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A Guide to Automated Blast Systems and Automated Blast Cabinets

Depending on your application you may be evaluating whether you can automate your blast application. Automation of a blast process presents a variety of opportunities as well as challenges, it can also be a higher initial expense.  However, when properly implemented it can result in faster production times, cost reductions, and greater repeatability of a blast profile. This article will aim to cover whether automation is right for your blast application, and the what method of automation may be right for you.

When is blast automation right?

Blast automation is ideal for a variety of processes, which is why it is always a good idea to speak to a blast equipment provider to see if it will work for your application. However, in general automated blast processes are well suited for situations where:

The blast surface is routine

Meaning each part to be blasted requires blasting in a similar location each time.

The blast profile is routine 

Each time you blast the product surface you want to achieve a routine blast profile.

The volume is appropriate

Typically automated blasting is suited for higher volume applications. If you will only blast a few products a day it may make more sense to consider using a standard blast cabinet.

Safety concerns

In certain industries human involvement needs to be minimized due to potential dangers of interacting with the product to be blasted. Common industries that this is true for are those that work with the defense industry.

Types of automated blast Operation

Which May Be Right For You

Mechanical Wheel Blasting

Commonly known as a sling blaster. A mechanical wheel blaster uses mechanical force to sling blast media at a products surface. It is well suited for larger products that have a very uniform surface. Typically sling blaster is well suited for a flat product surface. For a greater overview of sling (wheel) blasters you can check out this guide here

Automated Blast Cabinets

Automated blast cabinets utilize suction or pressure blast nozzles mounted either on a stationary arm or potentially a moving arm. Automated blast cabinets may also have automatic doors or an indexing table inside to move a product through the process.  Automated blast cabinets are ideal for applications that require greater control over a blast profile. They can be better targeted in comparison to a wheel blast application. They can also allow for greater control over the profile obtained. This greater precision in control is due to the ability to change the blast pressures that you are using. By having greater control of blast pressures you can better determine the profile you obtain with greater precision. This can particularly critical for applications like shot peening. Automated blast cabinets are also ideal when you have routine, uniform, recessed areas that must be blasted.  By being able to angle blast nozzles in various directions we can better create a profile in hard to reach areas.   

Wet Blasting Cabinet Applications

 In addition to wheel blasting and automated blast cabinets, there are also wet blast cabinets. Wet Blast cabinets use a mixture of media and water. They are typically used for blast applications where you need to polish a surface and remove contaminant. They typically will not be used to create a physical profile on a products surface. They can also be ideal when any residual heat that is created during a blast process is problematic due to the product surface you are blasting. 

Automated Soda Blasting Cabinets

 Soda blasting uses baking soda and results in only cleaning a surface. They are also able to be used with food grade products if you select proper options with a soda blast cabinet.

Tumbler Blast Cabinets

Tumbler blast cabinets utilize a rotating basket and mounted stationary guns, making them a form of an automated blast cabinet. They allow for fast processing of a larger batches of products. They also allow for blasting of all surfaces of the smaller parts effectively. Common applications include cleaning and shot peening of a batch of products.

 Final Thoughts

Ultimately automated blasting has a variety of things that should be considered from if you should automate to which automation solution might make sense for your application. If you have questions or need further help on automated blast processes you can contact us for a free consultation

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