Are cheaper abrasives worth the risk?

In 2013, a contractor was awarded a project involving surface preparation and paint work on a lead rail bridge near Nambour in Queensland.    

The contractor was under pressure to reduce costs and had identified a possible area of cost savings via the use of cheaper abrasives. Several abrasive suppliers were contacted to offer their range of abrasives and quotations without consideration of abrasive performance.

Although there are some initial cost savings in using cheaper abrasives, the Blast-One technical team outlined that a clean surface is essential to maximise the life span of a paint coating.

A detailed technical trial and discussion with the site project managers also revealed that the overall project cost for coatings is AUD$2 million. It was clear to the contractor that a mere savings of AUD$1360 from using cheaper abrasives pale in comparison to a AUD$2 million coating project, a risk that can be easily avoided. 

Based on these findings, the contractor selected GMA Garnet abrasive for its quality, efficiency and lower consumption per square metre, which translates to cost savings with less garnet abrasive being used,  as well as lower labour, energy and disposal costs. 

By Mark Woodford, Blastech

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