Abrasive Blasting 101
Light duty blast cabinets have a large share of the sandblasting cabinet market today. Unfortunately, most buyers wrongly believe that “heavy duty and robust” are a terms to describe the quality of the machine. They don’t realize that “heavy duty” and “light duty” are actually terms used to describe the machine daily duty cycle.
ProTip: “Duty cycle” is the daily operation, in hours, of a machine. It’s the time occupied by the cycle of operation of a machine or other device, especially as a percentage of available time.
Now that we know what light duty blast cabinets are NOT, we can talk about what they ARE.
Typically, when we talk about “light duty” these are cabinets that operate using 220-volt, single phase air compressors producing cfm volumes at 90 to 100 psi ranging from about 16 to 24 cfm depending on compressor quality. Light duty blast cabinets are not designed for industrial use, meaning they can’t operate at production capacity, gun sizes, and daily operation.
Real World Example: Light Duty machines are great for small hand held parts when time is not the most important factor. They have a gun size that generates low frictional heat. If they were sanders it would be the same as not really pushing down on the sander. The result is low frictional heat and a much longer sanding time. Small parts are cleaned quickly so the time is not really noticeable. Apply this to a large part and you are painting your house with a one inch brush.
Trying to operate light duty blast cabinets more than they are designed for, usually results in a few issues dust collector overloads:
Not only are these issues frustrating, they can drastically reduce output for applications that require prolonged machine operation. So, the money you think you are saving up front in the cost of the machine actually comes back to bite you. This is because it takes longer for a light duty blast cabinet to accomplish the same volume as a production capacity machine. The only way to even the playing field is to run multiple shifts of employees, which will quickly add up in labor cost.
Light duty blast cabinets are neither industrial nor are they designed to function for prolonged periods of daily hours. But all Media Blast machines are manufactured using 12- and 14-guage cold rolled steel and are 100% welded to eliminate abrasive leaks. Our entire line of light duty machines is built to be just as tough as our production capacity, industrial capacity blast cabinets, just fewer hours of operation. The key factor is the ability to operate using only 220 single phase air compressors and a blasting cabinet at the same time. This is great for small hand held parts but easy to overuse the capability of the machine if you are blasting much more than 10% duty cycle. As far as Robust goes, the blasting Industry is really not sure how Robust relates to any blasting cabinet that has no gender.
If you’re not sure whether your application requires a light duty blast cabinet, check out our Machine Buying Guide, or contact our team.