Blast Cleaning FAQs

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Dry Ice Blast Cleaning –  How Does It Work?

From a general perspective Dry Ice Blast Cleaning is a technique broadly similar to sand blasting in that blast media is introduced to compressed air and directed onto the surface to be cleaned – but that is where the similarity ends. The advantage of using solid CO2 or dry ice pellets as blasting material is twofold.  Firstly the very low temperature of the dry ice pellets causes the contamination to freeze and contract resulting in the easy detachment of the contaminant from the base material.  Secondly the dry ice pellets sublime (vaporise without turning to a liquid) to CO2 gas, which means that only the original contaminant is left for disposal. This natural sublimation of dry ice pellets is a major advantage of the dry ice cleaning method.

In What Kind Of Applications Has Dry Ice Cleaning Proven To Be Very Effective?

The advantages of cleaning in place and the sublimation of the blasting media makes dry ice cleaning very effective in industries/applications including:

  • General Maintenance of Machines & Production lines • degreasing chains • cleaning conveyor systems • renovating printing presses • cleaning of glue modules (paper industry) • paint stripping • removal of resin  • control panels and fans • …
  • Automotive & Aerospace Industry • removing weld slag from robots • cleaning tyre moulds • reconditioning motor blocks • cleaning engine parts • …
  • Plastic and Foundry Industry • cleaning of injection moulds • cleaning of extrusion moulds • cleaning of casting moulds • foundry core boxes • …
  • Food Industry • cleaning of tanks & silos • cleaning of industrial ovens • cleaning of forms (pastry, waffles, …) • cleaning of production lines (chocolate, …) • …
  • Others • nuclear decontamination • removing asbestos • removing graffiti  • removing epoxy paint • restoration of facades • removing carbon deposits after fire

 What Happens To The Contaminant?

The contaminant can be solid, viscous or liquid (paint, carbon deposit, glue, grease, sugar, ink, dirt, …). Solid contaminant will be blown away during blasting and fall down close by. Viscous or liquid contaminant will loosen and pulled forward by the blasting air force. The operator can direct the contaminant in a certain direction. In specific cases the contaminant is removed in a controlled way with an extraction system.

How Does Dry Ice Blasting Compare To Other Methods?

The advantages of dry ice blasting as compared to other blasting methods with sand or grit are:

  • Time saving
  • Cleaning in the production environment
  • No need to strip down the production machines
  • Short or no production stop
  • Fast cleaning method Powerful but less aggressive
  • Leaves the base material intact
  • Suitable in food industry
  • Pellets do not conduct electricity
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Generates no additional waste
  • No decontamination nor disposal of blasting media needed

What Kinds Of Applications Are Not Suited For Dry Ice Cleaning?

There are three categories of applications where dry ice cleaning is not the right technique:

  • The base material is too soft and can be damaged by the high impact of the pellets. Examples are soft wood and some softer plastics.
  • Thick coatings of very hard material that have a strong bond with the underlying material.  Examples are baked-on enamel on cast iron, some primers on car parts, …
  • Soft contaminants, like oil, tend to splatter and may require special procedures or collection system.

 What Do I Need To Clean With Dry Ice?

  • A mobile blaster from Dry Ice UK’s CRYONOMIC® range.
  • Adequate compressed air and AC power.
  • Pellets in dry ice container.
  • Training to operate the equipment.

… All of which are available from Dry Ice UK

If desirable and the application allows, we can also supply a production site for your pellets consists of:

  • Pelletiser
  • Storage tank for liquid CO2
  • Liquid CO2

 What Is The Economical Benefit Of Dry Ice Cleaning?

  • Dry ice blasting allows machinery to be cleaned without dismantling or removing the parts from the production area. The reduction of down time of the equipment because of “cleaning in place” creates a significant economical benefit.
  • Dry ice cleaning is non abrasive. The lifetime of the machine parts are increased when maintained with dry ice cleaning.
  • Dry ice cleaning is a faster cleaning method for a lot of applications compared to conventional cleaning methods.
  • Dry ice cleaning doesn’t require expensive decontamination nor disposal of the blasting or cleaning media.

How Is Dry Ice UK’s Cryonomic® Equipment Different From Other Equipment?

Dry Ice UK’s Cryonomic® dry ice cleaning equipment contains three series.

  • The COB series are one hose machines.
  • The CAB series are two hose machines.
  • The new COMBI series can be used as either a single or dual hose unit.

The Cryonomic® range is totally unique in so far as for more aggressive cleaning for instance to remove paint or rust.

A fully patented Abrasive Module is available that sits piggy-back or standalone for adding measured amounts of abrasive media in the dry ice stream. NO OTHER machine manufacturer can offer this technology.

  • The COMBI series can be used either as a single or two hose system, extremely powerful machines, ideal to clean large surfaces without excessive pellet consumption.
    • when operated as a two hose unit can clean over 100m (in both height and distance) without any loss of performance or pellet degradation.
    • There is continuous pressure regulation between 0.5 bar and 16 bar with the same machine, gun and nozzle, which is generally not available in other machines.
    • CRYONOMIC® have introduced two very helpful features on all the machines
      • integrated light on the gun illuminates the work spot, resulting in more efficient cleaning
      • full remote control allowing adjustment of pellet rate, pressure and speed of pellets on the gun during blasting, this is a major advantage for most of the cleaning applications.
    • All machines are compact and easy to manoeuvre, set up and operate with one person.
    • Pellet consumption rate is indicated digitally and is very accurate.
  • The COB dry ice blaster is a compact one hose system, ideal for focused cleaning and excellent manoeuvrability.
    • The COB series is a one hose system, but due to its unique design, it is nevertheless economical with respect to dry ice consumption when compared to other one hose systems.
    • This machine is intended for low to medium pressure applications giving high cleaning performance with low air consumption.
    • The small and ergonomic blasting gun, combined with the focused cleaning beam, makes it ideal for applications with poor accessibility. A large range of different nozzles is available on the gun, and these nozzles are easily exchangeable due to its unique fixing concept.
    • The COB allows setting of dry ice consumption and blasting pressure on the control panel.
    • Because the gun-light is such a valuable tool, all the available nozzles can be used in combination with the gun-light!

We would be delighted to demonstrate our equipment at your facilities, just get in touch and we will do the rest!

Does Dry Ice Blasting Cool The Base Material?

Some local cooling takes place at the surface of the base material. The amount of cooling seldom exceeds -40° C below its initial temperature because a small portion of ice is projected during a short time at the same spot.

Can I Use Dry Ice On Hot Tooling?

In general dry ice blasting cleans faster when the base material is hot (higher thermo shock). Experience in cleaning hot moulds shows that the cooling does not cause any harm.

Can I Use Factory/Shop Air For Operating The System?

Yes, the COB series are specially designed for use with factory air, but there are certain conditions that must be met:

  • Typically, factory air is delivered at 5 to 7 bar. This pressure is sufficient for many applications.
  • Sufficient airflow must be available: at 6 bar the COB units consume 3–5 m³/min depending of gun type and nozzle.
  • In case of less available air volume, adapted guns and nozzles should be selected.
  • Factory air is dry in most cases. Dried air to a dew point of 0° C is sufficient in most cases. Drying up to -20° C is optimal.

Feel free to contact us for more information.

What Kind Of Air System Is Recommended For Contract Cleaners?

To take advantage of the full power of Dry Ice UK’s CRYONOMIC® Equipment capabilities, we recommend a screw type, oil free compressor that provides 6 to 12 m³ per minute at 6 to 12 bar.  Drying up to a dew point of 0° C is sufficient in most cases, but drying up to -20° C is optimal.

Feel free to contact us for more information.

 Is Dry Ice Blasting Noisy?

Blasting at a pressure of 6 bar can create noises up to 115 dB. When the pressure and air volume are increased to improve the cleaning performance, the noise level will always increase. Blasting with less noise at 6 bar is possible when using noise reducing nozzles, however speed of cleaning will also be lowered.  Ear protection for the operator is needed. Sound cabinets surrounding the cleaning booth in large production area’s are commonly applied.

 What Are The Safety Issues Relating To Dry Ice Blasting Systems?

A risk assessment should be carried out prior to all works, but in general terms the trained operator must always wear:

  • ear protection
  • protective overalls/clothing
  • gloves
  • respiratory protection such as dust mask (this will depend on the material being cleaned/removed)
  • safety glasses/goggles/visor

You must also evaluate the area in which the work is planned to be carried out relating to the presence of gaseous CO2.

Please call us, we would be happy to discuss all the aspects of dry ice blast cleaning and offer free and impartial advice.

Is Blasting In An Enclosed Area Possible?

Yes, but only with strict controls in place.

Depending on the pellet rate set on the equipment, the cleaning process converts between 20 kg/hr and 80 kg/hr of solid pellets into CO2-gas. This means that adequate ventilation and proper fresh air supply has to be supplied to the operator and other personnel in the area.

Please call us, we would be happy to discuss all the aspects of dry ice blast cleaning and offer free and impartial advice.

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