Vacuum blasting has come a long way in the last ten years from heavy industrial units to lightweight all purpose tools giving very high work output under severe conditions. Demands of Health and Safety regulations are now placing pressures on specifiers and contractors to clean up their shot blasting operations. To meet these requirements vacuum blasting equipment manufacturers have developed products to compete more favourably with open blasting, such a product is “Blast N' Vac” being widely used in the construction and off‐shore oil industry. Using a range of heads coupled to an air vacuum pump, a system can be specified to operate around 60 metres from the base equipment. With a BNV‐5 workhead and a nozzle of 7.5mm. concrete and brickwork can be grit blasted leaving a clean even surface or by using heavier grits and higher pressures concrete facings can be removed prior to re‐coating. Rates of work vary depending on type of surface being treated but previously where rates came out at about half that of open blasting the new range of heads have closed that gap to around two thirds. If one now takes in the pollution and cleaning up factors it makes vacuum blasting a more viable alternative. Operator fatigue has always been the major factor in vacuum blasting tools but again with Blast N' Vac, BNV‐3 & 5 workheads only weighing 3 lbs. and 3½ lbs. respectively, coupled to lightweight blast and vacuum hoses give the operators less effort in the blasting operations so leading to a more satisified and efficient blaster.
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