Dry Ice Blasting: Frequently Asked Questions
How did dry ice blasting technology originate?
It orginated at Lockheed in the 1970's when a coatings engineer, Calvin Fong, was researching ways to strip paint from aircraft. The technology did not become commercially available until Alpheus bought the licence and patents from Lockheed and introduced it into the US marketplace in 1987. CryoGenesis UK Ltd were the first company in the UK to introduce this new cleaning technology into the United Kingdom in 1994.
Are dry ice blasting systems noisy?
Yes. Noise is a function of air volume and air velocity. Within the blasting nozzle, the stationary air is sheared by the high velocity air causing turbulence which creates noise. The levels can range from 85 - 130 db.
How much dry ice should I expect to use?
The amount of dry ice needed to clean effectively can vary dramatically within the industry, but a 210 kg box of dry ice pellets should provide about 8 hours of continuous dry ice blasting in most industrial applications.
What happens to the contaminant?
People sometimes think as with the dry ice, the contamination itself disappears too, but it does not. All cleaning involves the relocation of dirt. When you use a mop on a floor, the dirt is transferred from the floor to water in the bucket. With dry ice cleaning, the dirt moves from an undesirable area to an area where it can be easily dealt with. If it is a dry substance, it generally falls to the floor where it can be swept or vacuumed away. If it is a wet substance like grease you take a methodical approach similar to hosing a driveway with water, you start at one end and guide the grease to the other end where it is vacuumed or squeegeed up. However, pre treatment of grease or oily substances with an applied powder allows the grease to 'leech itself' into the powder thus changing its molecular structure for effective removal using the dry ice blasting method.
Can dry ice blasting be used to clean hot online?
Dry ice blasting cleans most effectively when the contaminates and substrates are hot. Most contaminants have a weaker adhesive strength when hot. In many applications, you may be able to clean three to five times faster hot than cold. In addition, as dry ice sublimates on impact, entrapment of the blasting media is not an issue. Grit entrapment is an important reason those who blast with sand, walnut shells or other grit media cannot clean online.
Can dry ice blasting be used to remove paint?
Yes. however, the removal rate is dependent on a great many factors including: the underlying surface profile of the substrate, the thickness of the coating, the adhesive bond strength of the coating, and the cohesive strength of the coating (generally a function of age).
Can dry ice blasting remove rust?
Dry ice blasting will remove any loosely adhered oxidation and salts, but it will not remove the deeply adhered oxidation. You will not get a white metal finish. To achieve this you have to remove the surface metal, something that dry ice blasting cannot do. But in many applications, this is a major advantage as it preserves the surface integrity of the substrate.
Can I use dry ice blasting on a wooden surface?
Blasting wood with dry ice will raise the grain on the wood, leaving a finish similar to that of sandblasting. The dry ice will clean the wood, but may also remove some of the underlying surface unless a very delicate method of dry ice blasting is employed. See Coldjet Alpheus SDI-5
Does dry ice blasting generate static electricity?
It does. All dry air processes will generate a degree of static electricity and dry ice blasting is no exception. All Coldjet / Alpheus equipment is designed with integral grounding devices. As long as both the blasting unit and the workpiece are properly grounded to a good earthing point, you are unlikely to have static discharge problems.
How much regular maintenance is required for a dry ice blasting machine?
Minimal. Coldjet Alpheus dry ice blasting units are designed to provide years of trouble free use with a minimum of maintenance through normal usage. You must keep oil in the oiler, periodically check the filters and examine the hoses for cracks and abrasions. However, worn spare parts for dry ice blasting machines can be supplied by CryoGenesis UK. We recommend all dry ice blasting units are serviced every twelve months by one of our qualified service engineers.
How is dry ice blasting used in foundries?
Dry ice blasting equipment is used in foundries worldwide to clean core boxes and moulds. Dry ice blasting increases production by reducing downtime and eliminates mould damage, preserving the critical tolerances and greatly extending the life of the expensive tooling. Virtually every major tyre manufacturer uses dry ice blasting to clean their tyre moulds.
How is dry ice blasting used in the food industry?
Solid carbon dioxide is perfectly suited for use in this industry as it is food grade quality, the ingredient that provides carbonation in soft drinks. It can be used to clean ovens, conveyor belts and chains, dry mixers, moulds, packaging and laminating machines.