10 vapour abrasive blasting advantages

Vapour abrasive blasting has a number of important advantages compared to dry blasting

Vapour abrasive blasting, like dry blasting, uses an abrasive media and compressed air to achieve a desired finish on a chosen surface.

However, vapour blasting mixes the abrasive with water to enhance the levels of surface finish. On top of that, vapour blasting has even more advantages compared to dry blasting.

Although water was originally introduced as a reaction to the banning of silica, the other benefits of wet/vapour blasting quickly became apparent. In this article we summarise 10 of the most important advantages of vapour blasting.

1. Dust suppression
Vapour abrasive blasters use water (or any other liquid) to moisten the abrasive. The abrasive and water are mixed in a pressurised pot and then injected into the airflow. The water encapsulates and grounds the particles, reducing dust production by up to 95% compared to traditional dry blasting.

2. No (or minimal) containment needed
In most cases dry blasting operations require full containment to prevent blast emissions and debris from leaving the worksite. One of the main advantages of vapour abrasive blasting is the reduced requirement for containment. Because the emissions and debris are encapsulated and weighed down by water, they can be effectively contained with fewer preventative measures.

3. Safer blasting
The reduced dust production and mud splatter of wet blasting increases operators’ visibility, leading to fewer workplace accidents. In case of wet blasting, a respirator, eye protection and hearing protection are usually sufficient personal protection equipment (PPE). Traditional dry blasting requires full personal protection including a blast helmet, a blast suit, blast gloves, etc.

4. Lower media consumption
Vapour abrasive blasting produces wet particles that do more work due to their increased mass and hydrostatic force. Wet abrasive blasters can use a finer grade of abrasive, resulting in more impacts and lower media consumption.

5. Lower water consumption
Vapour abrasive blasting uses up to 80% less water than traditional wet blasting systems. Instead of a big, gritty mud puddle to clean up, treat and dispose of, vapour abrasive blasting leaves a small, controlled pile of debris.

6. Less operator strain
Vapour abrasive blasting mixes water and abrasive in a pressurized tank. Unlike slurry blasting, vapour abrasive blasters are light systems that do not require a long water hose attached to the nozzle. In combination with the low vibration degree, it reduces operator strain and fatigue.

7. Combined cleaning and washing
Just like dry blasting, vapour abrasive blasting cleans surfaces. However, vapour abrasive blasting does it better! As well as abrasive cleaning, vapour blasters can also be used without abrasive media to wash surfaces. It makes them the perfect tool for removing rust from pits and crevices and rinsing off soluble salts and other contaminants that cause flash rust. That means there is no need for an extra pressure washer.

8. Longer equipment life
Traditional dry blasting doesn’t just have an abrasive effect on objects’ surfaces – the equipment itself has a lot to endure. Vapour abrasive blasting largely resolves this issue. Because the abrasive is lubricated before leaving the nozzle, it works as a lubricant, causing less wear on nozzles, hoses, and valves.

9. Suitable for a wide range of applications
The abrasive/water mix and the air pressure of vapour abrasive blasters are highly adjustable, making them appropriate for small and large applications. Vapour blasting can prepare a wide range of substrates, from blasting white metal to cleaning delicate surfaces.

10. Eco-friendly
Vapour abrasive blasters use less water and less abrasive, leading to reduced containment and clean-up. They can be used for projects where traditional dry blasting would be too expensive, such as within municipalities and in environmentally sensitive areas.

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