Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dry Ice Blasting for Auto Body and Classic Cars

This is something that I never thought I would blog about. We have successfully dry ice blasted several classic car undercarriages. This job was definitely a first for our company. Although I have seen several videos of dry ice blasting paint off of cars, it is something that our company has not done. Rather than start with finished paint on the various external panels of a car, we went straight for the undercarriage.

Our customer owns several beautiful classic cars and he likes to keep them in mint condition. He needed the undercarriages of four classic cars cleaned of tar, grease, loose undercoating body patches, and other grime. The reason he was doing this is so that he could have the undercarriages freshly painted. Previously, he had one car cleaned using manual cleaning methods and it took a total of 100 man hours. One of the beauties of dry ice blast cleaning is that it is a much faster way to clean. Below is a video of his classic car collection.

With a day’s labor, Robin and his crew were able to complete three cars. The three cars dry ice blast cleaned were a 1959 Chevy Impala Convertible, a 1970 Chevy Chevelle Sedan and a 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix. Our customer was very enthused with the results. It would have taken our customer 400 man hours to clean the undercarriage of these four cars. We dry ice blasted three car undercarriages in less than 12 hours. That equates to about one car every four hours. Plus, there are two people working, so it ends up being a total of 8 man hours per car. That is a 92% reduction in cleaning time on the undercarriage of an automobile. Not too bad if you ask me. Look what our customer said below in regards to this.

“The cleaning process removed all tar, grease, undercoating loose body patches, it was ready for paint after this process a saving of 100 hours! Robin and his crew done a great job and I will, on the next job CALL AGAIN!”

The value of the cars we dry ice blast cleaned is in excess of $200k dollars. Our customer was happy with the way we handled them and was amazed with the results of dry ice blast cleaning. Since we have now completed this type of work, we know we can do it again. Dry ice blast cleaning works great on removing grime, paint, tar, weatherproofing and body patches from the undercarriages of vehicles. It also works well on stripping the exterior paint off of vehicles. I really think this could prove to be a great cleaning method for restorers of high value and classic cars. Lastly, some auto body shops could use it as well.

For more information about dry ice blast cleaning, please visit our dry ice blasting web page. If you have any questions or comments, please call (508) 459-7447 or email rtaylor@nitrofreeze.com.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dry Ice Blasting for Paper Mill Equipment

A few weeks ago, several of our employees worked on a dry ice blasting project at a paper mill in New England. This paper mill specializes in filtration products, engineered papers and industrial non-wovens. Employees of this particular paper mill needed to clean several of their paper and filter manufacturing machines. One of these particular machines was a large drier with nine massive rollers. Rather than clean these machines by hand as done in the past, the Cryogenic Institute of New England, Inc. was chosen to clean the machines using its Nitrofreeze® Dry Ice Blasting Service. The plan was to clean three machines in a total of five days. One of these days includes a Saturday due to the New Year’s holiday.

I had the opportunity to go to the paper mill. The first day I went was to help get the equipment there, unload the truck, set-up our dry ice blasting equipment and start blasting the large drier. The first three steps went very smoothly and we started blasting at about 10:15AM. We decided to dry ice blast the two rollers at each end first before blasting the rollers above and in the middle of the machine. Each roller had a different degree of buildup that needed to be removed. In order to clean the rollers properly, we had to keep jogging the entire machine. Overall, it was a complex process, but the results were apparent. The rollers cleaned up very well and in far less time than it would take to do them by hand. Below is a picture of Robin dry ice blasting the roller. You can see the areas that have been cleaned on the roller.

Paper mill equipment is a good application for dry ice blasting. Rather than cleaning by hand with cleansers; dry ice blasting offers a safe, environmentally-friendly and faster way to clean. More surface area can be cleaned in a faster amount of time, reducing machine downtime. Dry ice blast cleaning also takes off contaminants without all the scrubbing which is labor intensive. If you are trying to reduce machine downtime while cleaning and want to be “green”, then dry ice blasting is a great way to clean. Below is a picture of a roller being dry ice blast cleaned. In the picture you can see the dry ice sublimating upon impact. This makes for less cleanup when compared to sand blasting, soda blasting and pressure washing.

If you would like to gain more knowledge about dry ice blasting, please visit our dry ice blasting webpage. We offer dry ice blast cleaning as a service to our customers. If you have an application that requires dry ice blasting, we are happy to come to your site and provide a no-cost assessment. We have completed many dry ice blast projects, but our specialty is heavy industrial equipment. For inquiries relating to dry ice blasting please email info@nitrofreeze.com or call us at (508) 459-7447.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dry Ice Blasting for Vacuum Furnaces

It is amazing how dry ice blasting can be used to clean so many different types of surfaces. This week, we completed a dry ice blasting job at Bodycote Thermal Processing in Worcester, MA. The objective at this facility was to clean the interior of the vacuum furnace before a new coating was applied. The vacuum furnace was to be cleaned using our Nitrofreeze® Dry Ice Blast Cleaning process and then a special coating was to be painted on to protect the chamber. Come watch our dry ice blast cleaning of a vacuum furnace video.

The vacuum furnace had been taken off line and some parts were removed to make cleaning easier. I had the opportunity to take photographs of the vacuum furnace before, during and after dry ice blasting. The furnace was in good shape for its age considering it was manufactured in 1979. Vacuum furnaces are used for brazing, sintering and heat treatment. These furnaces are widely used because air and other gasses are not present, which could cause contamination. Below is a picture of the vacuum furnace that we cleaned.

The door and inner chamber of the vacuum furnace needed to be cleaned. The door had a white residue on it that needed to be dry ice blasted before the new coating was applied. In addition, the inner chamber had the same white residue and a few other types of buildup on it. Below are pictures of the vacuum furnace door and chamber before dry ice blasting.

Dry ice blasting was a great cleaning application for this vacuum furnace. The furnace cleaned up very well and quite easily. We used a larger air compressor that gave us a higher pressure to clean the vacuum furnace at. This made cleaning the furnace much easier than other industrial machines we have cleaned in the past. Below is a photograph of Robin dry ice blast cleaning the door of the vacuum furnace.

After a day’s work, the dry ice blasting job was completed. The results were quite impressive. The residue that needed to be removed was blasted right off. Below are pictures of the vacuum furnace door and chamber after dry ice blasting. Both our customer and our company were highly satisfied with the results. Now, our customer can paint the coating on to the interior of the chamber without worrying about it lifting.

For more information about our Nitrofreeze® Dry Ice Blast Cleaning service, please visit our dry ice blast cleaning web page. If you have any questions or comments about dry ice blast cleaning, please email info@nitrofreeze.com or call us at (508) 459-7447.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Carbon, Retained Austenite and Cryogenic Treatment

All heat treated steels have a certain percentage of retained austenite after heat treatment has been completed. The goal of heat treatment is to convert as much austenite into martensite. Ultimately, martensite is the most desirable crystal form as it is the toughest and strongest form. However, heat treatment does not remove all of the retained austenite from the steel.

Cryogenic treatment of heat treated steels will help improve the overall martensite crystal content in the steel that is treated. By lowering temperatures down to -120°F or below, it is possible to remove the retained austenite from the heat treatment process, while achieving a 100% martensite crystal structure.

As many of you know, steel is made up of carbon and iron. Carbon is the element that enhances wear resistance in steels. The higher the carbon content, the more wear resistant that steel will be. Tool steels such as A2 or D2 are rich in carbon. Cryogenic treatment enhances carbon clusters through the precipitation of eta-carbides. This helps an already wear resistant steel become even more resistant.

It is important to mention that the amount of retained austenite is directly proportional to the amount of carbon found in the chemistry of various steels. For example, a tool steel with a high carbon content will have significantly more retained austenite after heat treatment than a steel with a lower carbon content. A graph below shows the proportionality of retained austenite to carbon.

Therefore, cryogenic treatment will be of great benefit to high carbon steels as it will transform a greater amount of retained austenite while improving the wear resistance. Through the conversion of retained austenite to martensite, the high carbon steels will become more durable and will lack the voids and imperfections that untreated steels will suffer fatigue failures from.

The bottom line is cryogenic treatment will enhance high carbon steels micro-structure significantly while enhancing wear resistance factors. Due to the link between retained austenite and carbon, high carbon steels will benefit considerably more from the crystal structure transformations than steels with less carbon content. For more information, please visit our cryogenic treatment webpage. If you have any questions or comments, please call (508)-459-7447 or email rtaylor@nitrofreeze.com.

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