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"Dustless" Blasting? Tips for Safer, Cleaner Media Blasting

Ever heard of a “dustless” form of media blasting?

 

The term dustless blasting has gained a lot of ground in recent years. As great as this so-called dustless blasting sounds…unfortunately, such a thing as doesn’t really exist.

 

Yes, certain media blasting methods are safer and cleaner than others. But no matter what method you choose, dust – along with certain health and safety risks – will always be present.

 

However, with the proper precautions, it is possible to greatly reduce the amount of dust produced in the media blasting process.

 

The following media blasting tips will go a long way to help you keep your commercial property (and you) safe and clean in the process!

 

1. Wear Proper Media Blasting PPE

 

Media blasting uses pressurized air to shoot pieces of an abrasive material out of a nozzle to strip paint, rust, or other blemishes from a surface. Some particles are bound to become airborne in the process. Even if dust is not visible, that doesn’t necessarily mean it's not lingering in the air.

 

For this reason, media blasting operators should wear personal protective equipment.

 

Respirators help keep dust in the air from entering the lungs, reducing the risk of breathing problems. Loose-fitting respirators tend to provide a more comfortable fit than tight-fitting respirators. Instead of being tightly sealed to the face, loose-fitting respirators rest on the media blasting operator’s shoulders, allowing for proper air circulation around the head and neck to help keep the operator cool.

 

Hearing protection is also necessary when working around blasting equipment and compressors, as prolonged exposure to these loud devices can increase the risk of hearing issues. Luckily, some respirators come equipped with a communication system in the helmet, making it easy for operators to communicate without removing the respirator and hearing protection

 

Blast suits, gloves, and boots provide additional safety and comfort for the operator. Nylon blast suits are designed with the operator in mind, as it is made using lightweight, durable, and breathable material to ensure the operator is kept cool and protected from any abrasive material kickback.

 

Face shields and eye protection serve as additional precautions. Often, face shields are integrated into loose-fitting respirators and operators do not require a secondary face shield. However, it is strongly recommended other individuals on site not wearing a respirator should use safety glasses or a face shield as alternative eye protection.

 

2. Choose a Safe Abrasive and Media Blasting Method

 

The method we use at Sign LITE is referred to as a wet abrasive blasting or hydro blasting machine: it uses compressed air to propel a mix of water and crushed glass against the surface of the object to be cleaned. The glass strips the surface, while the addition of water cuts down on dust.

 

Why use crushed glass?  To put it simply, crushed glass media blasting is safe and effective. And unlike supposedly “dustless” alternatives like soda blasting, crushed glass media blasting doesn’t leave a messy residue behind on the surface. That means no extra clean-up work for you to deal with.

 

Crushed glass media blasting also happens to be the most eco-friendly way to remove graffiti; since glass is inert, non-toxic, and non-hazardous, it does no harm to the environment!

 

3. Hire a Media Blasting Professional

 

Media blasting is harder than it looks – which is why it’s important to hire a professional to ensure the job is done right the first time.

 

As you might imagine, media blasting is easy to mess up. The wrong blasting abrasive, improper equipment, or simply using the blasting unit incorrectly (like turning the pressure too high) can just as easily damage the surface you’re trying to save!

 

Professionals carry liability insurance that will cover these kinds of damages. So, not only is the likelihood of something going wrong much lower with a professional but also there will be a way to make reparations.

 

Like any power tool, there are cheap media blasting units and more sophisticated ones. You get what you pay for. The high-end equipment that will yield the best results is not cheap. If you’re trying to save money by not hiring a professional, this certainly isn’t the way to go.

 

Finally, a media blasting project will take time. If you’ve ever undertaken an improvement project on your own, you already know that it will always take longer than you expect. From researching the right unit to rent and media to use to doing the actual job, it will take hours, perhaps days of your time.

 

As a busy business owner, you know your time is worth more than that!

Not to mention, you won’t ever be able to do the job with the same precision and to the same quality level as a professional. Don’t stress over pinching a couple of pennies and let the pros handle this improvement project for your business.

 

Got a burning question about media blasting? The Sign LITE team knows its way around a blasting gun, and we’re happy to help. Reach out to us today to learn more!

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Danny Sullivan
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September 21, 2020
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