Indigo Dry Ice Gear has opened two locations that provide full-service automobile and truck dry ice blasting to provide a deep clean refurbishing of your vehicle. To prep a vehicle and to understand the tools needed, let us review the setup needed to get into this unique cleaning tool.
Dry ice blasting works in three ways, the kinetic energy of the dry ice pellets accelerated by high pressure compressed air striking the surface dislodges dirt and debris. Second, the thermal effect cleaning action. The freezing cold dry ice, which is -109F, hitting the surface lowers the temperatures of different materials releasing surface tension and generating further cleaning action. Finally, the impact causes the dry ice pellets to convert back to a gas, which is called sublimation. All the energy that went into creating a solid from a gas is released in an instant, and this explosive effect is a force multiplier of cleaning action, adding a lot of force to the cleaning action.
To get this done, you the dry ice blast pellets, compressed air, a dry ice blasting machine and a car lift.
First, you need to have the ability to blast dry ice pellets and we use two different machines that provide us with the power and the precision that this deep cleaning requires.
For heavy-duty cleaning, the wheels and area of the vehicle that are the dirtiest, which is the wheel wells and the undercarriage, we use a full pellet, full pressure machine setup using an Aero 40FP machine from Cold Jet. This machine can blast at up to 250PSI, well over what we use for blasting these surfaces. This gives us a setup that is fast, powerful yet still controllable and precise enough to avoid any damage to the vehicle components in these areas that might be affected by very cold media and/or very high air pressure.
For more delicate areas, we have another machine that offers us a lot more control in blasting. This is the PCS 60 machine from Cold Jet, which is their new cutting edge digital high performance Aero2 line of equipment. This machine digitally controls the air pressure, the amount of media being used in blasting, expressed as pounds of dry ice per minute, and it also allows us to control the size of the pellets themselves. Dry ice blasting pellets are all approximately 3mm in size.
The PCS 60 can cut those particles into pieces as small as 0.3mm, which is very small and thus more delicate. The PCS 60 also comes with a smaller blast hose option, called the precision kit, that makes for a precise delicate blasting for areas of cleaning such as the motor that has electronics, electrical, and other more delicate parts that react poorly to high pressure full pellet cleaning. This machine is great for cleaning combustion engines and electrical motors and related components on vehicles.
Also required is a good means to access all areas of the vehicle for safe, easy reach. Using a hydraulic car lift, we can raise the vehicle to a working height that allows us a comfortable platform to reach above the vehicle at ground level and then advance to the sides and underneath the vehicle.
To provide the blasting power to run the machines and perform the work, an air compressor is required. We usually specify at least a 375cfm machine that can provide 150PSI as a minimum requirement for this work, but it’s possible to work with a small air compressor and lower PSI, although this will affect your speed and effectiveness at times.
Finally, you need the dry ice blasting pellets, which are sourced at various locations and typically come in 500-pound insulated totes. Consult your internet for suppliers in your area.
A thorough cleaning of the motor requires starting at the ground level and cleaning the motor and compartment from under the hood and working down, taking care to not damage control boxes, delicate plastic components or wiring harnesses. The radiator cannot be cleaned by dry ice blasting except by using delicate block dry ice blasting, if you need more information on that option please click here. Radiatorcleaningdryice.com. Once the top portions are cleaned, the vehicle is lifted, and the motor can be completed by blasting from the bottom. The sides of the compartment and firewall are also blasted during this process. This is the job for the precision kit of the PCS 60 machine, which allows us to control pressure and pellet size as well as flow rate at the blast gun controls to vary the settings throughout the process to achieve speed and efficient cleaning without damage.
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A final note is the types of things that dry ice blasting will not remove. In addition to the aforementioned firmly adhered underbody coatings, it will definitely not remove corrosion or rust present on any of the metal surfaces. Dry ice blasting is a non-abrasive blast method, so there is not damage to metal surfaces or profiling of the metal, therefore it will not remove rust. In addition, it will not remove paint on your component parts, unless that paint is already failing, in which case the loose and peeling paint portions will be removed. Please consult with your cleaning technician for more information in these cases.
After final inspection and touch up of any areas that have been cleaned, we offer a line of clear wax or black wax undercoating protection for vehicle owners who want this protection. This is usually an option for people with older collector cars or trucks that have some rust already and they want to minimize the spread of this to preserve the life of the vehicle. On modern vehicles, rust is uncommon within the first three or four years, depending on mileage, climate, location, and other environmental factors (salt/brine exposure being the most common).
Indigo Blasting & Painting offers a comprehensive vehicle cleaning service at our Central Ohio location, where we can service all automobiles and light trucks up to 10,000 pounds. Indigo has been in business since 2000, we are fully licensed and insured, we are dry ice blasting experts with extensive capabilities with all the different dry ice blasting systems to perform all jobs. You can trust us with your vehicles.