The Vital Components of a Blast Machine (Part 1)
Harmony is not a word often heard in the blasting industry.The word itself invokes thoughts of a group of singers belting out beautiful tones that merge in your ears to create beautiful music. But the basic definition of harmony also best describes a well running wheel blasting operation. When all the various subsystems of a blast machine are working together, each performing their part correctly, what is achieved is as beautiful as a Simon and Garfunkel ballad (ok, maybe not, but you get where I’m going with this). It takes all the major components of a wheel blast machine to work in harmony in order to achieve the proper clean or profile desired. Let’s look at these major components.
Responsible for cleaning the abrasive of the dust, fines and other unwanted particles from the operating mix, the separator pulls air through a curtain of falling abrasive causing the mix to separate into heavier and lighter particles. The lighter, unwanted particles are then divided off by a scalping bar to be separated into the discard bin or the dust collector.
Throws the abrasive at high speed, using centrifugal force, to break up sand, slag, paint, etc. on the parts being blasted. The abrasive rides along the blades of the wheel, gaining speed until it reaches the end, where it is thrown through the wheel opening. The control of this action is through the inner parts of the wheel (control cage). Focusing the release point of the abrasive is key to ensuring your parts are getting blasted properly.
3) Blast Cabinet:
Contains the abrasive and parts within the machine so that the blasting is safe to the machine’s surroundings. This area of the machine receives a lot of abuse and if not properly maintained, will quickly wear down and create potential safety hazards.
4) Recovery System:
Reclaims the abrasive to be used again for blasting after cleaning it of the unwanted particles. Once the abrasive has left the wheels and collided with the parts, most of it is still able to be used again for further blasting. For this to happen, the recovery system (lower screw, elevator, and upper screw) must carry it back to the separator to be cleaned and deposited into the storage hopper.
5) Dust collector:
Removes the finer dust from the system for disposal and pulls the air through the separator for separation of the fines and unwanted particles. It is also responsible for removing dust from the blast chambers so that it does not leak out of the machine and into the shop area.
Perhaps the most important to keeping the blast machine operational by identifying potential issues and ensuring the machine is ran properly. There are many checks that need to occur daily, weekly, and monthly to maintain a proactive approach to machine maintenance. The operator is the front-line man and a key player in this.
Each of these components is vital to the others. When one fails, the others are sure to fail as well. In the coming days, I will present details about each of these systems and how to make them work together to produce a masterpiece in your finished product.
W Abrasives has a long history of providing exceptional service to the blasting industry through quality products and excellent customer service. We now carry that expertise over into our Technical Services department and offer complete service of your blast machines. We can help you achieve that harmony.
Written by :
Technical Service Advisor, NAO