What is Blast Cleaning?

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Blast cleaning is a process which is used to treat a surface, produce a surface finish or remove contaminants on a part. Different techniques can be used to produce this effect, two of those being dry blasting and wetblasting. The wetblasting process requires water mixed with different types of abrasive/media depending on the finish required. The slurry mixture (water & abrasive) is then propelled at high pressure and on impact cleans/etches or peens the substrate of the component. Dry blasting on the other hand, is when the dry abrasive media is accelerated through a blasting nozzle by means of compressed air only. Different results can be achieved using these methods, for example a fine glass bead can be used to produce a softer finish. This is often required within industries that produce parts that need an aesthetically pleasing appearance on substrates such as aluminium, brass and bronze etc. Component surface preparation is an essential step prior to the application of any coating, it is important that the part is clean with a rough surface as this impacts on how well the coating will adhere, this finish is achieved using a more abrasive media.


The Aquablast Range

Vixen Surface Treatments Ltd. manufacture different ranges of machines suitable for the blast cleaning process. The Aquablast range is our range of wet blasting cabinets that come in different sizes and can also include a variety of optional extras to make the process easier for the operator. The Aquablast cabinets are designed to simultaneously blast and degrease components in a quick and easy process to achieve outstanding finishing results on a variety of components. There are many benefits of wetblasting for different industry sectors including aerospace, automotive, construction and specialist manufacturing.

The main benefit of wetblasting is that the entire process is water based within the cabinet, this means that the entire process is dust free which enables this machinery to be sited in clean areas and is also safer and easier for the operator. Th

e water acts as a lubricant and causes a flushing action to occur preventing media impregnation in soft materials; this produces a softer satin sheen than dry blasting, which is another main benefit of the wetblasting process. The water mixed with abrasive alongside the altered angle produces a lapping effect, which travels across the surface of the components, creating a satin/polished finish.

 

Types of Media

The type of media used in this process can change depending on the desired finish. A range of results can be achieved by altering the type of abrasive and blast pressure applied. The finish can also differentiate by using the same type of media but changing the grade. For Example, a fine glass bead will produce a more polished, satin finish which is often used for an aesthetically pleasing surface. Whereas a heavier grade of glass bead will produce a shot peened/rippled effect which is good for stress relieving on metals etc.

Bespoke Machinery for Blast Cleaning

Within different industries, the specification of machines can differ a lot for blast cleaning of particular parts. Vixen hold the technical capacity to create bespoke machinery, specifically tailored to a variety of customer requirements. Bespoke builds for Vixen is a significant part of the business model, it is not unusual for them to undertake complete cleaning lines or bespoke/automated washing and wetblasting machinery.  Whether the application requires small alterations to a standard machine or a full turnkey CAD drawing proposal, Vixen can provide completely bespoke and unique products tailored to a customer’s individual needs. Vixens growth in export sales is due to their ability to communicate knowledgeably with international customers through our distributors and dedicated export manager, meaning that the excellent service does not just stop in the UK.

 

Blast Cleaning Worldwide

Vixen take pride in offering first class worldwide customer service, with a team of engineers who commission new machinery globally, and are able to offer servicing of machinery and repairs of machines in the UK and abroad, ensuring you receive the highest level of customer service. Once a machine is purchased, an extensively trained aftersales team with expert knowledge handle the account solving any problems or queries regarding media, spare parts and technical operations.


The aftersales team work alongside the service engineers who perform regular maintenance, inspection and repairs of the surface treatment machinery and equipment. Dependant on the customers preference, care plans can be offered in bronze, silver and gold which include monthly or quarterly services, including break down cover which is also available.

VIXEN - UK Office Research & Development

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