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Abrasive media recovery systems for blast booths

What is an Abrasive Media Recovery System?

The abrasive media recovery system allows to collect residual abrasive media that remain on the floor after blasting operations, move it to a media reclaim system where dust and foreign particle matters are filtered out and diverted away to the dust collector, and only media in good working condition is returned back into the pressure blast pot.

The key advantage of the media reclaim system is to achieve substantial savings and protect our planet by considerably reducing our abrasive media consumption. According to the application and the type of media used, recycling rates of over 95% can be achieved.

Here is what you need to know about choosing the right media recovery system for your application.

Floor Recovery Hoppers Installation

After blasting operations, used abrasive media must be swept or shoveled into recovery hoppers excavated into the floor or installed over the floor in surface installation.

Above or Inground Floor Hoppers?

Above floor installations don’t require any excavation. However, they require much more effort from the operator to shovel the blast media into the pit rather than simply pushing it into the excavated hoppers located below floor level.

ISTblast - Blast Booths - Above Ground Installation ISTblast - Blast Booths - Excavated Floor Installation
Above Ground Installation Excavated Floor Installation

Lengh of Floor Hoppers

Dimensions of recovery hoppers can vary from 10 feet in length for compact installations to over 200 feet for high throughput industrial blasting facilities.

Removable Grating

Floor hoppers are protected by removable steel grating rated to 1,000 lbs per square foot. Other capacities are available to allow lift trucks and other materials handling equipment to circulate over it.

Floor Hoppers Coverage

Complete in-floor hoppers (excavation required) are more expensive, but they provide an automatic and continuous recycling of the blast media without the need to sweep manually. On the other hand, partial floor hoppers and corners require the operator to sweep the abrasive into the floor hopper.

So, What’s the Ideal Floor System?

Depending on your application, abrasive media, available production space, and budget constraints, there are various types of blast room recovery systems and floor layouts available.

In brief, here are the pros and cons of common layout options.

ISTblast - Excavated Hoppers.png
  • Easy and fast room cleaning by simply sweeping the abrasive media into the recovery pit
  • Excavation required
ISTblast - Above Ground Hoppers
  • No excavation required
  • Very cheap to implement
  • Abrasive media need to be manually shoveled into the recovery pit
  • Loss of productivity
ISTblast - Blast Booths Recovery Floor Layout - Complete Single
  • Automatic and continuous recycling of abrasive media without the need to sweep or shovel
  • More expensive to implement and maintain

ISTblast - Blast Booths Recovery Floor Layout - L Shape
  • Less expensive to implement and maintain than a full floor coverage
  • Recovery pits must be loaded manually by the operator
  • Loss of productivity
ISTblast - Mechanical Bobcat Loader
  • Least expensive solution to implement and maintain
  • No excavation required
  • Hopper needs to be loaded mechanically with a Bobcat loader
  • Loader is requried and mus be maintained too

Media Recycling System

Once the blast media is collected, it is then moved to a media reclaiming system where dust, shattered media pieces, and other contaminants are removed, leaving only media in optimal working conditions. Depending on the application and the abrasive used, approximately 95% of the contaminated abrasive media mix will be recovered and returned to the pressure blast pot for further use.

Typically, ISTblast offers three standard Abrasive Media Recovery Systems.

Type of Abrasive Recovery System Mean to collect used abrasive media from the floor Mechanical Separation of Media and Dust
Pneumatic Urethane Suction Pipe Cyclonic Separator
Mechanical Screw Conveyor & Bucket Elevator Air Wash
Hybrid Screw Conveyor & Urethane Suction Pipe Air Wash

Pneumatic or Mechanical Abrasive Recovery System?

There are several factors to take into account when choosing the right abrasive media recovery system for your application.

  • Your budget and estimated ROIMechanical recovery systems are more expensives to install, but they provide a more interesting return on investment (ROI) on the long term when considering overall costs associated with the operation and the maintenance of your blast booth;
  • The objective of your sandblasting processSurface preparation prior to coating versus blast cleaning for removing paint, rust, scale, etc.). Contaminants generated by your application is a significant factor to consider when evaluating between a pneumatic of a mechanical recovery system;
  • The blast media required for your application: Heavy blast media – such as steel grit and steel shot – cannot be sucked in by a pneumatic recovery system;
  • Your production space available in the shopPneumatic recovery system takes less floor space and require a lower ceiling height compared to mechanical recovery systems;
  • Whether or not you are allowed to excavate in your building: Mechanical recovery systems require at least 5 feet excavation work;
  • Many other factors: such as the recovery rate expected, the frequency at which you plan on cleaning your floor, whether or not your application generates combustible dusts that should be evacuated outside of the building, etc.

Here is a comparison chart of the main factors to be taken into account for making the right decision between a pneumatic, mechanical, or hybrid blast room recovery system.

Abrasive Media Recovery System
Pneumatic Mechanical Hybrid
Abrasive Media
  • Light-to-medium abrasive media only (not suitable for heavy media such as Steel Grit)
  • Can handle all types of abrasive media
  • Same as Pneumatic
  • Suitable for light-to-medium duty applications (producing few contaminants)
  • Suitable for small and medium-size room
  • High-throughput
  • Harsh applications producing large contaminant pieces
  • Suitable for small to very large size room
  • Harsh applications producing large contaminant pieces
  • Suitable for small to very large size room
Media Recycling Rate
  • Up to 2,000 lb/hr
  • Up to 10,000 lb/hr
  • Up to 2,000 lb/hr
  • Very affordable solution
  • Available with vacuum head for collecting residual abrasive from large tanks and hard-to-spill reservoirs
  • Shallow or no excavation required
  • Minimum ceiling height must be 13 ft
  • Large range of floor layouts available – up to full floor without the need to manually load the hoppers
  • Very durable system that requires minimum supervision and maintenance
  • Only one room dust collector required
  • Convenient for installation with height and excavation restriction
  • Shallow or no excavation required
  • Minimum ceiling height must be 13 ft
  • Orifice of injectors down the floor hopper is very narrow and could clog easily with large pieces of rust, paint chips, etc.
  • Floor layout limited to partial floor coverage and corner shoot
  • Cannot convey heavy abrasive media up to the media separator
  • More expensive to implement than pneumatic systems, but very productive and low maintenance – so economically equivalent on the long-term
  • Excavation is required
  • Minimum ceiling height must be 18 ft
  • Cannot convey heavy abrasive media up to the media separator

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