Vapour-abrasive blasting can offer significant benefits over traditional sandblasting techniques, illustrated by Graco in this case study on Schavicast
For Maritime blasting and painting company Schavicast, dust produced during blasting was proving a significant problem. Operators found their vision was affected, making it difficult to see the area they were blasting, and the company received complaints about dust spreading across the marina in front of Schavicast’s repair dock in Stellendam, near Rotterdam.
Schavicast sought the advice of Rasco-Clemco, a local spraying and blasting equipment distributor, which recommended vapour-abrasive blast equipment firm Graco’s EcoQuip range. EcoQuip produces 92% less dust than sandblasting while maintaining an equivalent level of performance, minimising the need for PPE, tenting and containment, and decreasing the environmental impact. Compared to wet blasting, EcoQuip uses 75% less blast media and a water use is also significantly reduced, minimising runoff and largely eliminating the build-up of slurry messes. The solution remains effective in a range of weather conditions, including rain and high humidity environments, and removes coatings without damaging subsurfaces.
The abrasive which Schavicast opted to use is copper slag, a by-product of extracting copper via smelting. The environmentally-friendly iron silicate granules have a width ranging from 0.5 mm to 1.2 mm and generate very low levels of dust compared to sand. Copper slag is well suited to removing primer and topcoat coatings to prepare a substrate for new applications.
Two Ecoquip Twinline modules were chosen and an external water tank installed. The Twinline unit is based around a single compressor with two nozzles, doubling production rates and consequently improving cost-effectiveness for major jobs, as two operators can work from one compressor unit. Using two units also decreases the number of skid units required for a job, and enables more operators to work simultaneously. This also makes for a faster turnaround, reducing the duration of each vessel’s stay in dock.
The Ecoquip 2 EQs2 Twinline setup includes two 185 liter (6.5 ft3) blast pots, two 15 m blast hozes, two #8 HP nozzles, and two electric or pneumatic blast controls. It also features a water dose valve, step, media shelf, hose rack, air inlet filter/ball valve and media strainer kit. It is contained in a stainless-steel crash frame and enclosure.
As a result of using Graco’s EcoQuip Twinline modules, Schavicast is now using approximately 50% less abrasive material than the traditional dry-pot method it previously employed. Schavicast’s operators report that their work environment is more comfortable due to reduced dust on the application site and with dust pollution down, the neighbours are happy too.