Descaling with abrasive blasters

The task

Cleaning the insides of large storage tanks to remove rust, scale and other impurities after fabrication.

The problem

A large shipbuilding company used to clean out tanks using needle scalers. This operation exposed staff to vibration magnitudes of up to 24 m/s2 often for more than 7 hours a day. Conditions inside the tank were also extremely unpleasant with high noise levels and clouds of dust.

The solution

The needle scalers were replaced with portable vacuum blasting machines which clean the surfaces by blasting them with an abrasive material and then sucking it and any debris away to a holding tank. The operator is exposed to vibration magnitudes below 1 m/s2.

The result

  • A reduction in vibration exposures to below the action value.
  • A large reduction in both noise and dust levels. The vacuum action of the equipment removes dust and debris which previously made the work environment very unpleasant.
  • A smaller team of operators is required to clean the tanks which has led to improved productivity and cost savings.

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