The 12 Most Common Abrasive Blasting Projects

The 12 Most Common Abrasive Blasting Projects

The 12 Most Common Abrasive Blasting Projects

May 09, 2023

When you need to finish or clean a surface or item, you must first prepare it by eliminating build-up and smoothing imperfections. Abrasive blasting is one method for surface preparation, cleaning and maintenance that you can adapt to suit various industry-spanning applications, including food service products, marine components, warehouse interiors and equipment parts.

There are many applications for abrasive blasting, and each requires a different blasting material. There are also several types of abrasive blasting, the most common being air, wet, vacuum and centrifugal blasting. These processes can clean, shape and smooth surfaces to evolve new designs, materials and technologies. Knowing when to use abrasive blasting can benefit manufacturing and surface finishing. You can promote adhesion, enable custom finishes, deliver efficient results, minimize damage risks and protect the environment with abrasive blasting.

Keep reading to learn more about abrasive blasting, including the most common abrasive blasting projects you’ll find in the industrial and commercial sectors.

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1. Painting Preparation

Abrasive blasting is used to manufacture and prepare steel components before painting. Blasting away debris and smoothing the surface helps prepare it for better, longer-lasting paint adherence. This process helps remove possible contaminants and defects you’ve detected to achieve a more even finish, prevent rust and remove other elements that could cause issues with the paint adhesion.

2. Food Process Maintenance and Cleaning

Abrasive blasting is essential in the food service industry, as it aids in thoroughly cleaning and maintaining stainless steel food processing equipment and baking components. Because the process must be safe for use around food, operators often choose natural or organic abrasive materials, like dry ice. Abrasive blasting is often the best way to clean baked-on food stains or grease deposits.

3. Architectural Component Preparation

Architectural components, like beams, columns and design pieces, require the utmost attention to detail and quality. Abrasive blasting cleans and prepares steel and aluminum surfaces for coatings, if applicable. It can also aid in architectural restoration. Abrasives like glass impact beads can quickly clean objects without removing significant amounts of metal.

4. Concrete and Wooden Surface Restoration

Gentler materials, like wood, concrete and brick, require soft restoration practices. Mild forms of abrasive blastings, like soda or dry ice blasting, will help restore these surfaces and prepare them for painting, staining or finishing. Abrasives offer a cost-effective method for preparing these specialty surfaces while ensuring the underlying material’s integrity. Walnut shells are a soft abrasive that can deliver exceptional results while leaving the undercoating intact.

5. Warehousing Cleaning

You can deep clean warehouse interiors, including structural struts and joists, with dry and wet abrasive blasting techniques. High-speed blasting with things like glass beads or dry ice allows the operator to control abrasion levels while removing residue from equipment, walls and machinery. Portable blast equipment can make cleaning routines much easier by allowing you to maneuver around the warehouse to clean whatever item or surface most needs your attention.

6. Railroad Car Maintenance

Railroad cars transport various hazardous and non-hazardous materials, which may lead to spills and leaks. Abrasive blasting is an integral part of railway maintenance, as it keeps cars clean and free of potentially dangerous residue in between shipments. You can also use abrasive blasting to prepare railroad cars for painting.

7. Bridge Maintenance

The nature of bridge construction, cleaning, maintenance and painting requires a fast, thorough abrasive blasting technique to minimize downtime and keep critical components intact. Abrasive blasting is most common on concrete and steel bridges, though applicable for other materials as well. You can use aluminum oxide abrasives for lapping, refractory coating, polishing, non-skid and decorative applications. This abrasive can also suit bonding applications for non-slip walkways.

8. Component Surface Preparation and Etching

Abrasive blasting is used to prepare surfaces, such as glass, before etching textures or designs. You can also use the abrasive blasting technique to prepare steel products for powder coating, which requires a smooth surface for optimal bonding. Silicone carbide is rougher than aluminum oxide and is the hardest blasting media. Along with etching applications, you can use this abrasive for polishing, lapping and general-purpose heavy-duty applications.

9. Plastic Injection Mold Cleaning

Plastic injection mold cavities gather a lot of build-up after continuous use. This build-up contains hardened debris and materials that threaten to deform the mold mechanism or interfere with machine performance. Abrasive blasting is a gentle and effective method for cleaning and removing this residue. Plastics are best for mold cleaning and a top choice for paint stripping. These materials are less abrasive than others and are excellent for cleaning anti-corrosion coatings, deflashing plastic components and cleaning molds.

10. Casting Application Sanding

You can use foundry sand to create, clean and maintain sand-casting molds. Starblast offers increased visibility and can reduce labor costs with more efficient cleaning capabilities. This material has uniform blasting patterns, and you can use Starblast Ultra for more heavy-duty applications, such as paint removal and heavy rust.

11. Bearings, Shafts and Gears Lifetime Improvement

Businesses and warehouses hoping to prolong the life span of machine and equipment bearings, shafts and gears can use abrasive blasting for shot peening, a type of highly controlled blasting for metal parts.

12. Graffiti Removal

Many property owners seek organic abrasive blasting methods, like those that use corn cobs or walnut shells, to remove graffiti and clean surfaces. These natural abrasive materials provide a safer, public-friendly alternative to other blasting methods. They may also help preserve the integrity of certain materials and are ideal for commercial use. One of the best abrasive blasting uses for corn cobs is removing graffiti. You can also use corn cobs for polishing, deburring, tumbling and deflashing applications.

Contact Finishing Systems to Learn More

Abrasive blasting is an effective, versatile method for cleaning, maintaining and preparing equipment and surfaces in a variety of industries and applications. Learn more about abrasive blasting solutions at Finishing Systems, the leading finishing solutions provider for companies across the United States. Contact a Finishing Systems representative to find blasting equipment or schedule your blast finishing project today.