting solutions.
Conventional abrasive blasting techniques use compressed air to propel particulate matter at high velocities to clean a surface or prepare it for the application of paints or sealants. However, these methods can also cause a number of problems including abrasive clumping, clogging and containment issues as well as the need to purchase expensive grit and pay for its disposal.
While modern advances in abrasive blasting equipment such as air dryers and moisture removal systems can alleviate some of these issues, the impact of abrasive blasting on the surrounding environment requires the worksite to be evacuated, which can be inconvenient as it suspends other plant or worksite activities during the cleaning process. During rainy conditions, sandblasting techniques have to be halted to avoid risking damage to expensive equipment and dealing with excessive formation of mud from the abrasive particulates.
Water blasting techniques using water jet cleaning machines involve a heavy duty pump delivering the raw cleaning power of 40,000 psi of water to clear paints or coatings, and thick build-up of rust, scale, resins and various residues. Water blasters deliver several benefits including minimal preparation, avoidance of abrasives, chemicals, solvents or caustics, and ability to work in all conditions including rain since water is the only cleaning medium. Clean-up is significantly easier without the need for containment and disposal of hazardous waste.
Blastmaster , a specialist supplier of quality water jet cleaning machines, accessories and spare parts to the protective coatings and corrosion control industry for more than 35 years, offers diverse solutions for a variety of surface preparation and coating projects.
Quality accessories such as lances, valves, Spinjet nozzles and high pressure hoses help high pressure water blasters deliver their powerful payload. Blastmaster’s ultra high pressure water systems can even be mounted on skids or trailers for increased mobility.
Ultra high pressure water (UHP) systems can be used for surface preparation in many applications. One ingenious method involves employing UHP water on surfaces previously treated with abrasive blasting, cleaning contaminants and soluble salts from the bottom of valleys within the existing surface profile. Surfaces prepped in this manner are ideal for bonding, displaying less folding and flattening while featuring a texture of sharp peaks. This improved blasting profile suggests that UHP water systems can be used in conjunction with traditional abrasive blasting techniques to yield optimum surface profiles.
UHP water jetting can also be used to quickly produce a ‘white metal’ finish at speeds comparable to traditional blasting techniques.
A Blastmaster demonstrator used a 3000 rpm rotating nozzle at 36,000 psi to remove one square foot of coating from an aluminium vessel in 24 seconds implying an impressive rate of 4m²/hr, displaying the raw power and speed of Blastmaster’s UHP water system.
Since wet blasting equipment can produce comparable results to abrasive blasting equipment without environmental health hazards, the technology is used in a wide variety of applications from shipyard coating removal, offshore oil rigs and weld inspections to plant maintenance. With no dust generated during the operation, workers can continue with their daily tasks without worrying about a hazardous atmosphere.