If you are in a lead position in any industry that involves metal, you know that preparing and clearing metal surfaces can be a tedious and costly process. That is why the shot-blasting process is so valuable to industries that work with metal. However, as with any process, shot-blasting is only valuable to those who utilize it correctly. Following the best practices for shot-blasting is the best way to ensure your business gets the most out of its shot-blasting systems.
What Is Shot-Blasting?
For those who are unaware, shot-blasting is a process in which workers clear a metal surface by shooting abrasive “shot” at a surface. In a sense, it’s like shooting the rust off a piece of metal with several high-power airsoft guns. However, instead of plastic, they shoot small, metal beads. Shot-blasting effectively clears rust off materials as small as pipe joints or as large as forklifts, and it is an incredibly satisfying process to watch.
Apply Shot-Blasting To the Right Material
Just because there is a wide variety of objects that can be shot-blasted, that doesn’t mean that you can put anything in a shot-blast machine and hope for the best. It’s important to know what materials can and can’t be shot-blasted. In general, make sure your material is made of sturdy enough materials to withstand high-speed shot before sending it through the machine.
Choose the Right Size Shot
There is a fairly wide variety of shots to choose from, and knowing which one is right for the job will determine how effective shot-blasting will be. Shot ranges in size from large to small and in material from aluminum to steel. It should be noted, of course, that there are processes such as sand-blasting which use crystalline silica, but that is considered a different process than shot-blasting.
Choosing the right shot will depend on both the material of the surface you are blasting and what you want to clear off its surface. Thicker coats of paint may require thicker shot, while thinner shot may only need a small shot. The thickness of the shot may add greater amounts of texture to the surface, so keep the surface type in mind.
Personal Protective Equipment
Whenever shot or grit is fired at high rates, there is the potential of dust rising, which can cause lung damage for your workers. According to OSHA, best practices for shot-blasting require individuals who use shot-blasting systems to wear personal protective equipment, even when dust is not visible. This includes equipment to protect the lungs, eyes, and ears.