More than 10 years ago, Winoa has developed a global blasting cost analysis technology: the WA COST. The main purpose of this technology is to identify cost reduction opportunities by evaluating the global blasting cost per unit of production (i.e. EUR/blasted ton or EUR/blasted parts). Indeed, the global blasting costs can be compared to an iceberg: the easiest part to evaluate is the cost of the abrasive, but this represents only a small percentage of the global blasting cost. The largest part, which is less visible, comprises maintenance costs (manpower, spare parts and wear parts), manpower for blasting, wastes disposal and energy consumption. After more than 10 years of worldwide usage, it appeared that, in average, maintenance costs are representing between 20% and 40% of the global blasting cost in foundry application, whereas abrasive and energy costs are representing respectively about 25% and 15% of it. 

Of course, blast cleaning process in not only a question of costs, but also a question of productivity : it is mandatory for the blast cleaning process to be able to follow the flow of parts coming from the casting line. As a consequence, the setting of a blast cleaning line, and the choice of the right abrasive, is always done by considering an expected productivity level. By the way, this is the main reason why high-carbon steel abrasives is, by far, the most widely used technology. Indeed, no other blasting media is more flexible than high-carbon steel abrasives : thanks to their heat-treatability and their crushability, they can be produced under different hardness levels and different shapes (spherical or angular), allowing to find a suitable formulation, whatever the situation and the foundry configuration. For instance, a hard angular shaped media will favor the productivity but will induce regular maintenance actions on the machine, while a soft round shaped media will reduce the frequency of maintenance actions, at the expense of productivity. Regarding the global blasting cost per blasted part, which is the main decision driver when setting-up a blasting process, the equation is not so simple : a highly productive blasting process will require more frequent maintenance actions than a less productive one, but will output more parts in the same amount of time. At the end, only the WA COST approach will allow to make a decision on a consistant and reliable basis. After more than 10 years editing WA COST analyses, it appears that using a highly productive blasting media is the most cost-efficienct solution in the large majority of cases.