Up until recently the only available media for preparing non-ferrous components or assemblies for painting was aluminium oxide grit which relies on sharp cutting edges to clean away rust and old coatings and is extremely friable.
The latest development in Stainless Steel Grit – HiChrome Abrasive – is a cost-effective alternative to aluminium oxide with none of its inherent problems.
The main issue with aluminium oxide grit is that it breaks down very easily on impact, generating large quantities of dust. This causes decreased visibility for the operator making them less productive and has the potential to cause accidents. In addition, if the dust is not efficiently removed then it can cause rapid wear on blast nozzles, guns, hoses, couples and the recovery systems designed to clean and recycle it.
HiChrome stainless steel grit contains 2% carbon and 30% chrome, maintains 8 on the Mohs scale and has a bulk density of 4750kg/cu.m meaning it is extremely durable and has a low break down rate generating very little dust. Unlike aluminium oxide, it relies on inertia instead of sharp cutting edges and is available in a range of sizes to suit various applications.
HiChrome also saves the user a significant amount of time as it reduces the processing period by up to 50% which helps to cut down compressed air and electricity costs. It also helps to cut down costs elsewhere. Firstly, the durability of this media means that the user benefits from reduced usage.
Case studies have shown that 1 ton of HiChrome will give the same results as 33 tons of aluminium oxide. Secondly, HiChrome helps to reduce operating costs as the low breakdown rate means that all wearing parts last much longer, cutting down replacement and maintenance costs. Disposal is also cheaper as there is a much smaller volume of used media, dust and contamination mix to be removed.
A leading European supplier of tanks for the storage and transportation of food grade liquids and chemicals reported that, after using HiChrome abrasive for a year, blast media costs were down 60%, blast nozzle wear was down 70% and waste disposal costs were down by 95%.
They also reported that the stainless steel grit was giving a consistent and even profile to specification.
Another user who switched to HiChrome also reported great results. The company specialised in repairing shipping containers and estimated that each container would use an average of 95kgs of aluminium oxide. In contrast, each container now only requires 2.88kgs of HiChrome.
The company also reported that nozzle, blast hose and filter cartridge usage has reduced significantly along with other consumables and lost production due to maintenance has reduced from 500 to 250 man hours.
These examples just go to show what a significant difference the right media can make and in time, we expect to see HiChrome almost entirely replace aluminium oxide as the go-to abrasive for non-ferrous painting. For more information about HiChrome abrasive visit airblastafc.com.
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