A Look at the Different Types of Blasting Machinery

Blasting machines are designed to propel abrasive media toward the surface of a workpiece at high speeds. This process can result in a smoother or more textured surface, which improves the workability of the workpiece in downstream processing operations and/or enhances the performance of the workpiece in its intended application.

There are many types of blasting equipment available, each of which has distinct characteristics that make it suitable for different surface preparation or finishing projects. Below, we provide an overview of the different types to serves as a helpful guide for readers.

Types of Blasting Machines

Some of the most commonly used types of blasting machines are air blasting equipment, ice blasting equipment, shot blast equipment, slurry blasting equipment, and wheel blast equipment.

Air Blasting Equipment

Air blasting equipment uses compressed air to push abrasive media through the blasting nozzle toward the workpiece at high speeds. The result is forceful but controlled impact, which removes material from the surface and causes deformation on the surface, depending on the type of media used.

The types of air blasting machines available include:

  • Air blast cabinets
  • Automated air blasting equipment
  • Blast rooms
  • Portable air blast equipment

Ice Blasting Equipment

Ice blasting equipment can be classified into two main categories: wet ice blasting machines and dry ice blasting machines. Wet ice blasting equipment uses compressed air to propel wet ice (i.e., regular ice), while dry ice blasting equipment uses compressed air to propel dry ice. Both are utilized to remove surface contaminants and/or excess material from the surface of a workpiece.

Shot Blast Equipment


Shot blasting equipment employs spherically shaped particles to remove dirt, rust, and other surface contaminants from a workpiece. It can also be used to prepare the surface of the workpiece for other operations, such as coating or painting.

Slurry Blasting Equipment

Slurry blasting equipment utilizes a mixture of abrasives and pressurized water. This combination is ideal for cleaning and preparing surfaces when dust must be contained or eliminated or other blast media would damage the surface.

The types of slurry blasting machines available include:

  • Slurry blasting cabinets
  • Automated slurry blast systems
  • Portable slurry blasting equipment

Wheel Blast Equipment

Wheel blast equipment uses a rotating bladed wheel rather than compressed air to propel abrasive media onto the workpiece. The resulting surface finish depends on the size, shape, density, and velocity of the abrasive.

The types of wheel blasting machines available include:

  • Tumble blasters
  • Table blasters
  • Wire mesh belt blasters
  • Spinner hangers
  • Pipe blast systems
  • Roller conveyor blast systems
  • Monorail wheel blast systems

Wet Blasting vs. Dry Blasting Equipment

As indicated in the ice blasting section, blasting operations can be categorized as wet or dry. Both types carry unique advantages and disadvantages that make them suitable for different projects.

Advantages of wet blasting machines include:

  • They generate less dust than dry blasting machines.
  • They require less abrasive than dry blasting machines.
  • They strip and clean the surface at the same time.
  • They carry a lower risk of explosion.

Disadvantages of wet blasting machines include:

  • They consume a significant amount of water.
  • They produce mist which can reduce visibility.
  • They come at higher price points and cost more to run.
  • They generate waste that is heavy and hard to remove.

Advantages of dry blasting machines include:

  • They come at lower price points and cost less to run.
  • They accommodate a broader range of blast nozzle sizes.
  • They generate waste that is lighter and easier to remove.

Disadvantages of dry blasting machines include:

  • They produce more dust than wet blasting machines.
  • They carry a higher risk of explosion.

Understanding these advantages and disadvantages is critical to choosing the right blasting machine for your project.

Blasting Machinery From Dawson-Macdonald Co., Inc.

Want to learn more about the different types of blasting machinery? Ask the experts at Dawson-Macdonald Co., Inc. We are the oldest and largest distributor of surface preparation equipment, including blasting machines, in the northeast. Our team can answer or address any questions or concerns you may have about these products.

Need a blasting machine for your facility? We’ve got you covered. Request a quote to discuss your equipment needs with one of our representatives.

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