Oil rig maintenance ECOQUIP 2
Maintenance of offshore installations is easy, safe and efficient with wet abrasive blasting
Maintenance of an oil drilling platform or other offshore installations is hard.
The weather conditions can be tough and the technical structures can be difficult to reach. All the more reason to use an efficient and safe blasting method.
Not only the environmental conditions, but also health and safety regulations influence maintenance operations for oil drilling platforms. The specific settings of offshore installations set stringent rules and requirements for cleaning, maintenance and renovation methods. Wet abrasive blasting is the fastest, safest and most efficient way to clean offshore rigs and platforms. In this article we explain why.
Wet abrasive blasting uses water to encapsulate and ground the abrasive and coating particles. This technique reduces dust production up to 95% compared to traditional dry blasting, making containment very easy or even unnecessary. By leaving the surrounded area unaffected, it allows nearby workers to continue their operations without disturbance. Consequently, wet abrasive blasting does not lead to downtime and stimulates productivity.
Wet abrasive blasting removes not only dirt and contaminants but also the toughest coatings faster than dry blasting, but without the hindering dust.
Dry blasting health risks
Dry blasting holds important risks for operators in terms of exposure to crystalline silica. Inhalation of these silica can cause various health problems, such as lung cancer. To protect workers from these dangers, the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has created rules to limit operators’ exposure to this hazardous material.
How wet abrasive blasting complies with OSHA rules
These are the most important OSHA rules:
· Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a respirator, gloves, hearing protection and blast suits.
· Use less toxic abrasive blasting material.
· Use abrasives delivered with water to reduce dust.
With wet abrasive blasting, the blast media is moistened prior to impacting the surface, thus reducing dust. Most wet abrasive blasting units are compatible with many different abrasive types, including non-toxic blast media.
Wet abrasive blasting in explosive surroundings (ATEX)
Oil drilling platforms hold increased explosion risks, requiring equipment and protective systems that comply with the European ATEX-directive. This affects the blasting methods that can be applied on offshore installations.
Graco’s wet abrasive blasting EcoQuip system complies with ATEX standards EN13463-1 and EN13463-5, making them approved for use in area classification zone 1 and zone 2 applications only.
Wet abrasive blasting is not considered as non-sparking. However, tests have shown that the sparks generated by abrasive blasting are no source for ignition as they are low in heat energy and cooled by the encapsulating water. The blast stream disperses and dilutes all flammable vapours in the area where sparks occur, further reducing the ignition risk.
With wet blasting offshore maintenance can be performed quickly and efficiently without installation downtime. It enables you to keep your workers safe and stay OSHA compliant.
Unlike dry blasting, the process does not produce ignitable sparks, static electricity, or a huge plume of dust. That makes it safe to use in explosive environments such as oil drilling platforms. and offshore installations without containment and without hindering other operations.
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