Plastic Blasting Media – Overview, Advantages and Applications

By AZoM.com Staff Writers

Table of Content

Introduction
Advantages of Plastic Media Blasting
Plastic Media Blasting in Automotive Applications
Plastic Media Blasting for Powder Coating Removal
Other Applications for Plastic Media Blasting
Plastic Media Fillers/Flours
Conclusion
About Composition Materials

Introduction

Plasti-Grit® plastic blast media are eco-friendly abrasive media, which are used in industrial cleaning and paint removal applications such as coatings removal, surface preparation, paint stripping, deflashing and mold cleaning.

They effectively remove epoxies, powder coatings, primers, and paints and coatings from a variety of materials, such as steel, hard metals and brass, as well as soft materials such as plastics, composites, fiberglass, and aluminum. This article discusses the various benefits and applications of this plastic media blasting (PMB) technology.

Advantages of Plastic Media Blasting (PBM)

PMB is an alternative process to hard abrasive blast operations such as sand blasting and chemical stripping. Plastic Media Blasting is non-toxic, long-lasting, easy to use, and prevents damage to delicate substrates. Made from recycled materials, plastic grits can be reclaimed many times.

PMB is also fast, cost-effective and can be safely used on gel coats, primers, and circuit boards. It is effective on both soft and hard substrates and can be used for powder coat removal and surface cleaning. Plastic media does not contain any chemical solvents, are environmentally safe and have a consistent specific gravity.

Plastic Media Blasting in Automotive Applications

Figure 1. Plastic media blasting for automotive restoration.

Today, a standard vehicle is made up of a variety of substrates such as plastics, aluminum, steel, fiberglass, and composites, making it difficult to consistently remove coatings.

Moreover, paint systems have become challenging than ever before. To this end, the EPA has recommended a new class of coatings for painters to use; however, all these coatings behave inefficiently when applied over existing paint. Figure 1 shows the use of plastic media blasting for automotive restoration.

PMB provides a fast and economical way to remove coatings from almost any type of surface without the use of sandblasting, chemical strippers, or mechanical abrasion techniques. Although similar to sandblasting, the plastic media blasting uses much softer reusable plastic particles at low blasting pressures of 14-40 psi. This process removes coatings without causing any damage to the underlying substrates, such as fiberglass, aluminum, or plastics. Low delivery pressure combined with the low particle density of plastic media allows the process to be safely used for applications where heavier and harder abrasives would pose potential hazards.

Plastic Media Blasting for Powder Coating Removal

Powder coatings offer both advantages and disadvantages to the manufacturers of industrial and commercial components. While powder coatings produce amazingly durable finishes, they can be complex and costly to remove when a certain part has to be re-coated. To this end, several stripping methods, such as glass bead blasting burn-off oven, and molten salt, are employed to remove powder coatings from parts.

Figure 2. Using plastic media blasting to remove powder coatings from parts.

In contrast, PMB is an effective method for stripping all types of metals. It removes all or a part of a cured powder coating from the surface of a part without causing any damage. Figure 2 shows the PMB process used for removing powder coatings from components.

Other Applications for Plastic Media Blasting

Since the 1980s, PMB technology has been widely used for stripping aircraft and aerospace components. The US Department of Defense fostered this technology to substitute the toxic chemical strippers that were earlier utilized on military aircraft and aerospace components. The plastic particles utilized in PMB are harder than the coatings but softer than the underlying substrates. As a result, they can rapidly remove topcoats and primers without harming the substrate.

Figure 3. Aluminum missile airframe

Figure 3 shows the aluminum missile airframe that is perfect for the PMB process. When the airframe is in assembled state, it is not possible to strip using heat or hard abrasives. Here, hand sanding can be used, but this method also tends to remove the chemical conversion coating; replacing this coating to the assembled airframe involves significant amount of costs. In contrast, the plastic media is able to remove the powder coating from the rivet heads, cracks, and crevices without removing the conversion coating or causing damage to the substrate.

In a sophisticated naval torpedo, the casing needs a stripping method that removes the powder coating without affecting the aluminum conversion coating. Here, chemical strippers are not suitable because they do not lend themselves to the semi-assembled configuration of the casing. However, the PMB process provides a suitable solution for this application.

Plastic Media Fillers/Flours

Plastic media fillers and flours are utilized in a wide range of industries to improve appearance and to obtain required characteristics of compounds. Plastic grits provide a suitable solution for anti-slip applications, such as in boats, decks, tubs, ramps, swimming pools, and surfboards. They can be mixed directly into paints to make fast, easy and consistent application on floors and surfaces. Plastic grits are available in multi-color, clear, mat, shiny, powder or granular versions.

Conclusion

With increasing environmental awareness and rigorous environmental regulations in the coatings industry, PMB has evolved into a technology which is perfect for a wide range of applications. The process is fast, economical, safe, and uses recyclable plastic particles, thus making it an environmentally-friendly option to other stripping methods.

About Composition Materials

Since 1923, Composition Materials has been an industry leader in manufacturing and distributing of soft Abrasive Blasting Media, including Walnut Shell Blasting Media, Plasti-Grit Plastic Blasting Media, Deflashing Media, Tumbling Media, and UV Curable Masking Resins.

The environmentally safe products are widely used in industrial applications including paint removal and stripping, surface preparation, mold and engine cleaning, and masking. A wide selection of Fillers and Extenders are available as effective additives for rubber, plastics and adhesives, as well as for non-skid and anti-slip applications.

The company’s organic, renewable, recyclable and sustainable products have helped companies worldwide 'go green’. Composition Materials has a uniquely large network of worldwide distributors throughout North America, South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Rim.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Composition Materials.

For more information on this source, please visit Composition Materials.

Date Added: Dec 9, 2013 | Updated: Jan 6, 2014
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