Frequently Asked Questions
What is Ice Blasting? (SOURCE: http://coulsoniceblast.com)
Ice Blasting is the smart solution for companies concerned with minimizing waste produced during industrial cleaning applications. Compared to other blast cleaning processes, Ice Blast reduces secondary waste by up to 95%. Ice Blasting is a simple, non-abrasive, cleaning process that capitalizes on ordinary tap water, compressed air and electricity to create an environmentally-friendly, cost effective method for tackling industrial cleaning jobs.
How does Ice Blast work?
Within 70 seconds from pushing the start button the Ice Blast machine is ready for work. Crystalline ice particles are produced continuously at a rate of 270 lbs per hour. Using a two hose system, ice particles are transported through a low pressure hose to the blasting nozzle where a second higher pressure hose delivers up to 12 bar to accelerate the ice particles towards the target surface. The solid ice particles displace surface contaminants by imparting the energy from the impact and from the lateral deformation of the ice particles. Melting after impact, the ice then flushes away the debris. This “Scrub and Flush” process is what makes Ice Blasting effective.
How does Ice Blast reduce waste?
Ice Blast uses only 27 gallons of ordinary tap water converted into crystalline ice particles per hour. Upon impact, the ice particles explode, turning approximately half of its solid mass into vapor and the other half into liquid. The amount of liquid residual for collection will vary with the relative humidity and evaporation rate of the ambient atmosphere.
How is Ice Blast different than abrasive or water blasting?
Ice Blasting does not generate dust common with most abrasive media blasting operations. This is especially important for operators involved in lead based paint or asbestos abatement jobs where airborne particulate levels must remain low. Ice Blasting is non-abrasive and will not leave a profile (*on most substrates).
Typical water blasting operations produce 90 – 600 gallons of liquid that generally needs to be contained and collected. At 27 gallons per hour there is a large cost-reduction factor in containment and disposal, especially of hazardous materials.
How is Ice Blast different than Dry Ice (CO2)?
For one, dry Ice Blasting requires the purchase of a blast media i.e. CO2. This comes in either block or pellet form that requires insulated storage and handling. Also, dry ice has a relatively short shelf life; it disappears, or loses its mass, by sublimation during transportation, storage and handling at up to 10% per day. Ice Blast does not produce CO2 during operations, making it safer to use in confined areas or where adequate ventilation is an issue.
Where do I purchase the blast media?
Blast media for Ice Blast is purchased from your local water utility company. Simply connect a ¾” water line (literally a garden hose) from your tap to the Ice Blast machine. Water is available 24 hours a day and is very inexpensive compared to purchasing blast media of any type.
Can Ice Blast strip paint?
Yes and no. Ice Blast uses the energy released upon impact to overcome a coating’s cohesive bond. If this “bond” cannot be overcome then ice alone will not be effective without the use of our ice enhancement system.
Can Ice Blast be used on wood?
Ice Blast has been used on wood successfully where lead based coatings had to be removed prior to the demolition of the structure. But, frankly speaking, wood is one of the few substrates that Ice Blast will erode. The deciding factor for using Ice Blast on afore mentioned project was Ice Blast’s low volume of waste generated (in regard to containment and collection), no blast media to purchase, worker safety features, and its ease of operation.
Can Ice Blast remove rust?
Yes and no. Because alone it is non-abrasive process, deep-seated rust is difficult to remove completely and a profile will not be generated on the substrate. We recommend either using our ice enhancement system or a rust converter primer once the loose rust has been removed.
Can Ice Blast be used on glass?
Yes. Ice Blast has been successful in removing paints, grease, oil, grime, and other contaminants from a variety of glass surfaces, including windows, gauge panels and controls. However, care must be exercised when blasting on these surfaces to avoid shattering. Typically the blast pressure is turned down and a longer stand-off is required.
Where is Ice Blast used?
Please see list of applications.
What other equipment is needed?
A source for water, air and electricity are needed to operate the Ice Blast machine. Standard water supply is ¾” potable water line normally found in all plants and facilities. Normal air supply is 175 l/s at 8 – 10 bar, however, blast pressures up to 12 bar can be used for faster cleaning rates on stubborn contaminants and coatings. Depending on the operating environment an after-cooler may be needed to keep the compressed air supply under the maximum value of 35°C. We recommend using a water separator in excessively damp or humid operating environments and/or an air filter to reduce excessive compressor blow-by.
What is the maximum operating radius of Ice Blast?
To obtain the best results, a maximum length of 70 meter of hose is used. This offers a 140 meter radius around the machine. Additionally, a maximum vertical height of 20 meter is recommended.
Can Ice Blast be used in cold environments?
Yes. Ice Blast has been successfully used outdoors in environments down to -20° C (* some additional set-up is required). If your application requires the use of Ice Blast in excessively cold areas, our service personnel will gladly provide a few simple solutions to keep the equipment running continuously.
How much regular maintenance is needed?
Not much. The unit is designed to run 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. If the operating environment is dusty we recommend cleaning the condensing coils simply by rinsing with the same water supplied to the machine.
What safety issues are there with Ice Blast?
Like all blasting type operations, worker safety should not be compromised. The system can generate up to 115 db at the nozzle when the higher velocity air meets the slower velocity ice particles. Eye and ear protection is mandatory during blasting. Respiratory protection is recommended. Protective clothing can range from simple Tyvek suits to keep general debris off the worker to full chemical gear when cleaning hazardous materials. Generally, light rain gear is used for most blasting operations. As with all blasting operations the blast nozzle should never be pointed at anyone or serious injury can occur.