10 Ways to optimise your Dana-Ridge Wetblaster
When running a blasting business, you want;
a) To produce the highest quality results possible
b) to do it the most efficient way possible.
When using the Dana-Ridge Wet Abrasive System there is a “sweet spot” that the machines operate in for each type of blasting done. The following describes how to stay in that zone.
1.Choose the right blast media
1. Finer media for smoother, brighter finishes using a scrubbing action such as glass bead.
2. Coarser angular media for a more aggressive finish using a cutting action such as aluminium oxide or crushed glass.
If you choose a fine glass bead to remove powder coating for example you will be there a very long time. If your goal is to give a nice bright surface to an uncoated aluminium piece then a large grit garnet for example will give a rough surface to the touch instead.
(This is very simplified and is covered in more detail here)
2. Choose the right air pressure
(This is achieved using the regulator on the front or back of your machine depending on the model).
- Low pressure such as 2-3Bar (≈30-40psi) for pieces where you want to achieve the brightest finish possible (usually in combination with a fine grit glass bead)
- High pressure 5.5-6.2bar (≈80-90psi) when speed and aggression are more useful.
Don’t go higher than 6.2Bar (90psi) as you will just wear your media faster. This costs you more money for no gain in processing time.
Make sure you use appropriate size hoses and avoid nitto style fittings. Strangling the air flow to your machine means you won’t realise the full capabilities of the machine!
3. Check the media level
The Dana-Ridge wetblast machines operate best with a media to water concentration of 25-30% (unless using extra fine media in which case it will be less). If it drops below this you will find the job taking longer to process. It can be checked using the media concentration jar provided with the machine.
Media will break down through repeated impacts on the part. The worn media will then dribble out the overflow. As a rough guide the machines consume approximately 1kg of media per blasting hour.
4. Run the slurry without any compressed air after finishing.
Especially when using a glass bead, a little more shine can be achieved after blasting simply by letting the slurry from the pump alone wash over the part for a minute or two. In fact, if you have a soft material, such as aluminium, that is already in good condition, a nice finish is possible with slurry alone
5. Keep the filter clean
It’s good practice to periodically check the filter for anything that may block the flow and reduce efficiency. Especially if you have a lot of workers using the machine. Some don’t worry about gasket material or other items going into the sump and these can build up over time. We’ve seen all sorts here at Dana-Ridge over the years from cement, and road tar in one machine and a big ball of hair in another. Little surprises us these days except that these machines still managed to produce quality work even while half blocked with solid concrete and running backwards!
6. Make sure the machine is running in the right direction.
In a 3-phase setup it only takes the swapping of two wires in a factory power supply to have all your machinery motors running the opposite direction. These machines are polarity sensitive. They will still blast, but with less efficiency as the slurry is being pushed the wrong way. Looking down at the motor from above, the motor fan should be spinning in a clockwise direction.
7. Purchase the optional recirculating tank
It reduces cost as your chemical additives do not dilute, water is not consumed and it turns the machine into a closed-loop system. All the waste is contained and you won’t need to be connected to the mains water supply. Cost efficiency gains all round. Click here to learn more!
8. Keep the exhaust vent clear of any build-up
This means optimal visibility while processing.
9. Replace air-jets and nozzles when they wear.
When these eventually wear, the machine will lose efficiency. Keep up with the maintenance schedule. They are robust machines but like every tool in your workshop, optimal efficiency is achieved by looking after your gear.
Read the manual and keep it located near the machine for easy access
10. Don’t fight the gun
Relax and hold the gun the way that lets you control it without fatigue. Done correctly you can blast for hours; done incorrectly you get a good workout.
Hold the gun 10 to 12 cm from the part and rotate in a circular pattern. Take a systematic approach to how you move around the part to ensure you get even coverage.