Almost all problems with any dust collector attached to an existing blasting cabinet are related to one of a few conditions being listed below. Most people buy these machines based on budget and not the machine’s application. This is a mistake. First, an abrasive blasting cabinet’s use can, and probably will, change over time due to an increase in production or simply finding more uses for the machine. Second, if you buy a machine based on cost, you are likely not matching your needs to the blast cabinet’s capabilities. This often results in a variety of issues, including dust collector problems, and ultimately it often negatively affects productivity.
ProTip: The most important part of any abrasive blasting machine is the dust collector. It needs to be matched to the application and gun size, and machine requirements can change as a machine’s use increases.
5 Common Blast Cabinet Dust Collector Problems
- Wet air is the most common problem with any existing dry dust collector. If you do not have an air cooler installed, or use facility air with a supply line high where it can be heated, install an Ambient Dryer on the machine air inlet. Hot compressed air will create moisture on the cabinet’s cold steel walls, which also affects the operation of any dry type dust collector.
- Using glass beads, or any abrasives type, too long is a very common problem. Glass beads only recycle 20 to 25 times at most before they should be removed and replaced. The abrasive size you start out with also matters – if you are using smaller beads they won’t last as long as larger beads.
- Abrasive is exiting a 3/8” siphon nozzle at 7 pounds per minute, 5 pounds per minute for a 1/4” siphon nozzle and 10 pounds per minute for the largest 1/2″ siphon nozzle. You should do the math based on your specific daily machine usage, but normally 100 pounds of abrasive should be replaced every eight hours when using a 3/8” siphon gun assembly. This vastly reduces the load on the dust collector.
- Not having the machine dust collector matched to the application is also another common problem. Often companies increase machine usage, which quickly means the standard dust collector is undersized for its operation is very helpful because it ensures regular cleaning without operator involvement. All applications vary greatly with respect to how frequently the dust collector should be cleaned. Some contributing factors include hardness of the material being cleaned, condition of the part surface, the blasting pressure being used as well as cutting vs. non cutting abrasives. Know a free standing automatic cleaning dust collector is always available to eliminate almost all dust collector maintenance on any manually operated cabinet. This helps maintain airflow from inside the machine for operation visibility. Automatic dust collector cleaning is preferred as it removed the element of human error and ensures regular cleaning.
- The quality and filer surface area of the dust collector is the most common item the less costly cabinets are missing. When you see a very large cabinet with few features it might just be a 100 cfm vacuum blower shop vacuum costing under $100.00 making it a legal negative pressure cabinet. A huge cabinet size with a legal vacuum blower dust collector and a small cost would be like buying an 18 Wheeler with a 5 hp lawnmower engine under the hood. We call these mismatched machine combinations “site sellers” since people buy them based on appearance.
The dust storage capacity of any dust collector is very important. Filter cartridges store the most material before cleaning is required, but often operators are not using the cleaning cycle properly or enough.
ProTip: Always purchase the most advanced dust collector your budget will allow. You never can have “too much dust collector,” so it’s smart to pay attention to the blower cfm and dust collector filter surface area when you’re compare machines.
To Sum It Up
Do your homework to see what kind of blasting cabinet and dust collector your application requires. The worst thing you can do is try to “make do” with a cheaper machine. More often than not, we see people waste thousands of dollars on the wrong-sized machine. When the machine fails, and it will, people have to spend even more money to get the machine they should have purchased the first time around. Many of the problems with blasting cabinets are created by getting a budget first, then finding a blasting cabinet that matches the budget. In reality, blasting cabinets should be purchased based on the application. If you’re not sure which machine is right for you, give us a call!