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Sandblasting Nozzle Selection

 Thursday, December 1, 2016

      To read the article please click on the link below:

      Sandblast Nozzle Selection Article

Concrete Surface Preperation

 Friday, November 4, 2016

   To read the article please click on the link below:

   Concrete Surface Prep Article

U.S. Silica to Increase Prices for Silica and Aplite Products

Tuesday, Feburary 9, 2016


   U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. recently announced that its Industrial and Specialty Products business is increasing prices for the majority of its non-contracted silica sand and aplite products used primarily in glass, foundry, paints, coatings, elastomers, chemical, recreation, building products and other applications. The increases are effective with shipments after February 1.

   Price increases will range from 4-6%, depending on the grade. The price increases are being made to support the continued investment the company is making in upgrading its capacity to meet the growing demand for its products and to offset rising production costs.

      For more information, visit

Mike Michaelis talks about the best choice of fillers for seamless flooring systems.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Pros and Cons of Using White Aluminum Oxide:
•    Extreme Hardness and Durability- Best you can get in a clear/white filler (Moh Hardness 9)
•    Wide Range of Particle Size Availability
•    Color Transparency- Will take on the color of whatever system it is in
•    High Cost versus Silica Fillers @ approximately $22 per gallon

Pros and Cons of Using Silica:
•    Good Hardness and Durability- Good enough for most all systems (Moh Hardness=7)
•    Wide Range of Particle Size Availability
•    Color Translucency- Will take on the color of whatever system it is in, but not crystal clear
•    Lowest cost filler @ approximately $3 per gallon
•    Contains Silica, must have warning labels as it can be liberated upon sanding

Pros and Cons of Using Polypropylene/Polywax (Barefoot) or Clear Cut Plastic
•    Low Hardness, Softer Feel on Bare Feet (Moh Hardness=3)
•    Limited Size Ranges
•    Limited Durability- Will be quickly degraded by snow shoveling, car traffic, or heavy foot traffic
•    Color Translucency- Will take on the color of whatever system it is in, but not crystal clear
•    Highest Cost Filler @ approximately $42 per gallon
•    Can be pre-mixed with any coating, then applied with a squeegee or roller without too much settling out of the system.  
•    Can be pre-mixed with clear, one component coatings and applied with pump sprayers if needed (Barefoot #50 only).  Great for paver sealers.  

In summary, if you want the best, use Aluminum Oxide or a combination of Aluminum Oxide and Silica.  If you want a softer feel or have limits with your application equipment, you will have to go to the Barefoot or Clear-Cut, but it probably won’t save you money unless you use much less of it.

 North America to Lead Silica Sand Boom

Wednesday, January 7, 2015*


Uncle Sam may be worried about silica, but North American industry apparently is not, as the region prepares to lead the global growth of silica sand through 2018, according to a new market forecast.

While the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is pushing to drastically lower worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica, North American demand for silica sand is expected to grow faster than any other region's, as the global market marches toward $12.5 billion in value in 2018, according to a new report.

The regional growth, led by the U.S. and Canada, will come mainly from expanded hydraulic fracturing, according to World Industrial Silica Sand, a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland, OH-based industry market research firm.

Construction Boost

Overall, global demand for industrial silica sand is forecast to advance 5.5 percent per year to 291 million metric tons in 2018, the report says.

"Important" silica sand-consuming industries worldwide, such as the building products, glass and foundry sectors, will drive the growth with accelerated construction spending and manufacturing output.

silica consumption report

Global demand for industrial silica sand is expected to increase 5.5 percent per year to 291 million metric tons in 2018, with a forecasted value of $12.5 billion, according to a new report from The Freedonia Group.

Constraining those gains will be efforts to use more recycled glass cullet in glass container manufacturing, according to the report.

Sand Demand

North America can expect particularly rapid gains for the hydraulic fracturing market as horizontal drilling for shale oil and gas resources expand, the report says.

The region's annual growth is projected at 7.3 percent per year through 2018, to a total of 87.1 million metric tons in 2018—up from 61.1 million metric tons in 2013 and 36.5 million metric tons in 2008.

Strong U.S. oilfield activity and increases in the number of fracturing stages per well will contribute to increased demand for sand proppants, according to the report.

Bottled Boost

While the North American market will see the fastest growth, the Asia/Pacific region will lead regional consumption through 2018, driven by the dominant Chinese market, according to the report.

Annual growth is predicted at 6.1 percent per year through 2018, topping out at 138 million metric tons.

"China's massive glass industry—the largest worldwide—will continue to bolster industrial sand consumption for the production of windows, electronic display screens, photovoltaic panels, and other flat glass products," analyst Carolyn Zulandt notes.

China's container glass industry will add a boost, aided by rising production of glass bottles (especially those for alcoholic beverages).

In India, meanwhile, foundry activity will advance at a "healthy pace," leading to increased production of sand molds to manufacture metal castings, the report says.

Silica consumption
© The Freedonia Group

North America is expected to see the fastest increase in silica sand consumption, but Asia/Pacific will still lead in overall demand through 2018, according to The Freedonia Group.

Silica sand will also see strong sales growth in Indonesia through 2018, due to rapid advances in the output of glass products and metal castings coupled with more hydraulic fracturing activity.

Slower Growth

Western Europe is in for an annual gain of 0.9 percent: "modest" growth, says Freedonia, but still a rebound from the declines of 2008 to 2013. Credit goes to recoveries in building construction and manufacturing activity, including a turnaround in flat glass output.

Eastern Europe's consumption, flat from 2008 to 2013, is expected to increase by 3.1 percent annually through 2018, according to the report.

Central and South America and the Africa /Mideast regions are predicted to see annual increases of 2.9 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.

U.S. Safety Concerns

The North America boom comes at the same time that officials are working to reduce exposure to respirable silica particles and increase awareness about silica's health risks.

OSHA silica exposure

In September 2013, OSHA published a proposed rule to slash permissible exposure limits to respirable crystalline silica; those limits have not been updated since 1971.

In September 2013, OSHA published its Proposed Rule on Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica, opening up a flood of opposition from coating manufacturers and trade associations from the construction and demolition industries.

OSHA estimates that its proposed reductions to Permissible Exposure Limits (which haven't been updated for silica since 1971) will save nearly 700 lives and prevent 1,600 new cases of silicosis per year, once the full effects of the rule are realized.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has also released information specifically addressing the hazards associated with silica exposure in hydraulic fracturing work.

*Printed with requested permission from Paintsquare News,


December 21, 2013

AGSCO New Jersey operation expands to serve growing Eastern marketplace. 

AGSCO Corporation ( ), a leading manufacturer, toll blender, and distributor of industrial minerals announces that expansion and relocation of its New Jersey operation to Pine Brook, NJ is complete and ready to serve an expanding customer base. 

Rob Kirschbaum, Vice President, explains “We first expanded into the Eastern Region shortly after World War II, in response to customer requests to locate there.  Since that time, relocations and expansions have allowed us to continue to serve our customers.  Today, because of these same requests and growing business, we have tripled our footprint in this region and look forward to continued growth.” 

Customers interested in placing orders with the expanded AGSCO New Jersey operation at 60 Chapin Road, PO Box 669, Pine Brook, NJ  07058 can call (973)-244-0005 or e-mail at



 World Wide Silica Pricing, Projected for 2014

The silica sand industry in the USA is continuing to be dramatically transformed by the massive increase in the hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells.  As a result, practically all the silica sand plants’ production has been sold out.  The silica sand producers have made large raises in prices for the silica sands.  This means that the cost of our feedstock has increased very substantially.

As a result, we have had to raise the prices of the silica sand that we sell on a world-wide basis.

Harvey Plonsker
President, AGSCO Corp

Central Dust Collection Complicates Multi-Cabinet Systems


Large plants often rely on one central system to pipe compressed air to all air tools and blast equipment, because doing so can be more efficient than operating compressors at several locations within the plant. This example often leads plant engineers to believe that a central dust collector can provide the same efficiencies. The difference: a compressor keeps a large reserve tank pressurized, cycling on only when air demand in the plant takes the reserve below a predetermined pressure; but a dust collector has no vacuum reserve. It must run continuously, whether it’s supporting all the blast cabinets in the plant or just one.

For applications where all the cabinets do not routinely run at once, using dedicated dust collectors for each cabinet reduces energy and media consumption and increases overall efficiency.

When It Causes Problems

The explanation: If the collector is sized to exhaust dust and air from 10 cabinets and only one is running, it will pull too much air through that one cabinet. This can carry good media into the collector and spoil the working mix. In shot peening applications, the inability to maintain the proper working mix can cause wide fluctuations in peening intensity and coverage.

Insufficient inlet openings will leave dust and media to build up in the cabinet sump. An open door in one or more of the other cabinets reduces the amount of air drawn through the operating cabinet(s), thereby reducing the amount of media conveyed from the sump to the reclaimer. And, every time doors open or close on any other cabinet, airflow through the other cabinets will fluctuate, affecting media cleaning.

Having several blast cabinets tied to one dust collector creates other problems as well. (1) Keeping the vacuum properly balanced may require a complex system of baffles, dampers, air make-ups, ductwork, and auxiliary blowers. Keeping everything properly tuned can turn into a full-time job. (2) When the central dust collector needs repair or maintenance, all blasting stops.

When It Does Work

For some applications, a central dust collection system does make sense. If the plant already has a busy blast room with a dust collector, connecting one or two small cabinets to hand the occasional small parts run can increase a plant’s capacity at the cost of the cabinets only. Because the blast room dust collector will draw much more air than the cabinet reclaimers can handle, it’s necessary to install a high-quality damper in the duct work to control the flow of air. If a plant operates several automated or manual cabinets more or less continuously, a central collector can save on the initial purchase, save space, and conserve energy.

A final word of caution – never connect blast equipment to a dust collector serving welding or grinding equipment. Some types of dust from blasting may ignite if exposed to sparks or hot slag particles.


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Helpful Hints: Determining When to Change Wet Blasting Media

by Mike Michaelis, VP

When is Necessary?

 Especially in a wet system, when media fractures and becomes smaller, the particles do not have enough mass to perform any etching or cleaning work.  The following method may be used to determine if wet blasting media is worn out to the point that it must be dumped and new material added to the system.


Cleaning Test Method

·         Take a part that you finish in the system on a regular basis and blast it when the media is new, noting the completion time using your best operator. 

·         Time another part after one, two, and four hours of blasting.  When the time to clean the part increases by 20%, consider dumping the media. 

·         Establish this number of hours as your standard, since labor is much more expensive than the media, this should be your guideline. 

·         Balance this against the time to dump and reset the machine. 

·         Remember that the machine need not be completely clean to introduce new material. 


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Fishing for the best abrasive

From JPCL, March 2011 | Free Product Information

David  Dorrow

Mineral Aggregates Inc.

Back when I was a youthful dad, I took my two young daughters down to the creek behind our house to teach them how to fish. When we opened the tackle box, their jaws dropped as their eyes scanned the many lures neatly spread out on the bottom of the box. Big and small, hard and soft, some lures were heavy, to fish on the bottom, or light, to float on the surface. My girls asked, “Daddy, which one is the best?” With a wink, I said, “They are all the best! It just depends on what fish you’re trying to catch, the day’s conditions, and where you’re going to fish.”

Author with large mouth bass caught with the best lure for the “job” Photos courtesy of the author.

If you asked me a similar question about picking the best abrasive product for a job, I would give a similar answer. “It depends.” It all comes down to project parameters, surface conditions, and your expected outcome. Before selecting the “best” abrasive, you must answer several questions about the surface preparation project.

  • What is the current surface condition: adhering paint, a brittle coating that is peeling, or mill scale?

  • What are the goals and expectations after blasting? For example, is the surface being prepared for a new coating or cleaned to create a uniform visual finish that will be left uncoated?

  • Will the surface profile need to meet the specification for the coating system or is it more important that the abrasive blast at fast cleaning rates?

Before selecting the best abrasive for a project, you must understand the characteristics of abrasives and how they affect the resulting finish. Like fishing lures, abrasives come in many sizes, hardnesses, shapes, and densities. Each abrasive’s characteristics will affect the blast cleaning process and final results.

Particle Size

Fine iron silicate abrasive (copper slag) under magnification

The size of the abrasive particles affects both the productivity and surface profile. Decreasing abrasive particle size can dramatically increase cleaning rate, with more particles impacting the surface per unit time when compared with the use of a coarser abrasive. However, increasing abrasive size may be necessary to remove heavy coatings and scale. The general rule is: “Use the smallest size abrasive particle that will do the job.”

Coarse abrasives generally leave a deeper and less uniform profile than finer abrasives. If a low profile is required, choose a finer abrasive. Conversely, use a coarse abrasive for a heavier profile. The normal tendency is to use a very coarse abrasive because it will knock off the paint, rust, scale, and other debris. But a coarse abrasive sacrifices coverage or cleaning rate. If a smaller abrasive will work just as well, use it because it will greatly increase cleaning rate.


Extra fine staurolite abrasive under magnification

It is generally believed that the harder the abrasive is, the better it will perform. Very hard abrasives, however, tend to shatter on impact, expending most of the energy in particle disintegration and dust generation. A softer abrasive will transmit all of its energy to the surface, clean faster, and minimize dust. Similar to selecting abrasive size, select the minimum abrasive hardness that will effectively do the job. Hard abrasives will remove all coatings and surface contaminants and impart a profile on the surface. Very soft abrasives such as walnut shells and corn cobs are used to remove oil and grease and sometimes paint, leaving the existing substrate intact. In this case, the abrasive should break down on impact, carrying away the contaminants. If the intent is to remove only the coating and not disturb the substrate, use a slightly harder, friable abrasive such as soda ash, dry ice, or plastic pellets.


Productivity test, conducted under third-party guidance, on heavily pitted and rusted steel structure at a steel mill. Round and angular abrasives were tested for productivity and usage.

If the steel surface has a soft, pliable coating to be removed, an angular abrasive will be more productive than a rounded abrasive. Conversely, if the surface has a hard, brittle coating or mill scale, a rounded abrasive is preferred to pop off the coating or scale rather than pick away at it with a grit-like abrasive. An angular abrasive creates an angular and generally not very uniform surface profile. You will get a less angular but more peened surface if you use a rounded particle, such as steel shot or a heavy mineral sand (e.g., staurolite and olivine, which are naturally occurring and low in free silica). Both surfaces are acceptable, but different in appearance. Generally, angular particles work best when removing soft, pliable coatings, whereas shot or rounded particles are more effective in removing hard, brittle coatings (often aged) and mill scale. A mixture of both particle shapes is recommended for some jobs. Angular abrasives are generally used for coatings and rust removal; rounded sands are often used to remove mill scale from bare steel.


Abrasive density can have a major impact on productivity. Generally, the higher the density, the better the productivity. Higher density particles impart more energy to the surface and, therefore, do more work. Application rate is the amount of abrasive required to achieve the level of cleanliness required. Generally, the denser the abrasive, the faster it will clean; thus, the denser abrasive will have a lower application rate compared to a less dense abrasive. As the mass or specific gravity of a particle increases, so does the amount of work being done by the particle. Therefore, if you change from a sand abrasive with a specific gravity of 2 to a garnet abrasive with a specific gravity of 4, you should expect an increase in cleaning rate because the higher specific gravity particle will do more work. If all else is held constant (such as nozzle pressure and particle size), productivity will increase with the garnet.

Preliminary blast cleaning trials using several different abrasive products with different sizes usually can determine the most productive abrasive product for the surface conditions. This is especially true for large surface preparation projects where productivity improvements can translate into huge increases in profits. To perform a productivity test, mark a section of the surface into grids, blast the section, and measure the area cleaned. Calculate the time required to blast the area and the amount of abrasive used. This will give you all the metrics required to calculate your surface preparation costs.

As with fishing lures, most people already think they know their “best” abrasive because they have been using it for years. However, to be a true professional, you must be willing to experiment, change, and adapt to the surrounding conditions. Surface conditions have a major influence on the type, shape, size, density, and hardness of abrasives, and you must to be knowledgeable in the art to pick the best.

And don’t forget: Abrasive blasting and abrasives are subject to regulations for environmental and worker protection. Regardless of the abrasive and cleaning method for a job, you must comply with all relevant regulations.

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HELPFUL HINTS:    Gearing Up for Spring: Pool Surface Prep



Washing your concrete pool is important to remove any existing oil residue. The best washing solution is tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) mixed with warm water. NEVER use a soap-type detergent.

How to Wash Your Pool

Mix eight ounces (0.23 liters) of pool washing compound or tri-sodium phosphate to each gallon (3.78 liters) of warm water. One gallon of this solution will wash approximately 200 square feet (18.5 m2). Dip a long handled brush in this solution and firmly scrub the pool surface in approximately 10 foot sections. Rinse off the residue with clear water immediately after scrubbing. Be careful not to allow the pool washing solution to dry on the surface. Always scrub the walls first and the floor last. The next step is acid etching.

Acid Etching - for Bare Concrete and Plaster

Acid etching is required on bare masonry surfaces like concrete or plaster. It is also effective for removing chalky residue and hard mineral deposits on a previously coated pool. Acid washing opens millions of tiny pores which allow the subsequent coating to penetrate, thus creating a secure cohesive bond. Even on previously coated pools, we heartily recommend an acid wash.

NOTE: To prevent eye Injury, NEVER pour water into acid. ALWAYS pour acid into water and wear protective eyewear.

Mixing the Acid

Mix in a ten percent solution of muriatic acid in water in a plastic bucket. Most muriatic acid is packaged at 20% or 30% strength. One gallon (3.78 liters) of 30% muriatic acid mixed with two gallons (7.5 liters) of water will yield three gallons (11.3 liters) of ten percent solution. Likewise, one gallon of 20% muriatic acid mixed with one gallon of water will yield two gallons of ten percent solution. One gallon of the ten percent solution is sufficient for etching 100 square feet (9.25 m2) of pool surface.

The Etching Procedure

Liberally brush the acid solution on the surface. The acid will bubble on the surface when applied. As soon as this bubbling ceases, rinse the solution off with clear water. The surface should feel like fine sandpaper when properly etched. Splash a small amount of water on the surface to see if it is sufficiently etched. If the water soaks in fairly quickly, the surface is properly etched. If the water stands on the surface, another etching will be required or switch to a stronger acid solution. It is of utmost importance that you wash the pool again after etching. The tri-sodium phosphate in the pool washing solution will neutralize all traces of acid left on the surface after etching.

The suggestions listed here are based on experience in the industry and they do not reflect recommendation for any specific project.

Instructions Courtesy of:  






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