VIDEO: Obliterate Cleaning & Surface Prep Issues with Dry Ice
James Anderton posted on November 29, 2017 | 1214 views

In an industrial manufacturing environment, routine cleaning of equipment and surfaces such as machinery and robotics is part of regular maintenance. In addition, surface preparation is an essential part of the process prior to painting, powder coating or adhesive bonding. In the past, you may have had to deal with solvents or media blasting. The trouble with these processes is that they leave residue or result in additional cleanup steps. 

Watch this video to see Cold Jet pellet dry ice cleaning machines in action. Dry ice blasting uses dry ice mixed with compressed air to clean surfaces. Cold Jet can blast over metals or plastics without abrading or damaging them. With sand or water blasting, there are environmental, safety and cleanup issues. With dry ice blasting, in contrast, the dry ice sublimates to a gas, leaving nothing behind but the debris removed from the surface. 

This cleaning process is ideal for welding clean up and clean up of electrical fluxes. In some cases, with abrasive blasting, there are issues of masking, environmental hazards and safety, and the cleaning medium must be kept away from delicate components such as sensors, electrical contacts, wires and finished surfaces. 

According to Cold Jet, dry ice blasting is a soft cleaning process. This means the worker does not need to wear full protective gear—just hearing protection, gloves and eye protection, plus any protective measures required according to the material being cleaned (for example, cleaning weld slag or chemical residue may require a face shield). The Cold Jet process can clean over twelve-gauge wire without damage. It also won’t damage paint, provided the paint is not already failing and flaking off. 

When cleaning electrical equipment, care must be taken to ensure no debris or residue interferes with electrical contacts. This makes dry ice blasting ideal for this application. 

Josh Robinson, regional sales manager at Cold Jet, said the process is simple. “First of all, you want to make sure everything is deenergized, but because the dry ice sublimates to a gas, we’re not leaving anything behind. So, you don’t have to worry about sand sticking and creating problems with the contact.” 

Dry ice blasting will remove greases and oils, and will not profile or etch any metals, including aluminum. One thing to note, however, is that wood is softer than dry ice on the hardness scale, so dry ice blasting will remove layers of wood material.  On the other hand, you often can’t remove mold or smoke damage from a porous wood surface without removing material. 

The process requires a minimum of 80 psi compressed air and readily available dry ice. Dry ice blasting pellets are 3mm in size, often called ‘rice’ pellets. Certain machines can also take nuggets or blocks of dry ice and internally process them down to microparticles.

For more information, visit Cold Jet’s website.

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