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Interview: Blasting in the Shop

Thursday, June 15, 2017

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Sharretts Plating, founded in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1925 as Charles D. Snyder and Son Inc., has for decades performed blasting, coating and plating work for customers across a broad swath of industries, including defense, oil and gas, electronics and automotive.

Sharretts Plating
Sharretts Plating

Sharretts Plating performs blasting, coating and plating work for customers across a broad swath of industries, including defense, oil and gas, electronics and automotive.

Tamara Friese, president and COO of Sharretts, answered PaintSquare News' questions about the shop's history and blasting experience, and the work of choosing the right abrasive for the job in a shop environment with so many different substrates and object shapes.

What type of substrates are you generally cleaning and plating, and how long has blasting been part of the business?

Abrasive blasting has always been a part of our business. We added larger processes/capacity four years ago. Our supervisor in this area has more than 27 years’ experience in blasting different substrates. Substrates include: steel, aluminum, copper, zinc alloys, galvanized steel, plastic, tungsten, titanium and composite materials.

What's the range of different blasting media you use for various surface preparation jobs? Are there particular types of media you use more than others?

The different media include aluminum oxide, glass beads, plastic media, mineral slag, crushed glass, soda and steel shot. Glass beads and aluminum oxide and the two most frequently used for surface preparation and cleaning.

What are the first things to consider when choosing a particular abrasive for a given job?

Some of the first things considered are: What is the customer trying to achieve with the abrasive media process? Will the media cause any damage to the part? Will media lodge anywhere on the part? Does the customer have a specification the material needs to meet? Can we clean off the media residue if needed?

Besides hardness, what other factors come into play when choosing abrasive media for a job?

Do we need to remove mill scale, rust or prepare the surface for the next operation? Is there another step? What is that step and how will our process affect the next step? After the abrasive process, parts can be used as is, powder coated, impregnated, painted, additional machining added, electroplated and/or heat treated, et cetera.

What steps can a shop operation take to keep costs down when it comes to abrasive blasting?

Keep the blasting equipment in excellent condition to minimize abrasive loss. We have various sizes of equipment to accommodate customers with small lots and keep efficiency as high as possible.

What portion of the abrasive media you use at your shop is able to be recycled? Are there any other steps you take to minimize the environmental impact of blasting work?

We utilize a dust collector bag system with a HEPA filter system. This system filters the dust out and recirculates clean air back into the building. Most of the plastic media degrades to dust. Recycling options are very limited, depending on the process. In a high percentage of the time recycling is not cost-effective nor timely to meet environmental requirements, so we are forced to dispose of it per environmental regulations.

   

Tagged categories: Abrasive blasting; Abrasives; Blast cabinets; Blasting; Sharretts Plating; Surface preparation; Surface preparation equipment

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