Media blasting walls-covered with conduit, etc.

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8/17/2021 9:27 AM

I’m wondering if anyone has had any luck blasting walls while vacuuming at the same time? I have lots of electrical boxes, conduit, plumbing, etc all over the walls. I can’t stop production for long enough to remove and then rewire/replumb everything so I was hoping to attach a strong vacuum to a blaster and do a little bit each weekend while production is down.

Anyone tried something like this or found something off the shelf that would work? I have about 1/2” of foam covering on the walls that is about 40-50 years old that my industrial insurance company would like to have removed, just not sure how to do it.

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8/17/2021 1:06 PM

APLMAN99 wrote:

I’m wondering if anyone has had any luck blasting walls while vacuuming at the same time? I have lots of electrical boxes, ...more

Look into blasters that use rice husks

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8/17/2021 2:17 PM

APLMAN99 wrote:

I’m wondering if anyone has had any luck blasting walls while vacuuming at the same time? I have lots of electrical boxes, ...more

GabeM wrote:

Look into blasters that use rice husks

I'm leaning towards the dry ice blaster, but the real issue is the vacuum to be able to keep the foam material from flying everywhere inside the plant, electrical boxes, etc. Ideally there would be a blaster with a collector attached to a vacuum in order to keep the airborne particulates to a minimum. That's the main problem.

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8/17/2021 2:44 PM

Anything organicish. Your best bet is to convince them let you do this as a winter project. If that don't work and you can't find a one with a vacuum, think about dropping plastic from ceiling a few feet out or some sort of portable bubble deal like this that would contain it locally.

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8/17/2021 2:54 PM

GabeM wrote:

Anything organicish. Your best bet is to convince them let you do this as a winter project. If that don't work and you can't ...more

The winter project idea won't work, I have to produce 52 weeks out of the year.

The bubble won't work well either, as I am trying to keep the old foam particles from falling on/into the electrical boxes that are mounted all over the walls and such. It's a 60 year old plant, wiring and plumbing everywhere.

I'm afraid that there is no easy way to have this done, unfortunately.

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8/17/2021 3:00 PM

GabeM wrote:

Anything organicish. Your best bet is to convince them let you do this as a winter project. If that don't work and you can't ...more

APLMAN99 wrote:

The winter project idea won't work, I have to produce 52 weeks out of the year.

The bubble won't work well either, as I am ...more

Can you cover that stuff like painters do with paper or plastic? Mask everything off like you are painting the walls.

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8/17/2021 6:06 PM

GabeM wrote:

Can you cover that stuff like painters do with paper or plastic? Mask everything off like you are painting the walls.

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That was what came to mind too Gabe. Proper taping.

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-OC
"Feed The Bull"
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8/20/2021 9:15 AM

Does your production shut down at night?
Is there an opportunity for after hours work?

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8/20/2021 10:25 AM

Could you take a storage tub, have the blasting gun on the bottom and the vac hose on one of the sides, maybe some foam around the edge to seal against the wall. Create a very small isolation box you can press against the wall.
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8/20/2021 5:12 PM

early wrote:

Could you take a storage tub, have the blasting gun on the bottom and the vac hose on one of the sides, maybe some foam around ...more

I’m kind of wondering if I’m going to need to build some things like that, but the different ‘open spaces’ on the walls are going to be difficult.

Here are some examples. The pale yellow colored areas are the foam covering. Just about 3/4” thick. Over the years the wiring, plumbing, etc has been added over the foam.

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8/20/2021 7:19 PM

On direct injected engine intakes, we use media blasters (walnut shells) to clean the carbon off the valves and ports. The blaster nozzle goes thru an adapter which is hooked to a shop vac.

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While this is a much smaller scale than what you plan to do, it should be possible. Maybe a large shop vac floor nozzle could be used.

Also plan to use some kind of dust collector/barrel before the shop vac because that insulation will plug up you vac filter quickly.

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8/21/2021 6:57 AM

Have you tried asking Johnny Depp? He has all the answers to life's tough questions.

To be serious, I'd see if you could just spray new over to seal the old in. Otherwise it's going to be a very long and tedious project with your current restraints.

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We are the sum of a 1,000 lives. What we know is almost nothing at all.

8/21/2021 8:30 AM

Our insurance company would like it gone, but they aren’t going to cancel coverage or anything…..yet.

Covering it may be the only option but that doesn’t really solve what they claim is the problem. The foam itself doesn’t really burn, per se (it does, but very slowly), but they want it gone because in a fire it would likely melt and cover the floor, hindering efforts to put out a fire.

I like the idea of trying to get behind the foam and using the dry ice blaster to try to take it off in larger pieces. We run basically 24/5, so there’s the possibility of trying to do sections on weekends. My big worry there is trying to contain the particulates so that the startup on Sunday night isn’t delayed. It’s obviously not a ‘clean room’ but we need a reasonably clean environment in order to produce what we do in the building.

Apparently our maintenance team has a dry ice blaster on order for equipment cleaning so I may be able to try to see if it works after all. But the blaster has been on order for over 6 months so no telling how much longer I’d have to wait.

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