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Study on the Application of Environmentally Friendly Sponge Abrasives in the Construction of Offshore Steel Structures
Aiming at the dust problem in the traditional sand blasting process, this paper discusses an environmentally friendly low dust sand blasting process with sponge abrasive, introduces the sand blasting principle and process flow of sponge abrasive in detail, and combines the application experience of sponge abrasive in steel structure construction to analyze and study the application prospects of sponge abrasive in the marine engineering industry from the aspects of environmental protection, construction, and economy.
Offshore steel structures have been exposed to humid environments for a long time, resulting in harsh service environments and high requirements for corrosion protection. Sand blasting is a commonly used surface treatment method in the anti-corrosion process of offshore steel structures, which can not only remove rust, but also meet the roughness requirements required for coating construction. However, traditional abrasives can generate a large amount of dust during the sandblasting process, which can easily affect the health of operators. Therefore, improving the sand blasting process is an urgent problem to be solved.

Introduction to Sponge Abrasives

Sponge abrasive is a sand mass formed by bonding different specifications of abrasives together using a polyurethane sponge material as an adhesive (as shown in Figure 1). Sponge abrasives combine the adsorption ability of polyurethane sponges with the cutting ability of traditional sandblasting processes. When impacted by compressed air, the surface of the workpiece becomes flat, and the abrasive instantly emerges to perform sandblasting cleaning on the workpiece surface. When the sand mass separates from the workpiece surface, the sponge body rapidly deforms and expands and forms a vacuum, absorbing the vast majority of dust and impurities generated, This significantly improves the environment for sandblasting operations. Sponge abrasives have the characteristics of low dust and environmental protection. The special porous structure of the sponge can absorb most of the fugitive dust and impurities generated during sandblasting, thereby improving the visibility of the work site, improving the efficiency and quality of cleaning, and significantly reducing the amount of dust inhaled by workers during the work process. The porous structure of polyurethane sponge can also effectively reduce the splash and rebound of abrasive after sandblasting, improving the safety of construction. The wrapping and flame retardancy of sponges can also effectively control the collision sparks generated during sand blasting, which is particularly suitable for the uninterrupted construction requirements of flammable and explosive industries such as marine engineering and petrochemical industry.


Sponge abrasive sandblasting equipment


The sponge abrasive sandblasting equipment consists of an abrasive supply unit and an abrasive circulation unit. The abrasive supply unit consists of a storage cylinder and a central control panel, with a one-time storage capacity of approximately 60 kg, which can be used to replenish abrasive during the sandblasting process. The abrasive circulation unit is composed of a separation bucket, an abrasive circulator, a waste reclaimer, and an abrasive reclaimer. When the equipment is in use, the central control panel can accurately adjust the injection pressure and feed speed of the sponge abrasive based on the fluidity of the sponge abrasive. The abrasive supply unit passes through the nozzle
Spray sponge abrasive onto the treated surface. Then, under the action of vacuum airflow and pneumatics, the abrasive used in the separation bucket is transferred to the abrasive circulator for classification and purification. After being processed by the classification device of the circulator, the reusable sponge abrasive is separated from the oversized debris and used waste materials (ineffective abrasive and pollutants) for recycling. The four processes of sand blasting, abrasive replenishment in the sand blasting cylinder, abrasive recovery, and impurity separation in the entire process flow all operate independently.


Sponge abrasive sandblasting effect


Compared to the small visible range and diffuse sand dust caused by traditional sandblasting construction, sponge abrasive sandblasting can effectively improve the construction environment in the working area without significant sand dust generation and high visibility. After construction, workers can promptly inspect the surface treatment situation, and can proceed to the next process once they pass the inspection, shortening the construction interval. At the same time, sponge abrasive sand blasting also reduces dust pollution to surrounding equipment and pipelines, reducing a large amount of sand cleaning, cleaning, and waste sand treatment work.
The cleanliness of the steel surface after sponge abrasive sandblasting can reach ISO8501-1 Sa 2.5 or above, which can meet the requirements of most domestic and foreign projects. Moreover, using sponge abrasives, the surface roughness of the steel plate after treatment is uniform, further improving the adhesion between the coating and the steel plate, enhancing the anti-corrosion performance of the coating, extending the durability of the coating film, and facilitating the leveling and decoration of the coating.

Limitations of application


Sponge abrasives have a high material cost, and their price is several times or even more than ten times that of conventional abrasives, resulting in poor economic performance. Especially for the final assembly process of offshore steel structures, as the objects of outdoor sandblasting are mostly on-site weld bead locations such as supports, pipelines, and structural beams
The industry space is narrow and relatively scattered, and it is difficult to collect abrasive materials. As a result, the recovery rate of sponge abrasive materials is low, further increasing the cost of sand blasting. In addition, because the outer surface of the sponge abrasive is wrapped by a sponge, the impact and impact ability of the abrasive on the metal surface is weakened. Therefore, its rust removal ability and sand blasting efficiency will be reduced.
Sponge abrasive is a low dust, environmentally friendly abrasive that effectively reduces dust during sandblasting and can meet the surface treatment requirements of most marine structures. Although it has not yet been widely promoted, with the deepening of the concept of green environmental protection, sponge abrasives will surely gain wider attention and application in the shipbuilding and marine engineering industries.


Liangshi Sponge Abrasive Sandblasting Machine Equipment (click to enter)

Discussion on Low Dust and Environmental Protection Sand Blasting Technology of Liangshihai Abrasive (click to enter)


       About Shanghai Liangshi IntelRobot:
       Shanghai Liangshi IntelRobot Technology Corporation (Stock code:837430 Accumulate richly and break forth vastly; innovate continuously ) We provide surface treatment solution for global customers. Engaged more than twenty years in the industry, Shanghai Liangshi is a professional manufacturing and automatic system integration enterprise, specialized in researching, designing, manufacturing, project installation and project consulting. We can provide our customers with:
        1. We provide process system solution and process equipments of surface treatment shot blasting, thermal spraying, coating equipment.
        2. We provide professional process system solution and process equipments of digital control automation and robot technology application.
        3. We provide professional Integrated solution for pressure bearing system in fields of food dairy, biopharmaceutical, refrigerating, petrochemical, marine engineering, energy, paper-making, fabrics, etc.
        4. We provide environment protection blasting and painting equipment: process solution and equipment of VOCs waste gas, waste water, dust, noise treatment system.
       Leading products of our company are as follows:
       Main business: designing, developing, production and sales of surface treatment project system integration.
       Main products of six categories: automatic painting line, intelligent painting robot system, automatic shot blasting line, intelligent shot peening robot system, automatic thermal spraying system, energy saving and environment friendly painting equipment.
       The products are mainly used in the fields: new materials, new energy, engineering machinery, automobile manufacturing, container, marine engineering, aerospace, port bridge, electrical appliances, environmental engineering, printing and papermaking machinery, medical machinery, textile machinery etc.
       The surface engineering system integration produced by our company has the characteristics of intelligence and automation, and it can realize the automatic control of industrial production process, so it belongs to the automatic equipment. According to the "high-end equipment manufacturing industry" that defined by the“125 plan” , it mainly includes high value-added high-tech equipments that required by the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries and the development of strategic emerging industries, products of our company belongs to the high-end equipment, which is a strategic industry to provide technology and equipment for other sectors of the national economy


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