What is Sandblasting?
Sandblasting, also known as Abrasive Blasting is the process of blasting abrasive material at a surface to smooth, roughen, clean or remove coating. It is an important step in the preparation of surfaces for protective and decorative coatings.
Different Types of Blasting Media
Sandblasting has been the method of choice in the industry for surface finishes for a few decades now, with some changes in the connotations of the word. The traditional sandblasting process continues to be used across the South Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne, but with the recommendations of the Victoria health and safety regulations in mind. Since 2002, by law, we stopped using silica sand, river sand, beach sand, and other white sand containing over 1% crystalline silica for fears of health hazards from silicosis and cancer to workers and others around the worksite.
As a result, by the term sandblasting, Melbourne industries have come to understand blasting surfaces at high pressure with safer materials like garnet, glass beads, soda, steel grit, crushed glass, aluminium oxide, metal slag (with low levels of chromium and lead) and even metal (steel) shots and granulated plastic.
Abrasive blasting, which is the more accurate term to describe the variety of non-sand media used today for rust removal, burnishing, etching, preparing surfaces for applying anti-corrosion surface coating, even removing paint, etc, helps to keep industrial equipment and structures free of rust, grease and surface contaminants.
Efficient & Economical Debris and Coating Removal
The reason abrasive blasting is popular for surface treatment in Melbourne and around the world is because of how effective it is in removing mill scale, debris and dirt thoroughly, and preparing metal surfaces for coating by removing existing paint and surface rust. It is a highly efficient method of not just stripping a surface of paint or other materials, but also of cleaning the surface and/or creating a profile to provide optimum adhesion for coating.
Blasting is often the only cleaning needed before finishing a surface, which makes it very economical. In some systems it can eliminate the need for the multi-step processes of sanding, degreasing, descaling, and pickling or use of wire brushes, etc. A lot of time is saved with blasting, it can typically be faster than hand-cleaning by as much as 75% which results in a lot of time and money saved.
A variety of abrasive material suitable for various jobs is available at affordable costs and these can be recycled, further adding to the environmental advantages of using sandblasting as a preferred pre-treatment.
Versatile Method of Surface Treatment
Abrasive blasting is highly versatile. It can help us achieve many kinds of finishes. Our equipment is capable of cleaning and preparing any texture and material that needs cleaning. The effect of the finish of course depends on a variety of factors, such as the kind of abrasive materials used in hardness and size, the speed of the stream from the blasting machine and the method of application, among other factors.Choosing the right abrasive material for the job is an important task. Here’s a look at some of the best abrasive media for various effects:
- Crushed glass, 100% silica-free, is economical and efficient for stripping contaminants off surfaces. It is fast to work with and tends to have a medium-to-high level of etching effect.
- Plastic abrasive is soft and typically composed of melamine, acrylic, and urea, used usually in aerospace applications. It is possible to achieve no etch stripping with plastic abrasives, although it’s not as fast to work with as with crushed glass.
- Garnet is the most versatile type of media and comes in various forms of very high hardness that makes it suitable for different uses and reuse. It does its job well and quickly, producing low levels of dust in the process. Many people fear that garnet is too abrasive and will cause damage to their job, however this is only the case in some instances. If the correct size, pressure and application method is used, it is a safe, viable and efficient media to use in most applications.
- Glass beads are good for removing light burrs from surfaces, descaling, and texturizing. It’s also helpful for removing the flash from die-cast surfaces to create a bright and smooth, matte-type satin finish. Glass beads also afford the least stress on parts of the machine.
Sometimes dry blasting can also be more safely replaced by vapour abrasive blasting or wet blasting for removing materials like lead paint. This process involves mixing abrasive material and water under pressure and then injecting this mix into the airstream for a controlled, efficient system to prepare a surface.
One of the biggest advantages of blasting is that it can be used on substrates of various scales. Blasting can be applied to small fasteners on equipment just as well as to whole vehicle chassis and large steel structures. What’s important is to use the right abrasive media for the job, apply the correct technique and have a suitable workflow.
Recommended Uses for Sandblasting/ Abrasive Blasting
Blasting for the perfect surface finish has a variety of applications, but typically it is helpful for but not limited to the following uses:
- Removing existing coatings, rust, surface contaminants, etc. from weathered steel surfaces
- Cleaning surfaces before painting, bonding, or powder coating
- Smoothing or roughen surfaces for painting, bonding, or powder coating
- Etching matte surfaces onto metal, wood, glass, fiberglass & plastics
- Texturing surfaces of tooling and moulds for a certain effect on stamped or moulded products.
Abrasive blasting contractors around Australia may offer a combination of blasting and coating systems or blast-only services where required. Often a priming service is also offered, to prevent rust or discolouration before the finishing coat is applied by others. At Doogood Surface Coatings, we offer all the above and more.
At Doogood Surface Coatings in Melbourne, we offer abrasive blasting services catering to customers in the South Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne and throughout Victoria through our locations in Dandenong South and Keysborough. When it comes to choosing an abrasive blasting supplier in Melbourne, you should only use a company that follows the best health, safety and environmental practices to not only keep its workers safe on the job but to preserve the environment, something which Doogood Surface Coatings is passionate about.
Our high-quality surface treatments and products are applied in the marine, defence, automotive, mining, construction, rail & transport and oil & gas industries among others.