Plastic media is a safe and gentle option for blasting if you need to strip soft metals or aerospace materials. The glass beads used in this blasting are safe and non-toxic compared to other more traditional media, such as silica sand, which is becoming more regulated due to its link to health problems like silicosis.
Unlike chemical stripping, which can be labor-intensive and time-consuming, blasting equipment quickly strips surfaces for coating and refinishing. It also gets into all the nooks and crannies that, if possible, would be difficult to reach using other methods. The plastic media blasting process uses a much more soft, reusable abrasive material than silica sand in a blasting machine and operates at lower pressures of 14-40 psi. This makes it safer for softer or delicate substrates. In the hands of a skilled operator, significant time and cost savings are achieved versus chemical stripping. The softer nature of the plastic abrasive media benefits surface preparation and can impart an optimal surface profile for optimum paint adhesion. This is a massive benefit over other cleaning and stripping methods, such as water or soda blasting, which can leave behind flash rust or warping issues on certain materials. Moreover, the media’s softness helps preserve the integrity of thinner gauge metals.
Plastic blasting media is safe for many soft substrates, including aluminum, fiberglass, rubber, and electronic components. It is also non-toxic and chemical-free, making it an ideal option for cryogenic deflashing applications and rubber mold cleaning. Because it is a dry process, it doesn’t generate heat that can warp or pit surfaces. The soft, pre-formed ball shapes of this blasting media polish while they remove surface contaminants, leaving a brighter finish after the stripping process. These media are recycled after blasting, reducing hazardous waste generated and eliminated from the facility. This decrease in waste reduces waste handling, tracking, and disposal costs.
The process of abrasive blasting uses air propulsion to clean surfaces. This is a safer option than chemical stripping, which could leave behind chemicals that damage the surface of the substrate being cleaned. It also uses less water and media than other methods, such as wet blasting. Plastic blasting uses light abrasives, such as crushed glass or ceramic grit, to remove contaminants and create surface profiling for coating adhesion. These abrasives are more gentle than metal blasting materials, such as aluminum oxide or cut wire, making them suitable for sensitive surfaces. Blasting with a plastic abrasive is safe for most employees, but wearing appropriate PPE is essential, as with any other blasting method. It’s also safer than wet blasting, which can cause rust. The spherical shape of the blasting media produces a smooth, uniform finish that’s ideal for paint and mold cleaning, as well as aerospace and automotive applications. It also leaves no residual flash rust on the surface, unlike other types of blasting.
Plastic blast media is more gentle than traditional abrasives and highly reusable. Its ability to clean delicate parts and materials such as aluminum, thin fiberglass, and soft metals without damaging them makes it a cost-effective option in mass production settings or if your shop works with a tight budget. Blasting with plastic media can be performed at lower delivery pressures than conventional abrasive blasting, which reduces costs by lowering your facility’s energy and water usage. It also reduces hazardous waste generation and disposal requirements. The abrasive used in a blasting process is accelerated by high air pressures, creating an impact against the prepared surface that removes coatings and other contaminants from the surface. The particles can be controlled in size, shape, and density to create a specific surface profile. This gives shops greater control over the results than is possible with chemical stripping.