Another common occurrence is when the elevator’s diverter plate (or shed plate) has worn away and rather than abrasive being thrown over to the upper reclaim system, it falls back down the elevator housing, slowly wearing away the housing (Images 3 and 4). This is often an area of high wear and should be monitored regularly.
Lastly, and in my consideration, most importantly to the safety of those working in the shop area, is the dust collection ducting. The warm air from the blasting process being pulled by the dust collector naturally heats the ductwork. All too often, however, abrasive and abrasive dust will build up in the ductwork and collect on the bottom of the ducting. This can occur when the airflow is being “choked off” somewhere in the system and not allowing the dust collector to pull at its full capacity. This can be a major safety hazard! Abrasive can build to the point of weighing down the ductwork and falling. It is vital to keep the ducting clean for this reason as well as the efficiency of the dust collection system. On the thermal imagery, abrasive buildup will manifest as dark or cold spots on the otherwise warm bottom of the ducting (image 5).
These are just a few ways in which thermal imaging can be utilized to create a more efficient blast operation.
I would love to hear if and how you have used the technology in your blasting operation.
Written by chris prouty, Contributing Editor for MFN and Technical Advisor at Winoa