As the Labor Day holiday quickly approaches, many facilities across the country are preparing for shutdowns. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions we get as companies schedule their planned maintenance using dry ice blasting.
The blasting dry ice rate and trigger time will help determine how much blasting dry ice you will need. For instance, if your application requires full pellet, you might use 3-4 pounds per minute. However, if you are using a fragmenter or ice splitter, you will only use approximately 1.5 pounds per minute. Also, if you plan to spot dry ice blast throughout the weekend you will use less blasting dry ice than if you are consistently blasting through the entire shutdown. Therefore, if your goal is to dry ice blast consistently with full pellet for three days, you will want to order a minimum of 3,000 pounds of blasting dry ice per dry ice blasting machine. Click here for tips on maximizing blasting dry ice performance.
What are the air requirements for dry ice blasting?
Ideally, a TRUE 1 inch or larger airline is required for optimal dry ice blasting, which means the 1 inch connection goes all the way back to the compressed air source. If you try to use a 1 inch connection that is actually 3/8 of an inch between the compressed air source and where you are trying to blast you will see diminished results due to the volume drop.
The volume and PSI of are both important. Depending on the dry ice blasting machine used and the application you will need to size your air compressor accordingly.
Why is it important for the air from a compressed air source to be cool and dry?
The effectiveness of dry ice blasting is based on having a source of cool and dry air. All dry ice blasting machines have a maximum inlet temperature of 140o F. If air above 140o F is used in dry ice blasting machines you risk damaging internal components such as tubing, valves and other parts. If wet air is used in dry ice blasting machines, freeze-ups are likely to occur causing delays in cleaning schedules.
Therefore, cooling the air not only eliminates the risk of damaging internal components but it also causes the air to condensate allowing moisture to be pulled from the air. Click here to learn more about whether or not you need an aftercooler dryer for your shutdown.
What are the electrical requirements for dry ice blasting equipment?
We are sometimes asked if long lengths of extension cords can be used to power dry ice blasting machines. Preferably, the dry ice blasting machine should be plugged in directly to a 120-Volt outlet. However, if you must use an extension cord we recommend using an extension cord that is less than 50 feet in length and at least 10 gauge or higher. The shorter length will keep the voltage consistent. For more information, please see our electrical technical bulletin here.
Also, we recommend all pneumatic dry ice blasting machines when standard plant electricity is not available. If a generator setup must be used we recommend using a pneumatic machine. If an electrically assisted dry ice blasting machine must be used with a generator please consult with a sales manager for proper grounding and setup to protect yourself and the equipment.
Is dry ice blasting safe for my employees?
Sometimes companies weigh the pros and cons of using a contractor for their cleaning needs versus doing dry ice blasting in-house. One of their main concerns is whether or not dry ice blasting is safe for their employees. Part of the Continental Carbonic Single Source Advantage is that we offer dry ice blasting training to our customers. We have a very thorough ‘Training Checklist’ that covers dry ice blasting machine setup and use, applications, blasting technique, tear down and storage. For additional information on the proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) required please click here.