Dry Ice Blasting, how it works to reduce maintenance costs

How to Reduce Operational Costs and get a Superior Maintenance Cleaning Result

When you need to remove contaminants, grime, production by-product, old coatings etc from a surface on a large scale, there are many solutions – and many problems getting a cost effective and superior result.

  • Are you looking for a maintenance cleaning process for your plant and equipment that will cut downtime and free up maintenance staff?
  • Do you need to clean high value equipment – casings, machined surfaces, production moulds, subframes, radiator fins – and concerned about potential damage ?
  • Have you contaminated paint to remove and want to avoid the disposal of large quantities of waste cleaning media?
  • Have you got a cleaning problem where you can’t use wet of abrasive cleaning methods?
  • Are you under pressure to reduce the use of solvents and other toxic cleaning materials?

Dry ice blasting is an advanced cleaning system with a wide range of uses with many benefits:

Reduction in maintenance downtime

  • Dry ice cleaning systems provide on-line maintenance capabilities for production equipment; time-consuming and expensive de-tooling procedures are kept to a minimum.
  • Dedicated cleaning cycles are no longer required; instead schedules can be adopted, which allow for equipment cleaning during production periods or standard maintenance breaks.
  • The natural sublimation of dry ice particles eliminates the cost of collecting the cleaning media for disposal.
  • Containment and collection costs associated with water/grit blasting procedures are eliminated.
  • There is no danger of cleaning media being left in equipment cavities and spaces.

Extension of Equipment’s Useful Life
Unlike sand, walnut shells, plastic beads and other abrasive grit media, dry ice particles are non-abrasive.

Cleaning with dry ice will not wear tooling, texture surfaces, open tolerances, or damage bearings or machinery.

Minimal Surface Damage
Dry ice cleaning can be adjusted for the surface that is being cleaned, from hard baked deposit removal to delicate cleaning of wood and paper.

Dry and non conductive
Dry ice cleaning is a dry process will not damage electrical wiring, motors, controls or switches—in some situations it is possible to clean while power remains on.
Rust formation after cleaning is far less likely with dry ice cleaning than with steam or water blasting.

Non Toxic
Carbon dioxide is a nontoxic element. By replacing toxic chemical processes with dry ice blasting systems, exposure and disposal issues stemming from the use of dangerous chemical cleaning agents can be materially reduced or eliminated completely.  Similarly, problems with runoff and disposal of contaminated cleaning media are also removed

Surface Sanitizer
At -79 degrees, dry ice cleaning is effective for the removal of Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria from stainless steel, ceramic tile and food grade plastic surfaces.

Good for the Environment


How dry Ice Blasting Works
Dry ice blasting is similar in principle to sand blasting using high-density carbon dioxide (dry ice) pellets, propelled onto a surface using compressed air.
It removes contaminants quickly, without leaving cleaning media (e.g. water, sand, chemicals), without any abrasive damage to surfaces, and is dry and safe around electrical equipment.

The cleaning process occurs through the combination of three different effects:
Kinetic Energy is transferred by the accelerated dry ice pellet as it hits the surface during the dry ice cleaning process. The dry ice pellet sublimates upon impact and is softer compared to other cleaning media such as sand, grit, or beads.

Thermal-Shock Effect occurs when cold dry ice pellets (-79 degrees C) strike a much warmer, contaminated surface. The extremely cold temperature of the dry ice causes the bond to weaken between the surface being cleaned and dirt and residue on it.

Thermal-Kinetic Effect combines the impact of sublimation and the rapid heat transfer discussed above. When the dry ice pellet hits the contaminated surface, the vapour expands up to 800 times the volume of the pellet, and so fast that a micro-explosion occurs, taking off dirt and grime in the dry ice cleaning process.

Dry ice blasting in the New Zealand media
DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing Magazine has a piece on dry ice blasting in their November 2012 issue (p34).

The issue can be read online also

Read independent articles and reports about how dry ice blasting benefits equipment maintenance

Currently on our media page:

Reports and articles

  • Reducing maintenance downtime by 60% on packaging machinery
  • Trial using dry ice blasting for shot peening
  • Articles describing effective use of dry ice blasting in food industry
  • Cleaning surface rust from stainless steel
  • Cleaning and de-coating materials for recycling
  • Links to videos

Free information pack; reports, case studies, information sheets.