Feature: More power, more portability, and more applications

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Graco’s EcoQuip 2 vapour abrasive blasting equipment eliminates up to 92% of airborne particles while achieving removal rates comparable to traditional dry blasting. New models extend its capabilities and application range

To prepare a surface for effective corrosion protection, sandblasting is a commonly used technique. However, the major disadvantage of sandblasting is the vast quantity of dust produced. Apart from the health and safety issues of clouds of dust – not only for the operators but people in the immediate vicinity – dust disposal is costly. The cost and disposal of the abrasive also has to be taken into account. Graco has been concerned with these issues for a number of years and has developed a revolutionary alternative to sandblasting: vapour abrasive blasting with EcoQuip.
What is vapour abrasive blasting?
The difference between vapour abrasive blasting and sandblasting is the use of water. There’s nothing new about wet abrasive blasting; it’s been around since 1941. However, the process was never perfected. Graco has taken an existing technology and greatly improved it.
Graco’s new developments in wet and vapour abrasive blast technologies include increasing production rates to decrease water consumption; optimising the air, water and media ratio for optimal performance; and achieving the same profile compared to traditional blasting methods.
In a nutshell, Graco’s approach to vapour abrasive blasting involves adding water simultaneously with the abrasive media in a pressure pot. The abrasive becomes suspended in water, and the mixture is then projected at high velocity by a forceful flow of compressed air.
By encapsulating each blast particle with water, extra weight is added to the media which enlarges the impact of the blast media on the substrate. In addition, the removal and feathering of the material goes smoother and less media is used. The water reduces splash back and traps the dust being produced.
Introducing EcoQuip
Graco’s vapour abrasive blast equipment is sold under the name EcoQuip. It provides a performance equivalent to sandblasting but with 92% less dust, thus minimising the need for PPE, tenting and containment, and decreasing environmental impact. It uses up to 75% less blast media and far less water than wet blasting, and creates little run-off, thus there is no large slurry mess to clean-up and dispose. It’s effective in rain and high humidity, and efficiently removes coatings without damaging the sub-surface. The bottom line is that EcoQuip reduces project costs while increasing the speed, efficiency and productivity of blasting.
Less dust: it’s proven
EcoQuip’s reduced dust production has been proved by a three-day study conducted in 2014 by Applied Environmental Sciences, Inc. It compared airborne particulate concentrations produced by vapour abrasive blasting versus dry abrasive blasting.
Over the course of the three days, multiple air samples were collected in the vicinity of the Graco EcoQuip EQ 300S vapour abrasive blasting machine and a commonly used competitor’s dry blasting machine. The study was designed to collect triplicate airborne dust samples during multiple, randomly ordered runs using all possible combinations of the two abrasive blasting machines, three different blasting media (garnet, glass bead and coal slag) and one blasting target (a steel plate). Samples were submitted to an accredited laboratory for analysis of total airborne particulate concentrations.
The results show that average airborne particulate concentrations were lower when using the EcoQuip vapour abrasive blasting equipment than those produced by the competitor’s dry blasting equipment. In the case of garnet and coal slag blasting media, reductions in weight of total airborne particulates generated were 91% and 92% respectively, compared to the competitor’s machine. When using the glass bead abrasive medium, the EcoQuip yielded a 71% reduction in airborne dust. These numbers support the claim that a substantial portion of the cloud observed when using the EcoQuip equipment is, in fact, water mist.
A step up: EcoQuip 2
Graco’s new EcoQuip 2 range includes more models to extend the ease of use, overall power and application range. It can be used for concrete repair, coating removal, steel surface preparation and graffiti removal. The versatility of EcoQuip 2 means it’s easy to switch from one application to another. It is designed to accept any media heavier than water and has a blast rating of up to 12 bar (175 PSI). With EcoQuip 2, contractors are no longer limited to just one or two types of jobs. For example, instead of focusing solely on steel surface preparation, a contractor can now expand his business into the concrete repair or restoration market using the same equipment.
EcoQuip 2 EQm is a compact entry-level unit. The built-in hand truck with over-sized wheels makes the EQm easy to move around the job site. This compact blaster is capable of handling any type of project, from cleaning to surface preparation.
Fits in the bed of most standard pickup trucks
Blast pressure ranging from 1.7-12.1 bar (25-175 PSI)
Oversized wheels for easy portability
Pot size of 100 L (3.5 cubic ft) – holds approximately (8) 25 kg (55 lb) bags of media

EcoQuip 2 EQs is a high production, entry-level skid unit designed to tackle most typical blasting projects. The EQs is built according to extremely strict standards and can be stacked safely on a platform or a ship deck.
Entry-level skid with same performance as higher production units
Fits inside a 6 ft truck bed for easy transport
Coated crash frame and enclosure
185 L (6.5 cubic ft) pot – holds approximately (16) 25 kg (55 lb) bags of media

EcoQuip 2 EQs elite is Graco’s high production, fully loaded system. Equipped with a stainless steel crash frame and enclosure, hose rack, step, media strainer, water dose valve and a media shelf, this fully loaded system makes it simple to set up and use.
Fits inside a 6 ft truck bed for easy transport
Built to work in the toughest work conditions
Crash frame supports 5x lift rating of machine
185 L (6.5 cubic ft) pot – holds approximately (16) 25 kg (55 lb) bags of media

EcoQuip 2 EQs2 elite operates on a single compressor with two nozzles to double your production rate, thereby improving the cost-effectiveness of major jobs. You no longer have to bring two separate skid units to the job.
Two 185 L (6.5 cubic ft) blast pots, two 15 m (50 ft) Graco blast hoses, two #8 HP nozzles, two electric or pneumatic blast controls
Water dose valve, step, media shelf, hose rack, air inlet filter/ball valve and media strainer kit
Stainless steel crash frame and enclosure

EcoQuip 2 Portable (EQp) is lightweight (99 kg) and therefore easy to take from one surface preparation job to another. It still packs the necessary power for any small to medium sized job. It can blast up to 10.5 bar and can handle most of what a 10.5 m³/min compressor delivers. It’s also optimized to work well with a 5.2 m³/min compressor and blasts for up to 90 minutes between refills.
Portability: weighs only 99.8 kg and is easily transported on a cart with lift handles
Low water usage (only 0.5 – 1 l/min) means less mess
Works with coarse, fine or non-destructive media
Fast removal rates compared to other cleaning methods: blast pressures up 10.5 bar
Blasts for up to 90 minutes between refills and holds approximately (4) 25 kg bags of media
EcoQuip 2 in practice
Originally established as a marine engineering company in 1924, Malakoff Limited is now the leading engineering and fabrication contractor in the Shetland Islands, a subarctic archipelago belonging to Scotland. Based in Lerwick, Shetland, Malakoff provides a comprehensive range of services for the oil & gas, utilities and renewables sectors.
Malakoff recently completed the blasting and painting of the hull – both above and below the waterline – of the whitefish trawler FV Devotion. This 22.85m long, 7m beam vessel was originally constructed in 1993 from larch on oak. Due to its wooden construction, conventional sand blasting was not possible, but thanks to the vapour blasting of EcoQuip 2, the entire hull could be stripped back to bare wood with no damage.
The Graco EcoQuip 2 vapour blaster was purchased from Fluid Technologies Ltd at the end of 2016 and has proved an invaluable asset to the Malakoff blasting service. It has enabled Malakoff to add a new service to its capabilities: the complete removal of foul from wooden hulled vessels, a process that has been traditionally difficult and uneconomic. The flexibility of the EcoQuip 2 also allowed it to be used to blast the steel sheathing for a complete finish.

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