For safety reasons, media blasting replaced sandblasting. But it’s OK to still call it that. We know what you mean.
The difference between sandblasting vs. media blasting helps you understand the history of safety in manufacturing shops.
If you ever come to our our shop, you will can easily see why. The post-blasting grit you will see on the floor of our booths can be easily mistaken for sand… and in many shops back in the day, sand was once used as a go-to media for blasting.
Why Sand is NOT used for Blasting Anymore
In short, Abrasive blasting with sands containing crystalline silica can cause serious or fatal respiratory disease.
In the past, blast cleaning operations were done with silica sand. The term sandblasting originates from those days. We now know that exposure to crystalline silica during sandblasting can cause Silicosis.
During blasting, the sand particles break down into very small particles. These particles, are inhaled and become embedded in the lung, causing respiratory problems, pulmonary silicosis (also called ‘dust-lungs’), and eventually even death.
What Replaces Sandblasting: Dry Abrasive Media Blasting
It may be a mouthful, but the correct term for the work we do at American Dry Stripping is “media blasting” or “dry abrasive blasting”. Silica sand has been replaced with other media, including grit blast, walnut shells, glass bead, plastic bead, and other media,
The media is propelled through a high-pressure tool and easily strips away old paint, rust, and other kinds of surface blemishes or imperfections.
At our shop, our blasting systems include blasting booth, air dryers and oil and water separators, dust collection, manual and mechanical media reclamation, media volume and air pressure regulators and supportive protective gear for the operator.
“Sandblasting” (that is, media blasting!) is used in our shop to remove coatings, rust and corrosion, and to add surface profile to prepare alloys for new coatings. It can also be used on glass and other hard surfaces for etching.