Western Construction Group Uses Multi-Media Blasting Equipment to Restore Fire-Damaged Freezer

Customer required that no pressurized water be used and no dust created during clean up

Finding the best solution for your customer’s needs can be extremely challenging at times. Sometimes finding the answer to a difficult project requires thinking outside of the box – a strategy that not only helps the customer solve their problem, but also solidifies your expertise with the customer and differentiates your business from the competition.

Recently, Western Construction Group’s Little Rock, Arkansas branch was approached by a food processing plant in the region to restore a fire-damaged, 3,000-square-foot concrete freezer area at their facility. The freezer’s precast walls and overhead double tees were scorched and spalled and exhibited areas of exposed, burned and rusted rebar.

The emergency restoration project came with many challenges as the customer was in the food processing industry and needed the large, fire-damaged freezer to be back in service as quickly as possible as it was vital to their operation. The customer also prohibited the use of any pressurized water or chemicals during the clean up, and any dust created during the project had to be completely controlled to prevent contaminating ongoing food processing in the facility.

The scope of the work included:

1. Cleaning the soot off the freezer’s walls and ceiling

2. Making needed repairs to any concrete damaged by the fire

In the past, Western would have used heavy chemicals and a lot of pressure washing on such a job, which would have required extended time to clean up. The burned out area in this case was interior and the client could not allow water to enter any drains. Traditional sand blasting also created extreme dust and was very difficult to control, so crews would not have been able to use traditional sand blasting equipment in this case as food production was continuing in adjacent areas.

Since traditional concrete cleaning methods could not be used on this particular project, Western Construction Group’s experts went out in search of new technology to meet the demands of the client. Western’s experts determined that using micro-blasting equipment, plus an air scrubber, would provide the solution they were looking for.

The micro-blasting equipment proved to be extremely versatile and easy to use. Sold internationally and used on historical preservation projects throughout the world, to remove graffiti from a variety of urban surfaces, and to refurbish glass and other delicate surfaces, this unique equipment is ahead of its time technologically.

This micro-blasting technology can be used for a wide range of services from:

1. Limestone/sandstone cleaning

2. Metal cleaning and restoration

3. Micro-blasting equipment uses a combination of fine blasting materials and low pressure settings for soft stone and wood cleaning

4. More abrasive materials and high pressure settings are used for concrete cleaning and metal surface preparation.

Following a day of training on the equipment provided by the manufacturer, Western crews were able to mount the machine in the area under their work zones and move around freely with boom lifts to access all vertical and horizontal areas on the project. Use of the micro-blasting equipment also allowed Western crews to have control over the amount of pressure and consistency of the media material used, therefore minimizing flying dust. Western used a large, portable air scrubber in the center of the room to remove any escaping dust.

In addition to having to clean and prep concrete surfaces, crews were also able to use the multi-media blasting equipment to prep spalled areas and rusted rebar on the concrete ceiling and walls for necessary rebar protection and surface patching.

Western used two workers to operate the micro-blasting equipment and monitor the work progress within the space suite and two on the ground to monitor the air and sand feed. The project was successfully completed in just 22 days.

If you have a restoration project in the Little Rock area and would like more information about this branch’s services, please contact Robert Young, Little Rock Branch Manager at 501-455-5311.

Close up of re-bar after cleaning

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Cleaned area

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Before and after cleaning with micro-blasting equipment

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Shows the before of the overhead double T and the wall to the right after cleaning

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Cleaned and patched

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Darker area shows “before” micro-blasting cleaning

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Darker area shows “before” micro-blasting cleaning

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Side by side, before and after visual

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