Corrosion Protection Part 2: CleanWirx and EcoQuip

A New Approach to Corrosion Protection Part 2

Corrosion Exchange, LLC, a Houston-based company, has introduced a patent-pending product to protect metal surfaces from corrosion when using wet and vapor abrasive blasting equipment. In part one of this article, we introduced CleanWirx 207 as a one-step process that converts iron sulfide to a soluble compound that can be more thoroughly removed. In this article, we discuss how it is used with the Graco EcoQuip 2 Vapor Abrasive blasting product line. 

Abrasive Blasting's Role

Vapor abrasive blast cleaning and CleanWirx provide a particularly strong combination in surface preparation. Historically, sand blasting and other dry blasting methods have been used in surface preparation and restoration. To minimize emissions of dust, silica, and other particles linked to health and environmental concerns, wet blasting was developed in the 1960s. Wet blasting was slow to catch on due to heavy water use and challenges of containment, cleanup, and disposal of the water-sand mixture. 

To address some of the challenges of wet and dry blasting, a growing number of contractors and owners have turned to vapor abrasive blast cleaning, which combines water and abrasive in a pressurized chamber and injects the mixture into an adjustable airflow. The vapor abrasive approach encapsulates individual grains of abrasive material in water, weighing the particles down and providing more mass on the particle at impact. Because dust is minimized, less containment is generally required and media clean-up time can be reduced. Vapor abrasive blast cleaning also reduces rebound of abrasive particles, which pose risk to workers and the environment. 

Vapor abrasive blast cleaning units, such as the Graco EcoQuip 2 shown in Figure 1, suppress dust up to 92 percent when compared to dry blasting. The EQs and EQs elite models use approximately 13 to 18 gallons of water per hour, far less than wet blasting.

EcoQuip 2 EQs

Figure 1: The Graco EcoQuip 2 EQs uses a water-abrasive mixture to prepare and restore surfaces. 

 

Reaping the Benefits

The CleanWirx-vapor abrasive blast cleaning process has been used effectively on tanks, industrial equipment, and other steel surfaces. As an example, an above-ground storage tank at a petroleum tank storage facility in Houston was experiencing excessive corrosion in sensitive and congested areas. Traditional surface treatment techniques were not achieving the results the owner was seeking. Using CleanWirx 207 and vapor abrasive blast cleaning, the tanks were successfully cleaned, inspected, and coated below budget and on time.

Initially, three tanks were selected to receive the CleanWirx 207 surface decontamination treatment. After observing the results, the owner had three other tanks treated with CleanWirx 207. The refinery has since adopted CleanWirx 207 as new standard in surface preparation.

 

Time Savings

In addition to achieving new levels of surface cleanliness, the CleanWirx-vapor blast cleaning process can also achieve significant time savings. To illustrate this, consider the following example. Using traditional methods, a 36,000-square-foot facility might require 45 days to blast, coat, and inspect. This is based on a 10-hour workday and 800 square feet of coverage per day, with setup, blasting, coating, and inspection, as shown in Figure 2.

 

Traditional Method: 450 hours

36,000 sq. ft. @ 800 (avg) sq. ft. per day = 45 days to complete project.

Cumulative work hours

Figure 2: Traditional blast cleaning and coating might require 45 days to treat a 36,000-square-foot facility.

*Note:

  • Any inspection failures will accumulate additional hours
  • Sq. ft. per day negatively impacted by weather delays/dehumidification
  • Added steps for decontamination (repeat attempts expected utilizing standard agents such as salt removers, inhibitors, rust converters)
  • Unpredictable efficacy of traditional methods known to extend project deadlines and costs

Using vapor abrasive blast cleaning and CleanWirx 207, the same facility could be treated in 27 days, as shown in Figure 3. The efficiencies gained in cleaning the surface thoroughly and swiftly result in shortening the project duration by 40 percent.

 

CleanWirx Method: 270 hours

36,000 sq. ft. @ 1,350 (avg) sq. ft. per day = 27 days to complete project.

CleanWirx blasting and coating time savings

Figure 3: Using abrasive blast cleaning and CleanWirx 207, a 36,000-square-foot facility could be treated in 27 days. 

Considering the time savings and enhanced levels of surface cleaning, the CleanWirx-vapor abrasive blast cleaning combination can provide an attractive option to owners facing large surface cleaning projects.

 

About Corrosion Exchange, LLC

Corrosion Exchange, LLC, is the developer and manufacturer of the CleanWirx 207 One Step application process, which decontaminates surfaces at the molecular level, eliminating visually undetectable levels of highly corrosive substances. The company provides a unique health-, safety-, and environmentally-conscious metal surface preparation solution, even in the most challenging heavy industry environments.

About the Authors

Loren L. Hatle is founder of Corrosion Exchange, LLC, and inventor of the CleanWirx 207 process. He has served as CEO, chairman of the board, and chief technical officer of companies formed to eliminate corrosion. With over 42 years’ experience in corrosion control and consulting, he has developed numerous corrosion control processes and products and has received multiple patents. He is certified by NACE International (formerly the National Association of Corrosion Engineers) in the Coating Inspector Program (CIP) as #207. 

Wade Hannon is an Area Sales Manager – Specialty Products at Graco Inc. He is responsible for equipment demonstrations, technical support, distributor development and sales support, marketing and promotion within assigned territories, trade shows and internal sales support.

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