Centrifugal Wheels

Definition - What does Centrifugal Wheels mean?

Centrifugal wheels are found in blast cleaning equipment where an abrasive material is propelled by the wheel using a controlled centrifugal force. These wheels pick up and hurl abrasive at high speeds onto steel plates or shapes. Generally a metallic abrasive such as steel shot or grit is used in wheel blast equipment.

Centrifugal wheels are used for:

  • Cleaning
  • Deflashing
  • Rust and scale removal
  • Anchor pattern creation
  • Peening
  • Coating removal

It is also known as an airless blasting operation because no propellant (gas or liquid) is used.

Corrosionpedia explains Centrifugal Wheels

In a centrifugal wheel machine the abrasive is thrown from a rotating, bladed wheel onto the parts to be blasted. The diameter of the blast wheel and its speed determine the media velocity.

The abrasive media and the desired result will determine the size of the wheel blast machine and the number of wheels. The blasting machine must be properly configured and sized. This enables shorter cycle times and ultimately delivers a higher production rate.

The surface preparation industry uses both nozzles and centrifugal wheels for blasting, but centrifugal wheels are more efficient than blast nozzles. For example, air blast nozzles (3/8” diameter at 60 psi) propelling metallic abrasive typically discharge 10% of the blast media propelled by a centrifugal blast wheel (15” diameter wheel, 20 HP motor). Shot blasting with a centrifugal wheel uses only 12% of the energy required to perform the same work with sanding nozzles. On the other hand, blast nozzles can handle both ferrous and non-ferrous media whereas centrifugal wheels can only propel ferrous blast media.


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