Dry ice blasting, also known as CO2 blasting is an environmentally sustainable cleaning method that uses soft, dry ice, accelerated at supersonic speeds creating “mini-explosions” on the surface of an object to remove unwanted damage or material that’s adhered to the object. Because dry ice blasting uses carbon dioxide vs. chemicals in the cleaning process, it is considered food-safe and has been approved by the FDA, EPA and the USDA. Dry ice blasting has many applications and because this technique is so versatile, it is often more desirable than using hard abrasives and other traditional methods for cleaning electronics and other items affected by soot, fire, water and mold. What else makes ice blasting so cool? Keep reading.
The Science Behind the Technology
Ice blasting uses a highly pressurized gun to shoot tiny CO2 pellets at very high velocities. The CO2 pellets are relatively soft compared to other substances used in media blasting (sand, plastic etc). Even at high speeds and high impact, the CO2 will not damage the surface of the object. Also, when the pellets of CO2 contact the object it goes through a scientific transformation, instantaneously changing from a solid to a gas, making this a nonabrasive cleaning method.
Because dry ice blasting is non-abrasive and doesn’t require solvents to clean, it is also non-toxic, environmentally-friendly and family-safe. This combination makes it an applicable cleaning method to use in residential damage restoration. Ice blasting is so versatile it can be used gently to dust smoke damage off a piece of glass or used aggressively to remove rust from a table saw. Ice blasting is certainly not the only method but can be effective for cleaning many household items such as circuit boards, plastics, appliances, motorized equipment like lawn maintenance equipment and even screens on TVs or computers.
Before and after images of water damaged wood working tools cleaned with ice blasting.
Dry ice blasting is a particularly good cleaning option for industrial-type businesses because it can be done on location. This minimizes or eliminates lulls in production and down-time. Ice blasting can remove dirt, soot, paint, asphalt, tar, decals, ink, resins, and adhesives. It is also extremely effective at removing toxic residues as well as other fumes left by fire. This makes it an especially effective solution for cleaning industrial and production equipment affected by fire. It can also remove build up of contaminants such as oils and grease making dry ice blasting an optimal technique for cleaning restaurant equipment such as stoves and hoods. Dry ice blasting is also extremely efficient as trained technicians can clean much faster with dry ice blasting than other methods. This means increased runtime and minimal disassembly of equipment. Paul Valenti, Director of Commercial Operations and Engineering for ERS comments on how ice blasting has been used effectively for industrial applications.
“We used CO2 blasting after a fire at a Toyota plant to remove soot contamination and welding slag from robotic weld cell fixtures. It easily removed debris from small places and did not damage pneumatic cylinders, clamps, switches, part nests, locators or guards. We’ve also used this method to remove soot contamination and excess in candle manufacturing equipment. It quickly removed wax from the exterior surfaces, conveyor chains and tooling. This method is particularly effective at removing contamination from complex surfaces without damaging the finish.”
Industrial part fixtures before and after ice blasting.
Sustainable and Eco-friendly Restoration & Maintenance Solutions
By choosing to clean equipment and household items with non-toxic, environmentally-friendly methods such as dry ice blasting you are making a responsible choice to minimize chemical pollutants in the environment. Chemical pollution is defined by the Environmental Pollution Center as the presence or increase in our environment of chemical pollutants that are not naturally present there or are found in amounts higher than their natural background values. Chemical pollution can lead to health issues and disease, generally through the consumption of affected food, drinking highly contaminated water, or breathing highly contaminated air. Most of the chemicals that pollute the environment are man-made and are the result of various activities found in manufacturing, the chemical industry and household chemicals. Additionally, by choosing to restore or clean electronics and equipment versus replacing them you are helping to minimize e-waste. According to the EPA, e-waste is the fastest growing municipal waste stream in America and accounts for 70% of the hazardous waste that is deposited into landfills.
Whether it is residential appliances affected by fire, restaurant equipment that needs cleaning or industrial production equipment that needs preventative maintenance, the professional teams at ERS (Electronic Restoration Services) offer dry ice blasting services to clean, maintain and restore electronic equipment. ERS has locations across the country with professional technicians and engineers on staff ready to assist anytime day or night. For more information about ERS services visit ers-us.com.