Five Things to Consider When Selecting Blasting Equipment

TUESDAY, MAY 1, 2018

By Wade Hannon, Specialty Products, Graco Inc.

We have seen a movement in the industry that is shifting contractors from dry to wet abrasive systems. Some of the factors that are contributing to this are the OSHA silica rule – which defines a permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica – green initiatives taking place within companies, and of course, dust.

Manufacturers have been developing new products in this space to meet the growing demand. Here’s what you need to look at before investing in a new wet or vapor abrasive blasting machine.


Ease of Use + Maintenance Requirements 

Look for a machine that is easy to set up and control — with rinse always available. Features such as fixed pot pressure remove the need to adjust in the field, making the machine easier to operate while providing more consistent blast pressure. 

Also, invest in a machine that is robust enough to need little maintenance, but consider what will happen when maintenance is required. Does the manufacturer keep stock of frequently needed parts? Does it have a nearby supplier to work with in case the machine needs to be repaired? 


Water Usage 

EcoQuip 2 passed Colorado Springs' regulations around dust, noise and debris. Not only does the equipment suppress dust by up to 92 percent less than dry blasting, but EcoQuip 2 uses less than one quart of water per minute.

Read the equipment specs to determine how much water is used. You want a machine that uses as little water as possible so there is less mess to clean up and contain. In addition, the more water required for blasting steel, the more rust inhibitor you will need to use, which can drive up the hourly cost.

If a company does not provide water usage or you question their claims, ask to see a demo so you can gauge water usage.



Media is an important part of any blasting job, but it can be expensive. Why pay for more than you need? And remember, any media you bring into a job will need to be disposed of – 10,000 pounds in, 10,000 pounds out. Look for machinery that requires the smallest amount of media to help keep operating costs down. 

Also, make sure the machine you buy can handle a variety of media, from course to fine, without clumping. 



Skydance Helicopters uses EcoQuip 2 to blast a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The machine uses the right amount of pressure to strip around the rivets while using 20-40 urea plastic media.

Today’s wet and vapor blasting machines can match any production of a dry blaster while using a fraction of the material. Find a machine with a blast circuit that will meet your needs. Ideally, you want a machine that can provide smooth flow for minimal pressure drop and can handle high and low air-flow/pressure applications. Consider buying equipment with higher-than-needed maximum blast pressures, from 120 to 175 pounds per square inch (psi). These higher pressures provide a smoother, more consistent flow, making the job easier to complete the first time through. 


Dust Suppression

Reducing dust is very important – it improves the work environment, protects the operator and makes containment and clean-up easier. But, even in wet or vapor abrasive blasting, there is no such thing as dustless. Ask to see a third-party report on the manufacturer’s dust-handling claims, and use that research to find a machine that lowers dust output as much as possible. 

*Claims or positions expressed by sponsoring authors do not necessarily reflect the views of TPC, PaintSquare or its editors. EcoQuip® and Vapor Abrasive® are trademarks of Graco Inc.

Wade Hannon, Specialty Products, Graco Inc.

Wade Hannon is an area sales manager in Specialty Products at Graco Inc. He is responsible for equipment demonstrations, technical support, distributor development and sales support, marketing and promotion within assigned territories, trade shows and internal sales support.