Air versus Turbine – Balancing Blasting Capabilities and Outcomes, Part 2

In addition to the pro and con evaluation of air blasting and turbine lasting found in our previous blog, these two methods can also be compared in terms of throwing velocity, applications, and industries.

In terms of throwing velocity. Media thrown by turbines immediately start losing speed the moment that the turbine blade releases it, producing higher intensity blast results closer to the turbine. Larger shot retains its speed better over a distance and is commonly used to maintain intensity while creating a larger blast pattern by positioning the turbine(s) farther away. In contrast, media thrown by air nozzles will continue to accelerate for the first 100-300 mm outside of the nozzle depending on blast pressure and media size and density until the compressed air fully dissipates to the ambient environment, meaning that your best blast results occur a distance away from the nozzle.

Blasting applications for air and turbine methods overlap somewhat based on workpiece size, quantity, desired outcome, and other process-related factors.

  • Deburring/Deflashing  – Turbine blasting is typically used for large parts or large quantities, while air blasting is useful when the part needs to be aligned in certain ways to expose the burrs or flash to the blast stream.
  • Descaling /Derusting  – Air blasting is suggested for delicate parts and situations where part-on-part contact must be avoided. Turbine blasting is appropriate for all other applications.
  • Surface Roughening/Paint Preparation – Similar to descale and derust applications, air blasting is suggested for delicate parts and situations where part-on-part contact must be avoided. Turbine blasting is appropriate for all other applications.
  • Peening – Turbine blasting is typically used when the entire surface of the part can be blasted or portions that cannot be blasted are masked. Air blasting is only suggested if the various sections of the part require different media and intensity combinations.
  • Desanding/Core Removal – Turbine blasting tends to be used due to the complexity of workpieces and the use of larger media often needed to remove heavy sand deposits. Air blasting is possible, but would not be as efficient.
  • Paint Stripping – Turbine blasting and air blasting can be used for this application. With the exception of small workpieces or when the prevention of damage to the substrate is critical, turbine blasting is generally suggested.
  • Cosmetic Blasting – Due to the use of mineral-based media, specifically glass and ceramic beads, this application must be accomplished with air blasting. Turbine blasting is not suggested.
  • Deplating – Due to the relatively strong adhesion of plating, deplating is best accomplished through the use of very hard media such as Aluminum Oxide or Silicon Carbide which can only be handled in air blasting. Turbine blasting is not suggested.

While the choice of air blasting versus turbine blasting is determined largely based on specific applications, a few industries utilize one method more often than the other.

Forge and foundry industries often utilize more turbine blasting. The flexibility of being able to handle any size or shape part at much higher throughput speeds tends to give turbine solutions the edge in these industries.turbine screenshot

Conversely, aerospace often favors air blasting. As one of the most tightly regulated industries, aerospace regulations often necessitate the precision air blasting offers.  Aerospace applications also tend to have very low production requirements which favor air blasting solutions.

For more information about air blasting and turbine blasting innovations, visit Rosler’s website. 

To discuss how Rosler can help develop a better solution for your air or turbine blasting processes, contact us today.

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