TABLE OF CONTENTS Sep 2006 - 0 comments

Blast it!

For cleaning machinery and equipment, dry ice blasting is water-free, non-conductive, non-toxic, food-grade safe, requires no waste disposal, and has no surface damage, corrosion or health concerns.

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2006-09-01

Industrial cleaning and equipment maintenance solutions are a major concern in all types of industry. There are many different scenarios but some of the more common applications are:

* Electric motors (pulp and paper, etc.)

* Printing equipment (ink buildup removal)

* Food and beverage equipment (food-grade, antibacterial)

* Textile equipment

* Plastic and rubber injection molds

* Automotive assembly (robot welding)

* Mine equipment

* Industrial cranes

* Power transmission components.

A relatively modern technology now available is dry ice blast cleaning. This versatile and environmentally-friendly method of cleaning machinery and equipment has many advantages over conventional methods.

It has been in existence for more than 15 years; however, it is only recently that there has been an upsurge of interest in it from various industries.

To understand this method of cleaning, it is important to know just what dry ice is. Dry ice is actually frozen carbon dioxide (CO2), maintained at a temperature of -78.50°C. It is called 'dry' because it evaporates directly to the atmosphere without melting, i.e. it passes from solid to gas form with no liquid stage.

The impact of the dry ice causes 'snap freezing' of the surface materials and they become brittle. Because the dirt layer and base layer consist of different materials, each having a different co-efficient of thermal expansion, they separate from each other. In addition, mechanical tensions build up at the border areas and a 'wave' is created, causing the dirt layer to pop off.

The main advantage of using it for cleaning is that the dry ice itself does not leave behind any residue; only materials or contaminants removed during the cleaning process will accumulate, and these can be easily removed by vacuuming or sweeping.

Dry ice is 100% water-free, non-conductive for use on or around electrical equipment, non-toxic and food-grade safe. Conventional cleaning methods, as shown in the comparison chart, can present various issues, including waste disposal, surface damage or corrosion and health concerns.

Standard health and safety guidelines must always be followed when using dry ice blasting equipment, and it is recommended that all plant personnel working with this equipment be properly trained.

The area or equipment to be blast cleaned should always be secured to prevent injury to other plant workers. Hearing and eye protection must be worn, in addition to protective clothing and safety-approved work shoes.

Dry ice blast cleaning is becoming the cleaning method of choice for many companies in lieu of conventional methods, e.g. sand blasting, water blasting, manual labour using solvents, etc.

For more information, contact BDI Canada CO2 Technologies, the dry ice cleaning service and sales division of BDI Canada Inc., through BDI branches, or visit www.co2dryiceblaster.com.

Dry ice equipment now in North America

BDI Canada CO2 Technologies now offers a line of dry ice blasting equipment to the North American market. These systems are manufactured in Germany by Littmann Präzision using ISO standards and are backed by a two-year warranty.

Using the two-hose venturi principle, one hose feeds compressed air to the blast gun while a second hose feeds dry ice pellets or crystals into the jet stream.

The LT-280 model can fire standard pellets or can switch to crystals the size of sand grains using a patented ice-grinding system. Crystal blasting not only allows for greater surface protection, but also uses up to 40% less dry ice in most applications, resulting in significant cost savings.

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Photos


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Top: Conduit box before cleaning.  Bottom: Conduit box after dry-ice cleaning.
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Caption: Top: Conduit box before cleaning. Bottom: Conduit box ...
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