Beyond contributing to a cleaner environment, greener blasting normally pays dividends by deploying energy, media and labor more efficiently. Less waste translates to lower production costs and a greener bottom line. Tactics for Greening air-blast operations range from simple to sophisticated. For starters, users of air-blasting equipment should:
• Inspect blast nozzles regularly for orifice erosion. Remember, compressed-air costs grow as a function of the square of the orifice diameter.
• Use recyclable media whenever possible. Recyclable abrasives normally work faster and trim purchase/disposal costs.
• Keep the media reclaimer in tune. Extracting workable abrasives prematurely wastes media. Leaving degraded material in the blast cycle consumes time and energy. A properly tuned reclaimer boosts efficiency with the right working mix.
• Evaluate the economics of moving up to a pressure-blast system. In some applications, pressure-blast systems perform four or five times as much work as suction-blast systems with the same amount of compressed air, representing a major energy savings. The trade-offs with pressure-blast include higher capital costs and, in the past, “time outs” during media refills of the system’s pressure vessel. Today’s technology enables pressure systems to operate non-stop.
• Consider automation. Manual blasting excels in the stripping and finishing of odd parts. But in mass production, automated systems offer a more productive alternative. By focusing air and media within the optimum blast envelop, Empire automation improves efficiency and results.