Inspection, Surface Prep and Non-destructive Testing
Are you in the oil & gas industry? Are you involved in non-destructive testing, inspection, or surface preparation? How about maintenance of pipelines, heat exchangers, or pressure vessels? If you deal with these or similar operations, proper cleaning of surfaces might well be a process you regularly undertake.
Cleaning Delicate Equipment Safely
What is the best way to clean surfaces of such equipment? While there is no one best way for every circumstance, dry ice cleaning is a state-of-the-art method that can save time and money. It uses recycled CO2 in the form of solid dry ice particles as the cleaning media. Dry ice is soft and non-abrasive to most surfaces and can thus be used around delicate components, including electronics, that would be damaged by water or solvents. As the blasting equipment is portable it can be used in place, thus minimizing disassembly and other preparation time. Lastly, dry ice turns to a gas after contact with the surface being cleaned — cleanup time is rock bottom minimum, there is nothing to dispose of, contamination of moving parts is not an issue.
By guest blogger David H.
Having worked in shipyards for seven years, I’m familiar with how dirty this type of job site can be. Ship repair worksites and welding surfaces are often filthy with rust, dust and other contaminants. Even in shops and yards where fabrication is ongoing, cleanliness is often lacking. If fabricated or refurbished pieces are being installed onboard, the surface to which the piece will be welded could be rusty, coated with scale, or have other types of corrosion.
It is hard to overstate the importance of having a clean surface when welding. Welds made on unclean surfaces can become contaminated and fail; this is especially true with certain metals, such as aluminum, and certain types of welding, such as TIG, but for all welds at least some level of cleanliness is important.
Methods and Equipment
There are numerous methods available for cleaning surfaces. The most basic are simple wire brushes and scrapers; these are ineffective beyond removing common dirt and simple surface contamination. Some hand-held tools, such as grinders and reciprocating needles are slightly more effective.
A surface that is properly prepared by blast cleaning can help you ensure fewer problems with weld quality.
Deeper cleaning processes can help to ensure high-quality welds. This is particularly important where a failed weld could be costly or create shipboard dangers for the crew. For corroded or contaminated surfaces something stronger is required. Some of the best systems available are blast cleaners. Red-D-Arc has a number of blast cleaning rental options. Dry-ice cleaning systems are environmentally sustainable, non-destructive, and use inexpensive, readily available dry-ice pellets. Recycled glass systems, which reduce dust by as much as 95% compared to dry-blasting, are available too.
Take a look at our selection of rental blast cleaners which can powerfully clean up the dirtiest weld surface. A surface that is properly prepared by blast cleaning can help you ensure fewer problems with weld quality.
We were pleasantly surprised to find this incredible video on the National Geographic website. (It’s a bit different from what one might expect i.e. lion, sharks and other natural phenomenon ) The video wonderfully illustrates the power of dry ice blasting. Incredibly, this blasting medium is strong enough to strip hardened tar yet gentle enough to remove the ink from a business card without damaging the paper. Great work by the folks at ColdJet demoing this incredible technique. The video nicely demonstrates just how effective and specific this technique can be.
Red-D-Arc has a number of different dry ice blast cleaning machines available for hire.