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High Pressure Water Blasting: Cutting Applications

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At Thompson Industrial Services, our automated hydroblasting equipment has been a major focus for some time. The robotic equipment used to position and manipulate hydroblasters, controlled remotely by highly skilled technicians, opens up many doors to more efficient, complete, and versatile cleaning projects. But under extreme pressure and with the addition of an abrasive, water can do even more than that. Today, we’re giving you some insight into our high pressure water blasting application, which is capable of quickly, safely cutting through surfaces that may surprise you.

A precision hydro-cutting project at a Virginia refinery

 High Pressure Water Blasting BenefitsOur technicians use our high pressure water blasting methods to cut through steel and concrete with three main benefits over competing methods:PrecisionThe automated tools that we use to manipulate water blasting equipment are fully customizable, so our technicians are able to build a specific solution for each job’s exact needs. Once the equipment is in place, it cuts with absolute precision. The result is a smooth, straight cut, including a beveled edge for specialized applications. Just take a look at the photo below for an example of the precision work that our automated high pressure water blasting equipment is capable of.SpeedThe project illustrated in the photo below took place at a Virginia refinery. The job took just one hour, a great example of the speed that automation brings to this kind of service. When the cutting phase is this efficient, cleaning jobs can progress more quickly, safety hazards can be mitigated sooner, and downtime can be minimized to get processes back online.SafetyTraditional methods used to cut steel and concrete are unacceptable in sensitive contexts, such as power plants and other areas where potentially flammable debris or vapors are present. The water and the abrasive used in our high pressure water blasting service are environmentally friendly and non-toxic, so there is zero risk to human workers, nearby equipment, and the surrounding ecosystem.Application ExamplesThere is a wide range of contexts in which high pressure water blasting excels. These include cutting through pipe, rebar, and concrete for demolition purposes; cutting through columns and smoke stacks; and creating manways and doorsheets in a variety of settings. For circular holes, our radius and circle cutters offer incredible precision and speed. If an opening cut by our hydroblasting service must later be welded shut again—for instance, after inspection of a tank or reactor—we cut with a beveled edge that reduces door sheet pressure.Our ultra-high pressure water blasting equipment (up to 40K) is powerful enough to cut through up to 3 feet of concrete and rebar, and up to eight inches of steel. The process creates no temperature increase or hot sparks; the only substances used for the application are water and garnet, a fine grade abrasive that our equipment injects into the water stream.The speed of this specialty cutting method is particularly important when our technicians are addressing emergency situations. A Thompson Industrial Services team responding to an urgent service request was able to cut through a chemical plant’s failed vessel an astonishing 24 hours more quickly than competing cutting methods. Although there were flammable vapors in the area during the cutting, there was no risk of explosion with our water blasting approach.Automation: The Future of HydroblastingAfter years of building our automated equipment and applying it to our various hydroblasting services, it is our firm belief that there is no turning back! The superior precision, speed, and safety of our high pressure water blasting projects over hands-on operation are extremely beneficial to our industrial clients, especially when you factor in our ability to completely customize our solutions to match the shape, size, and nature of each job. One thing has not changed, though, despite the dramatic technology improvements: the importance of our technicians’ training, experience, and respect for safety protocols. Even though our team members may be using a remote control instead of holding a hydroblaster, they keep the same careful, safety-conscious approach to our clients’ equipment that has made Thompson Industrial Services a trusted name in our field throughout the United States and abroad.Email us today to learn more about high pressure water blasting and our other powerful, cost-saving services.


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  • Emily Martin
  • Marketing Manager
  • 100 N. Main Street
  • Sumter, SC 29150

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