Abrasive Blasting 101
Not all abrasive blasting cabinets have a Blast Media Reclaimer System, also known as an Abrasive Separator Reclaimer. They are not often used in light duty, low Daily Duty Cycle (DDC) machines, but are crucial to industrial scale production operations.
ProTip: Many imported cabinets sold by tool houses selling blasting cabinets, have very basic abrasive separator reclaimer types. Some offer only a simple plate over the air exhaust hole to the dust collector. This, in theory, means the good abrasive can hit the plate and simply drop back into the hopper by gravity, which not only costs the operator usable abrasive but allows the rust, paint, and surface coatings to “drop back” with the abrasive.
Media blasters that don’t use a blast media reclaimer system often allow most of the dust and abrasive to drop back into the hopper and get recycled through the abrasive delivery system. As this happens, more and more dust from spent abrasive, and small pieces of the coating being removed, contaminate the good abrasive. In our experience it can take as little as 30 minutes of machine operation before the air inside the cabinet becomes cloudy. An unfortunate yet common reaction to the reduced visibility is moving the part being blasted closer to the viewing window, or window protector, which is then etched by the abrasive and further deteriorates the visibility.
The only way to improve visibility is to do a full exchange of the abrasive in your mediablaster® quickly. This can mean throwing away good reusable abrasive, in addition to the dusty material being removed from the parts being blasted, when you are not using a media reclaimer system.
A separator reclaimer can remove the dust by-product from the good abrasive and return only the good abrasive to the hopper. This keeps the cabinet cleaner and also saves money by extends the life and number of times it can be recycled.
Because they save money, blast media reclaimer systems can make cabinets more expensive. Unfortunately, you can’t see a great separator reclaimer from the outside of a machine. It’s something you have to ask about as an informed buyer. Gravity of the abrasive falling back into the hopper is not a separator reclaimer.
Real World Example: Operating a mediablaster without a separator reclaimer is similar to driving a car without an engine oil filter. Can you do it? Yes. Will you have to change your oil more frequently? Yes. If that inconvenience and additional cost isn’t a problem for you, go right ahead!
Most Tool House today are selling low tech blasting cabinets that have no real separator reclaimer. Few sales people at big box stores know much about blasting cabinets other than the selling price. This is a terrible combination that can cost the customer money – money spent on a machine that doesn’t fit the application, but also in abrasive discarded instead of being cleaned and recycled.
Media Blast manufactures wet, dry, siphon, direct pressure, micro, plastic, shot peening and soda cabinets! Our superior line of blasting cabinets was created using our extensive experience with home shops, commercial repair and industrial production facilities all using siphon and direct pressure sandblasting cabinets. We also have a complete line of dust collectors for blasting cabinets in case your cabinet is a mess!
Our wide range of machine models is broken down into categories so that it’s easy for you to find the right machine for your specific application. Check out our Best Machines for Specific Applications to learn more.
If you’re not sure what cabinet is best for your needs, check out our buying guide or give us a call – our goal is to help you buy the right machine the first time!