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Pressure vs Suction Blast Cabinets

Blast cabinets come in a variety of sizes and styles to suit your production needs.  In addition to choosing an appropriate blast cabinet size, you have to consider which method of feeding your blast media in the cabinet is best for your particular application. The two most common methods of feeding media to a blast nozzle in a blast cabinet are pressure and suction feed. Both pressure and suction feed have their pros and cons, which by knowing them you can better choose the right cabinet style for you; or if you want you can schedule a time with us and we will review your project to see the right blast cabinet for your needs.

Suction Blast Cabinet Pros

  • Lower initial cost – A suction Blast Cabinet costs considerably less than a pressure blast cabinet – the reason for the lower initial cost is that the suction cabinet has less involved in its build which results in a lower cost for you.
  • Lower Operating Costs – Since the blast media is being supplied by a suction action rather than being fed with pressure, the media will leave the blast nozzle at a lighter pressure and speed. This ultimately will result in less wear to the internals of your cabinet and equipment including the blast nozzle, window covers, and blast cabinet lining.
  • Lower Air Volume Requirements – If you are a small shop or air availability is a challenge suction feed blast cabinets will use less air compared to a pressure feed cabinet with a comparable blast nozzle size. For an overview of what you can expect for air requirements for a suction blast nozzle you can check out this Clemco Suction Feed reference vs Pressure Feed

Suction Blast Cabinet Cons

  • Slower Production Rates – A suction blast cabinet will supply media at a lower pressure and a reduced speed. Which is covered in this article, are two of six variables that impact your blasting rate of production. In general Pressure Feed Cabinets will be 3 – 4 times faster in cleaning products than a suction feed sandblast cabinet.
  • Less Cleaning Capability – Due to the lower pressures that suction blast cabinets use to clean products, they will typically not be able to remove heavy deposits from a products surface
  • Will not work with all medias – Heavy metallic medias like steel shot will typically not be able to be blasted in a suction blast cabinet.

Pressure Blast Cabinet Pros

  • HIGH production – By far the greatest benefit to a pressure fed blast cabinet is that it is 3 – 4 times as fast in cleaning a product surface
  • Better cleaning ability – Since a pressure blast cabinet provides media at a greater force, it will clean products that have a greater degree of surface contaminant
  • Can be used with metallic medias – Metallic medias can be required to achieve the surface profile in certain applications and if they are needed a pressure blast cabinet is often recommended

Pressure Blast Cabinet Cons

  • Greater initial expense – A pressure cabinet will cost considerably more initially than a suction blast cabinet. This is largely due to design requirements that are needed to support pressure blasting.
  • Faster Component wear – Items like blast nozzles, cabinet linings, and window covers will wear faster because the media will be moving at a higher force and speed compared to a suction fed cabinet
  • Higher volume of air needed – A pressure blast cabinet will require significantly more air than a suction cabinet. For example, with a number 5 nozzle you would need about 120 CFM to use that nozzle typically where with a suction blast nozzle of a similar size you would only need about 32 CFM.

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