How Vacuum Recovery Systems Can Save Time and Money


When it comes to getting a blasting job done, businesses face many challenges, such as choosing the right equipment and media, and deciding how to allocate manpower. One important factor that is often overlooked is the total cost of the blast media. Businesses should carefully consider factors such as the cost of the media, disposal cost and transport cost to ensure a good return on investment (ROI).

Additionally, businesses should be aware of the regulations in the area they are working in, as some areas require reusable blast media while others require new. The decision to clean after a blast job should be based on the specific situation and the benefits to the business. For instance, if the goal is to reuse and clean media, then using a cleaning and recovery system would be a wise option.

A Clemco Munkebo vacuum cleaning tower 

Case 1

For a job that required blasting of two ships, a contractor in Houston had a long-term agreement with a shipyard. Initially, the contractor used copper slag and conventional blast equipment; however, the client allowed the contractor to switch to steel grit and invest in Munkebo vacuum cleaning towers, which proved to be a beneficial move.

This switch resulted in increased efficiency, saving the client over $225,000 in the purchase and disposal of copper slag and reducing the shipyard crane service needed to support the work by 79% on the first ship alone. This experience demonstrates that even for smaller jobs, using the right media and equipment can lead to increased productivity and cost savings.

If the goal is to simply recover and dispose the media then using a vacuum cleaner would be the better choice.

Clemco’s Munkebo B-5000 vacuum system

Case 2

A contractor had a challenging pipeline job involving the surface treatment of the inside of the pipes, with a strict deadline. Missing that deadline would mean incurring hefty daily fines. The problem was two-fold: First, it was difficult to remove the used garnet, as the entrance and exit points were quite a distance apart, making manual removal both costly and time-consuming. Second, as the job was being done in a nature reserve, the garnet had to be contained, with absolutely no spillage of any kind. After careful consideration, the contractor decided to use a large Munkebo MB-5000 vacuum system, which was easily set up and had a hose that could be lowered into the immediate worksite via a smaller connecting pipe. This ensured a quick and effective job that left the area spotless and provided plenty of time to spare. The contractor said they were delighted with the outcome and “couldn’t have asked for a better solution.”

Both of the above solutions reduced the completion time.

What to Consider

Vacuum systems can offer advantages, such as: 

  • Time saving,
  • Easy media handling,
  • The ability to clean and reuse media and
  • Reduced risk of hazardous dust whirls during recovery.

But they also come with some drawbacks, such as:

  • Power requirements,
  • Transport cost and
  • Storage requirements.

To make the best decision, businesses should look at the big picture and assess all the costs and benefits. Although the Clemco Munkebo Vacuum Recovery System may not be suitable for everyone, it can be an economical choice for larger jobs or multiple jobs. It is essential to identify the right system for the job and determine whether it is necessary to recover spent media or use reusable media, as well as if media cleaning should be included. By finding the right vacuum recovery solution, completing a dirty job can be easier than expected.

For more information, visit clemcoindustries.com.

Claims or positions expressed by sponsoring authors do not necessarily reflect the views of TPC, JPCL, PaintSquare or its editors. PHOTOS: COURTESY OF CLEMCO INDUSTRIES CORP.