1. What is Dry Ice?
Dry ice is carbon dioxide in solid form. It can be produced as pellets or blocks of various sizes.
2. What is Dry Ice Blasting?
Dry ice blasting is a revolutionary blasting method in which dry ice pellets replace traditional blasting materials like sand, water, glass and plastic. In contrast to sand blasting, the process leaves no secondary waste material. The only waste to be disposed of is the coating that has been dislodged, and this can normally be swept or vacuumed from the floor beneath the treated object. The process is dry and non-conductive, and it is therefore suitable for use on electric motors and electrical circuitry.
3. How Does Dry Ice Blasting Work?
Dry ice pellets are accelerated in a jet of compressed air and strike the coating to be removed at velocities up to the speed of sound. Cleaning results from three effects:
Kinetic Effect: When dry ice pellets strike a surface at the speed of sound, any coating on the surface is cracked and loosened.
Thermal Effect: The low temperature of dry ice pellets makes the coating brittle, cracks it and loosens it as a result of reduced bonding between the coating and the underlying surface. This allows dry ice to permeate the coating.
Explosive Effect (Sublimation): Dry ice penetrates the coating and immediately sublimes (passes directly from solid to vapor state). This results in a 700-fold increase in volume, an explosive effect that lifts the coating off the surface.
4. What are Pellets?
Pellets are carbon dioxide in solid form shaped into small particles about the size of grains of rice.
5. Why Should I Use Dry Ice Blasting Instead of Traditional Blasting Methods?
Dry ice blasting is a completely dry process. Dry ice blasting is non-toxic, non-conductive and non-abrasive. Dry ice vaporizes immediately on contact with treated surfaces. This gives several advantages in comparison with traditional blasting methods. With dry ice blasting there is no secondary waste material (sand, glass, plastic, etc.). The only waste to be swept or vacuumed up is the coating dislodged by the treatment. It is therefore possible to clean objects in which other blasting methods’ residual blasting material would collect in every inaccessible corner. Dry ice blasting allows cleaning to be performed while machines are running, without the need for dismantling. This is, of course, of great economic importance as costly downtime can be eliminated or drastically reduced.
6. What Happens to the “Blasted-off” Coating?
1) Dry coatings crack into small flakes that can be swept or vacuumed. 2) Moist coatings (e.g. oil or grease) are carried away in the compressed-air jet in a fashion similar to that seen with high-pressure hosing. The treated surface is left dry and clean.
7. Which Materials Can Withstand Dry Ice Blasting?
As the process is dry and non-abrasive, any material can be cleaned by dry ice blasting without ill effects. For example, perspex and highly polished aluminum can be treated without the surface becoming matt.
8. Does Dry Ice Blasting Have Economic Benefits?
Machinery can often be cleaned with dry ice blasting while it is running, without the need for dismantling and subsequent re-assembly. This is, of course, of great economic importance as costly downtime can be eliminated or drastically reduced. Costs connected with the disposal of blasting material and solvents are eliminated. Cleaning and maintenance payroll costs will often be reduced to a fraction of present levels by substituting dry ice blasting for traditional cleaning methods. Dry ice blasting treats material surfaces very gently.
9. What Equipment is Necessary for Dry Ice Blasting?
A dry ice blasting machine is necessary. In addition, access to power supply and compressed-air source are necessary.
10. Is Dismantling Necessary Before Dry Ice Blasting?
It is often unnecessary to dismantle machinery or equipment to be cleaned by dry ice blasting because the process is completely dry and leaves no blasting material or chemical residues.
11. Does Dry Ice Blasting have Thermal Effects on Treated Objects?
No. Temperature changes in machinery during dry ice blasting are generally small in comparison with changes occurring during normal operation.
12. Can I use Dry Ice Blasting to Clean Hot Machinery While It is Running?
Yes. Faster and more effective cleaning can often be achieved when the object to be cleaned is hot.
13. Can I Minimize Downtime – or Avoid It Entirely?
Yes. In many cases it will be possible to clean machinery without shutting it down. In other cases, it will be possible to reduce the duration of shutdowns for cleaning purposes, as cleaned surfaces remain dry.
14. Does Dry Ice Blasting Damage the Underlying Surface?
No. Blasting pressure can be adjusted to suit the material to be treated so that coatings can be removed without damaging the underlying material itself. This means that dry ice blasting can also be used on easily-damaged materials like nickel, chromium and soft aluminum.
15. Is Dry Ice Blasting as Effective as Traditional Cleaning Methods?
Yes. In the vast majority of cases, dry ice blasting will be as effective as traditional cleaning methods.
16. Which Cleaning Methods can be Replaced with Advantage by Dry Ice Blasting?
Advantages can be gained from replacing methods such as sand blasting, high pressure hosing and manual cleaning (which requires considerable resources and the use of hazardous, environmentally hostile chemicals) with dry ice blasting, which is an extremely environmentally friendly process.
17. Can I use Dry Ice Blasting in Places, or on Materials, where Traditional Methods Cannot be Used?
Yes. As dry ice blasting is a clean and dry process, it can be used with advantage instead of traditional methods that leave detergent residues. The process has also been approved for use in the food industry.
18. How Quickly can Various Objects/Materials be Cleaned?
The speed at which cleaning can be performed is highly dependent on the type of coating, the nature of the underlying material, the temperature of the object to be treated, the air volume etc. To evaluate these factors, tests must be carried out in the actual situation.
19. Is an External Compressed-air Source Necessary?
Yes. The dry ice blasting machine must be connected to an external compressed-air source with the following data: Operating pressure – minimum 72 psi / maximum 232 psi. Compressed-air consumption -106-388 cfm, depending on nozzle combination.
20. Is the Dry Ice Jet Capable of Conducting Electricity?
No, the dry ice jet is non-conductive as long as the compressed air used is dry.
21. What does a Dry Ice Blasting System Cost?
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22. Can I Purchase a System Customized to Suit My Needs?
Yes. Systems customized to specific tasks are a definite possibility.
23. How Much Maintenance is Necessary?
ICEsonic Dry ice blasting machines are engineered from high-quality components that require a minimum of maintenance. The machines were designed to enable service and maintenance work to be performed by end-users without the need for specialists. All service and maintenance routines are illustrated in video clips on a CD-ROM that accompanies the machine.
24. How do One-hose and Two-hose Systems Differ?
In a one-hose system, dry ice is mixed with compressed air in the machine itself. This allows the dry ice pellets to attain a higher velocity (kinetic energy) and thus provides greater cleaning effectiveness. In a two-hose system, dry ice pellets are sucked into the blasting gun through a venturi system. As the pellets are first mixed with compressed-air in the blasting gun, their velocity is lower than in a one-hose system, and their cleaning effectiveness is thus lower.
25. How Should Dry Ice be Stored?
Dry ice pellets are supplied in insulated containers that typically hold 880 lbs. These containers can be moved to various application sites on fork-lift trucks or pallet lifters. Dry ice pellets can be kept in these containers for about 4–8 days depending on ambient temperature and container quality. Due to sublimation, a loss of about 4% of container content should be expected every 24 hours.
26. Do Dry Ice Pellets Rebound?
When dry ice pellets hit a surface, they change from solid to gass form. Therefore, in general, they do not rebound. As a rule, removed material is carried away by the compressed-air jet. Safety goggles should however always be worn when dry ice blasting.
27. Does Dry Ice Blasting Cause Condensation?
Condensation will normally not occur when cleaning warm surfaces, as the temperature of the surface will remain above the dew point. To prevent condensation occurring in connection with intensive cleaning or when cleaning is performed in cold locations, the use of heat lamps, fan heaters or heated compressed air is recommended.
28. Are Dry Ice Pellets Better than Dry Ice Blocks?
Yes. Dry ice pellets are more compact than flakes cut or grated from a dry ice block. Dry ice pellets therefore clean more effectively. Many of the cleaning jobs currently performed with dry ice pellets would not be possible with a dry ice blasting machine that uses flakes.
29. Are Pellets more Effective than Granulate?
Pellets consist of dry ice that has been formed into small particles under high pressure. Their compactness makes them much more effective than “granulate”, which consists of porous flakes that have been cut or grated from a block of dry ice.
30. What cannot be achieved by Dry Ice Blasting?
Dry ice blasting is non-abrasive and treats surfaces very gently. Therefore, it cannot be used to obtain a rough surface.
31. Can Dry Ice Blasting be used in the Food Industry?
Yes. Dry ice blasting is ideal for the food industry, as the cleaning process does not involve the use of water or chemicals. The various applications of dry ice blasting in the food industry clearly illustrate just how versatile the system is. The process is used to remove baked-on food deposits from ovens and to clean mixers and moulds. It can remove paper and adhesives from packaging machinery. Dry ice blasting can be used on plastic and metal surfaces irrespective of whether the object to be cleaned is hot or cold.
32. Can Dry Ice Blasting be used on Electronics?
Yes. Dry ice blasting can be used to clean dirt and soot from electronics without making them wet or using chemicals. Dry ice blasting can be used on units of up to 29 kW without disconnecting the power supply. Unexpected power failure and resulting production shutdown can be avoided by periodically cleaning electronic components.
33. Can Dry Ice Blasting be used on Packaging Machinery?
Yes. Dry ice blasting effectively removes adhesive residues and other dirt from packaging machinery. This improves package line flow considerably and can reduce the incidence of unexpected shutdown. Clean adhesive nozzles and chain drives can result in large savings in the purchase of spare parts.
34. Can Dry Ice Blasting be used in Printing?
Yes. Dry ice blasting is an effective means of removing wet and dry ink, powder, paper dust and adhesive residues. This keeps the number of unexpected shutdowns to a minimum, improves product quality and reduces maintenance time.
35. Can Dry Ice Blasting be used on Molds?
Yes. Dry ice blasting can beneficially be used to clean molds during production. This reduces downtime. Mold surfaces are not damaged, as the process is very gentle.
36. Can Dry Ice Blasting be used on Buildings?
Yes. Dry ice blasting can be used to remove soot and dirt from buildings and thus restore surfaces. The method is often used for factory buildings where it is crucial to recommence production as quickly as possible. Because dry ice vaporizes on contact with the building surface, dry ice blasting can be used to clean the insides of buildings without the need to move equipment, machinery or furnishings. Where traditional cleaning methods – involving the use of water and chemicals – are used, it is often necessary to dismantle and move equipment to protect it from damage.
37. Can Dry Ice Blasting be used in the Pharmaceutical Industry?
Yes. The pharmaceutical industry sets high hygiene standards. Dry ice blasting is therefore the ideal cleaning method. It is a clean and dry process that effectively and quickly removes coatings and deposits from molds, conveyors, containers, mixers and other production equipment. Steam and water-based cleaning methods can produce health risks. Firstly, steam can provide a breeding ground for bacteria and other micro-organisms. Dry ice blasting is a dry process that eliminates this problem. Secondly, cleaning with water and steam can increase the risk of accidents with electronics. As dry ice vaporizes on contact with the surface being cleaned, there is no secondary waste material. Because dry ice blasting is a non-abrasive process, molds used in production will not be damaged.
38. Does Dry Ice Blasting have any Environmental Consequences or Benefits?
Dry ice is completely non-toxic. In contrast to cleaning methods that use water or high-pressure hosing, there is no emission of polluted water to the environment. The dislodged coating can be swept or vacuumed up and disposed of as appropriate. Dry ice blasting produces no toxic fumes from solvents and other chemicals during cleaning.