These shots referred to here do not have to do with firearms or drinks. Instead, we are referring to “polishing” shots or more professionally known as shot blasts. This process of shot blasting involves the blasting of shots (abrasives) at given targets (steel and other metal products). That simply means that shot blasting refers to a system or equipment made in such a way that abrasives (which vary with their material component) are continually fired at the surface of steel or metal products. These abrasives are fired at high velocity. This is not done to damage the material. Instead, if done properly, the use of shots should be able to increase the lifespan of metal products considerably.
How the Shots Matter
These shots are fired to remove particles from the surface of steel and metal products. This process leads to the removal of a layer of the surface. This leads to a matte texture or color. This, however, is advantageous as it causes closer adhesiveness between any coating used at a later time and shinning procedure eventually carried out on the metal product or construct.
This use of shots also tends to make the surface more compact. This would increase the toughness of the surface, it would also reduce the risk of damage to the surface (scratches) brought about by negligible impact. That simply means that the material would be more difficult to damage or deface by scratching.
Types of Shot
These shots or abrasives come in various forms. There are different materials from which these abrasive materials or shots can be made. A few of the more common shots or abrasive materials include:
- Glass beads
- Sodium bicarbonate and other synthetic materials.
- Steel grits
- Aluminum pellets
- Silica sand
- Copper shots and many more
The only major drawbacks of using shots are that, first, the noise generated during the process can be unbearable to many and require operators to protect their auditory senses (using earbuds).
Second, the materials being dislodged from the surface could contain toxic materials that could be hazardous to workers such as Lead (Pb) and even silica sand. Silica sand, in particular, can lead to breathing complications, silicosis, and even lung cancer. But with proper preparation with earplugs, nose masks, and face masks, these dangers are reduced if not done away with.
After the purchase of the shot blasting machines, a training program for the expectant operators of the machine will be carried out. This is done to reduce risks and avoidable accidents from occurring.
So we can see that shots are extremely important in steel polishing during the steel manufacturing process. The most important reason for this is that the life span of the steel or any metal product is increased and impurities on the surface are expelled. This results in a tougher surface. Another major reason is that it makes the coating and coloring process easier. So a shot whether it is in a wheel blast machine, a sandblaster or even a bead blaster is extremely important in the metal manufacturing industry.