SMS invests in eco-friendly blasting unit

'Davenham' The Thames Barge ‘Davenham’, at the dry dock at SMS Southampton being treated with ultra high pressure blasting. Credit: SMS

Southampton Marine Services (SMS) has invested in new equipment including an ultra-high pressure blasting unit to remove paint and old coatings from vessels.

The company has purchased the blasting unit to make operations more environmentally friendly, reduce environmental risks to workers as well as save time and money over renting a machine.

“Environmental concerns are reduced because no dust is created by the water blasting process and is therefore easier to contain,” said Dave Foster, paint and coatings manager at SMS. “There is less residual risk to the owner or operator because contaminants do not become airborne and blasters are not subject to lung injuries, such as silicosis.”

Grit control

He explained that UHP water blasting, which uses highly pressurized water (40,000 psi) to remove a coating or contaminant from a substrate, is advantageous over other methods of surface preparation because it reduces the risk of grit getting into moving parts and possibly shutting down a compressor or turbine. It also removes residual chlorides.

The volume of waste in lead-based paint projects is also greatly reduced since lead will not mix with water, allowing operators the option of filtering lead paint chips and other contaminants.

SMS’ new transportable flushing rig is capable of flushing 300ltrs per minute at 40bar. It has a particle contamination sensor module, thermostatically controlled heating and cooling system and is fitted with a 50ltr accumulator which allows (set to pulse) circa 600ltrs per minute of flushing and can pressurise up to 500bar.

The rig records the data via a portable data recorder with the output demonstrable via electronic graphs and reports.

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