When using recyclable abrasives it is natural to think that the bigger the abrasive is when it is new the longer it will last as it is recycled and breaks down. This is a true assumption but it comes at a cost, and the cost is productivity. Productivity is expensive and is the worst cost to increase. Remember when you are operating a blasting facility, aside from quality, the most important thing is productivity. You need to achieve the maximum productivity possible out of your facility in order to reduce the per square meter cost. All your fixed costs are already paid for, factory rental, labour, overheads, etc. Whether you produce 1 or 50 square meters per hour of blasted parts these costs are the same and already paid for. Of course variable costs for electricity and abrasive consumption will increase with increased productivity, but the increase in these variable costs is a faction of what is returned by means of higher productivity. So the most important thing is to max out the on the productivity front.
Blasting Abrasive Comparison - Ceramic Beads and Glass Beads.
Ceramic beads and glass beads are available in two types and in practice can easily be substituted for one another. However, though both can be used as blasting beads or peening beads, when used for shot peening care must be exercised to ensure the beads are used according to the peening specification of the job. Ceramic beads have a number of advantages over glass beads, among them a greater toughness and density. The life of ceramic beads exceeds that of glass beads by at least 30 to 1, if not more.
If you are involved in the manufacture or refurbishment of metal components then it is likely their working life can be improved by the mechanical surface treatment of shot peening.
Historically this method has been used since man first worked metal and is named after the most useful of engineering tools, the ball peen hammer. Shot peening simply stated replicates the action of the striking blow of the hand tool by using thousands of small pieces of shot be they metallic, ceramic or other synthetic material and bombard the surface to create a plastic deformation of the component thus increasing it's resistance to wear and potentially increasing the load bearing ability of the peened item.
The surface of all produced metal items have small marks or imperfections such as imperceptible fissures, very small stress induced cracks or simply surface marks. All these surface imperfections can be increased in size by regular cyclic stressing of the affected area which can change the size of minor imperfections.
When an item is shot peened the medium used produces miniscule indentations in the treated area which causes the surface to be plastically reformed and the coverage of the process ensures that a layer forms which will resist the reaction of stressing caused by tensile forces.