Frequently asked questions.
What is Snow blasting / Dry Ice Blasting?
The principle of snow blasting is that you connect to liquid CO2. In the blasting gun the liquid is transformed into dry ice particles. Dry ice (CO2) particles are accelerated to over 150 m/s speed. The particles are accelerated by compressed air and applied using a hose and a blasting gun, just as with other blasting methods. The particles sublimate as CO2 gas into the atmosphere immediately after hitting the surface. No cleaning material remains. The removed dirt falls to the ground and has to be swept or vacuumed away.
What is dry ice?
Dry ice is carbon dioxide in solid form. At atmospheric pressure, the temperature of dry ice is -79°C. Dry ice is odor-free, non-toxic, non-conductive and incombustible. “Dry” means its ability to evaporate instead of melting and becoming liquid. Carbon dioxide is a natural part of our atmosphere.
What is the difference between snow blasting and dry ice blasting?
For more than 20 years dry ice blasting has been used for cleaning operations. However due to the high costs of dry ice pellets (high running costs), the logistic and the high investment costs the acceptance of implementing the process has been limited.
Snow blasting is solving these problems. You don’t need dry ice pellets (you connect directly to liquid CO2 cylinders/tanks). Liquid CO2 is available on short notice so you never run out. PolarTech´s patented system can be used for both aggressive cleaning as well as delicate cleaning. The costs of liquid Co2 is significantly cheaper than dry ice pellets. We can do almost all applications as dry ice blasting….but much cheaper. The extreme low weight of our equipment makes it more easy to operate. Other benefits are we need less air supply for functioning compared to dry ice blasting.
Which supply media do I need for snow blasting?
You need compressed air, liquid CO2 in single cylinders / batteries each with a dip tube or large tanks and electric connection. You can either use in-house air supply or an external mobile compressor.
How do I get liquid CO2?
Liquid CO2 is available globally from your local supplier of industrial gasses. Liquid CO2 is available in single cylinders, batteries or in larger tanks (can be supplied by supplier).
How does snow blasting work?
Dry ice particles are accelerated in a jet of compressed air and strike the coating to be removed at velocities up to the speed of sound. Cleaning results from three effects:
When dry ice particles strikes a surface at the speed of sound, any coating on the surface is cracked and loosened but there is no damage to the underlying surface.
The low temperature of dry ice particles makes the coating brittle, cracks it and loosens it as a result of reduced bonding between the coating and the underlying surface. This allows dry ice to permeate the coating.
Explosive Effect – Sublimation:
Dry ice particles penetrates the coating and immediately sublimes (passes directly from solid to vapor state). This results in a 700-fold increase in volume, an explosive effect that lifts the coating off the surface.
Why use snow blasting instead of traditional cleaning methods?
Dry ice particle blasting is a completely dry process. It is non-toxic, non-conductive and non-abrasive. Dry ice vaporises immediately on contact with treated surfaces. This gives several advantages in comparison with traditional blasting methods. With dry ice blasting there is no secondary waste material (sand, glas, plastic, etc.). It is therefore possible to clean objects in which other blasting methods' residual blasting material would collect in every inaccessible corner.
If cleaning with water, chemicals, solvents or other blasting methods is restricted by local authorities in most cases dry ice blasting is the only alternative cleaning method. Dry ice blasting has a lot of advantages especially in areas of machinery cleaning, building maintenance or restoration. A lot of cleaning tasks can be done by using for example water (high pressure or ultra high pressure). The consequence are high machine downtime which results in a huge economically loss. Cleaning operations of production equipment means downtime and results in:
- transportation of the cleaning objects
- the cleaning process
- drying / cleaning
- transportation back to manufacturing plant
- mounting back on the machine
Dry ice blasting can be done directly in mounted conditions. The machine downtime can
be reduced dramatically.
For what can i use snow blasting?
You can use dry ice particle blasting for manual or automatic cleaning operations. Dry ice blasting is equally suited for pretreatment of surfaces (degreasing). Further to that there are applications of deflashing.
In which industries is snow blasting used?
Dry ice particle blasting is used in more than 16 different industries. Automotive, electronic/power generation, food, pharma, plastic & rubber, aeronautical, marine, packaging, foundries, printing, wood & paper,disaster remediation etc. contact PolartTech for further information on your industry.
What kind of contamination can snow blasting remove?
Dry ice particle blasting can remove contaminations/surface material like oil, grease, wax, release agents, residues from production, glue, corrosion protection, polish material, finger prints, bitumen, paint, soot (and the smell) mold, bacteria.. to name a few.
Is there any “after” treatment necessary?
No, only sweep up the surface material that has fallen to the ground.
Is snow blasting conductive?
No, the process is completely dry and non conductive as long as your air supply is dry. Condensation may occur briefly depending on surrounding temperature. Additional air re-heater can be installed to avoid condensation.
Can snow blasting be used on hot surfaces?
Yes. Faster and more effective cleaning can often be achieved when the object to be cleaned is hot. Generally dry ice particle blasting leads to a little cooling down of the base material.
Experiences in dry ice cleaning of hot injection moulds show that the short-term cooling down is absolutely no problem.
Is snow blasting as effective as traditional cleaning?
Yes. In the vast majority of cases, dry ice particle blasting will be as effective or even better and faster as traditional cleaning.
Which cleaning operations can be substituted with advantages by snow blasting?
Advantages can be gained from replacing methods such as sand blasting, high pressure hosing and manual cleaning (which requires considerable resources and the use of hazardous, environmentally hostile chemicals) with dry ice blasting, which is an extremely environmentally friendly process.
Can I use snow blasting on material or in places where traditional methods cannot be used?
Yes. As dry ice particle blasting is a clean and dry process, it can be used with advantage instead of traditional methods that leave detergent residues. The process has also been approved for use in the food industry.
What cannot be achieved by snow blasting?
Dry ice particle blasting is non-abrasive so it cannot be used to obtain a rough surface.
What about safety?
Liquid CO2 is classified as non toxic. Please follow the instructions from your supplier regarding handling. For operation you need ear protection, eye protection and gloves. During operation make sure the area is ventilated. Use in confined spaces like tanks you need full breathing apparatus.
What air supply do I need?
You need dry, oil free and clean air (no particles). Depending on your application you need from 05 m3/min. – 3,5 m3/min. for most applications. The pressure again depending on application should be anywhere from 2 – 7 bar.
How far away from air and liquid CO2 supply can I operate?
Our hose packages are extremely light and with little bending radius they are easy to lay out. The blasting hose (air and CO2) can operate to extreme distances away from the control unit. You can get hoses in length of 3, 5, 7, 10 and 20 meters and you will experience little pressure and performance loss. Air supply hoses you can likewise get in various length. When working long distances from you air supply connection we recommend to decrease in the diameter of the hoses eg. 1” hose and next would be ¾ “ hose. There is no wear / tear to the hose systems.
How can I test my application?
You are welcome to send us samples for testing or visit us yourself for testing in our facilities. We will work out a short report based on the result of the test and our recommendations.
Is a demonstration on our site possible?
Please contact PolarTech for further information and appointment.