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What is Wheel Blasting and When is it Right For You?

Centrifugal wheel blasting uses a mechanical wheel to propel blast media at a products surface. This is different than traditional sandblasting that uses air pressure to deliver sandblast media to a product surface. Both forms of blasting result in the same outcome, being to create a surface profile as well as remove any surface contaminants. Despite their similarities, each type of surface preparation has its right place in the finishing industry.

The Benefits of Centrifugal Wheel Blasting

  • Centrifugal wheel blasting provides an automated surface preparation option that can be lower-cost than an equivalent automated pressure blast system for larger products
  • Centrifugal wheel blasting can provide highly repeatable blast profiles on large flat surfaces better than pressure blasting
  • Centrifugal wheel blasting does not require high volumes of compressed air which can be large expense to be able to accommodate a traditional blast system
  • Wheel blasters are typically faster at prepping a surface-by using a mechanical method of sending media at a products surface as wheel blasters typically moves more media in a given time than a sandblast nozzle which yields faster preparation times for a given product when compared to compressed air blasting

The Drawbacks of Centrifugal Wheel Blasting

  • Centrifugal wheel blasting will not perform well with product surfaces that are not uniform and relatively flat
  • Centrifugal wheel blasting cannot work with all product substrates-because I centrifugal wheel blaster uses high velocity to propel media, it will often damage substrates that are not hard enough material to withstand the impact of media that comes from a centrifugal wheel blaster
  • Limitations on compatible sandblast media-due to the way standard centrifugal wheel blasters sling media at a product’s surface, they cannot work with all types of blast media.
  • Higher maintenance costs-since a wheel blaster uses mechanical components, and sandblast media tends to damage metal components rapidly, parts can often be needed to be replaced more often resulting in higher cost in maintaining centrifugal wheel blaster compared to air blasting
  • Can require large floor space – If you have large products a centrifugal wheel blaster can take up a lot of floor space as it will have to be large enough for the product to fit in the wheel blaster

When is Centrifugal Wheel Blasting Right for You

  • If you have a product that has a uniform surface without a lot of recessed areas and has a substrate that can withstand the force and volume of media delivered by a centrifugal wheel blaster
  • You have a product that is a strong enough substrate to extend the high velocity at which media is propelled from a centrifugal wheel blaster
  • You blast products that are relatively similar and do not have a lot of variety or all your products do not have recessed areas
  • Your blast process requires a surface profile – standard centrifugal wheel blasting is not ideal for removing contaminant without creating a profile in the substrate

When is Centrifugal Wheel Blasting May not be right for you

  • You have a lot of hidden recessed areas in your products
  • You have the need to strip an existing coating without altering a substrate
  • You need to use soft medias like corncob or plastic beads in your blast process

Conclusion

Centrifugal wheel blasting is a great solution for products with a uniform surface that require the removal as well as creation of a surface profile. Centrifugal wheel blasting can be great due to its automated capabilities and faster processing times compared to air blasting. However, it will not work well with softer blast medias as well as applications where your primarily concerned with removal of coating while not altering the substrate at all. Additionally, it doesn’t work well with irregularly shaped products that have a lot of recessed areas.

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