With a blast cabinet, you can blast an object with the help of a high-pressure blast. Surface blasting is a technique in which an object is ‘sandblasted’, with the aid of blasting abrasives such as glass beads or metal shots. Because the abrasive is collected, the abrasive can be reused. Thanks to the seals of the blasting cabinet and the fact that an object is processed in a closed space, the user is protected against the abrasive being shot around. In this article, you can read more about the blast cabinet, and we will help you to make the right choice when purchasing.
What is a blast cabinet?
A blast cabinet ensures that you can blast an object with high pressure. You do this with specially prepared gloves that are attached to the cabinet. Because the object is located in the blasting cabinet, the user does not suffer from abrasive and dust flying around. The blast cabinet allows you to get closer to your workpiece so that more precision work can be done. With a blasting gun you ‘shoot’ the abrasive on the object. This way you can clean or shot the object.
The advantage of blasting cabinets is that they are very easy to use. Because the cabinet is a small, enclosed space, you can easily place the cabinet anywhere. Thanks to the good filters and seals, no dust, abrasive or contamination leaks into the environment.
Always make sure that the extraction of the blasting cabinet has sufficient capacity. In that way, the cabin is dedusted and the user has good visibility during blasting. In particular, poor visibility during blasting is a common complaint and leads to annoying working conditions and ultimately to poor blasting results. Did you know that a lot of dust in the abrasive also greatly slows down the process and ultimately costs a lot of money? The dust is blasted around the cabin with a lot of energy by the compressed air, only because of the low mass of dust, it has no energy at all and it does not contribute to the blasting result.
The dust is often removed from the abrasive by means of a cyclone. In this way, the abrasive is recycled and goes back into the process. The dust and dirt is sucked from the cyclone to the filter and eventually disappears into the dustbin.
The cyclone is a very specific part of the blast cabinet. It is a carefully calculated and developed component that must be perfectly matched to the volume of the cabinet and the extraction.
What is a blast cabinet used for?
Abrasive blasting is used to remove rust, paint stains and other impairments to objects. Objects that are blasted in a blasting cabinet are rims, machine parts or parts of cars and motorcycles. We also see more and more often, that the blast cabinet is used for finishing 3D printed products. A blast cabinet can also be used to create surface structures, a matting effect or even create images on an object. This is done, for example, on glass or stainless steel objects. A blasting cabinet can also be used for local processing. The rest of the object must then be taped or masked. In the coating industry, there is a lot of blasting to roughen the surface of the product in order to achieve a better adhesion or anchor pattern for the coating.
Which blasting cabinet do I need?
This depends entirely on your situation. What do you want to blast? How often do you blast on average? Do you need to remove persistent contaminations from a surface, roughen it up, or do you want less intensive blasting? These are some of the questions that are important when making the right choice. To get you started, we have divided our blast cabinets into a few categories.
The difference between various blast cabinet brands
Normfinish produces two brands of blast cabinets: Normfinish and the Mistral-series. If you are blasting about 2 hours a day or more, it is wise to choose a Normfinish cabinet. Normfinish blast cabinets are perfect when there are high demands on the blast cabinet. Normfinish also offers a wet blasting cabinet, which can be used for wet blast processing. This cabinet uses a combination of water and abrasive. Such a cabinet is also often used when the product is still greasy. A special degreaser is then added to the water. This means that in addition to the blasting process, the product is also degreased at the same time. Do not do this in a blasting cabinet in which blasting is done with a combination of air and abrasive, as the abrasive will then spread the cabin. The end result is that the blast cabinet will clog up.
If you do not blast regularly, Mistral blast cabinets are a good choice. Mistral blast cabinets have a good price/quality ratio. Mistral also has a junior blast cabinet in its range. This is a blast cabinet without a cyclone, which has the disadvantage that the abrasive is less well cleaned and filtered. The main advantage of this cabinet is that it is an economical solution.
In general, Normfinish blast cabinets are a bit more extensive and solid, so the investment is also higher. For each cabinet, our website exactly details the characteristics of the cabinet. Besides the wet blasting cabinet and the mistral blast cabinet, the assortment of both brands consists of injector blast cabinets and pressure blast cabinets. Below you will find a description of the best version to choose for your specific situation.
Pressure blast cabinets
Pressure blast cabinets are selected when the blasting process has to be completed in a shorter time. Do you have a lot of blasting? Then a pressure blast cabinet is the best choice. The abrasive in a pressurized steel cabinet reaches a speed of around 200 meters per second (4 bar), which means that you spend two to three times less time blasting, compared to an Injector blasting cabinet. Pressure blast cabinets are used for example to remove very solid layers of paint, powder coating or persistent contaminations, or if you want to achieve a very rough surface quickly.
Keep in mind that a pressure blast cabinet consumes a lot of compressed air (3000 litres per minute at 4 bar). In addition, after about 10 minutes of blasting, you will have to interrupt the process briefly (1 second) to have the blast pot refilled automatically. Our pressure blast cabinets are equipped with a quick air vent that minimizes the time needed to refill the blast pot. The Normfinish blast cabinets are equipped with a dosing cylinder that allows you to set the ideal air to blast media ratio perfectly. In addition, the decompression unit closes the blast hose in a fraction of a second when you stop blasting. This has the advantage that when you start blasting again, you immediately have the right ratio of air and abrasive material.
In a nutshell: Choose a pressure blast cabinet for heavy, intensive and lots of (standard) blasting work. A pressure blast cabinet is a slightly higher investment, with the advantage that products can be blasted at a much faster rate. In this field, we offer the Normfinish DP pressure blast cabinet and the Mistral MP 02.
Injector blast cabinets
Injector blast cabinets, also known as suction blast cabinets, are chosen if a less intensive blasting operation is sufficient to treat the object. With an injector blast cabinet, the abrasive comes out of the nozzle at a speed of 80 meters per second. The abrasive is accelerated by the venturi (suction principle). 2 hoses run to the blasting gun, one for the air and one for the abrasive. The technique that ensures an optimal venturi operation in the blast gun, is essential. This guarantees an efficient and trouble-free blasting process and also causes much less wear to the blasting gun. The right ratio between abrasive and air is achieved by setting the air valve in the mixing chamber under the cabinet. This mixing chamber largely determines, together with the gun combination and air injectors, how well and efficient the blast cabinet can work.
Applications of an injector blast cabinet are cleaning, rust removal and deburring, matting, roughing and decoding of surfaces. The main advantage of an injector blast cabinet is that the cabinet requires lower investment and that it can be blasted for a long time without delay. The air consumption is also lower in this cabinet (1000 litres per minute at 6 bar blast pressure). Always make sure that you use dry compressed air for blasting work. We advise you to connect a freeze dryer to your compressor.
In a nutshell: Choose an injector blast cabinet for slightly less intensively treated surfaces. An injector blast cabinet is cheaper to buy, but the blasting takes a little longer. In this field, we offer the Normfinish DI suction blast cabinet, the Mistral MI 02 and Mistral MI 03.
Advice from our experts
Based on the above guidelines, you can distinguish between the types of blast cabinets in order to choose one that applies to your specific situation. On our website, we indicated per cabinet what the specific characteristics of that cabinet are. Do you prefer personalised advice from our experts? Do not hesitate to contact us.