Mind to Market: Blast Ninja Quiet Blasting Nozzle
From aerodynamics research in the lab to new industry standard
Abrasive blasting is an extremely effective tool utilized across a wide range of industries, including extensive use throughout the United States Armed Forces. Used for stripping paint and surface coatings, or for fouling/deposition removal, it is an essential part of the maintenance of ships, vehicles, and equipment.
However, abrasive blasting nozzle design is rudimentary, and noise levels produced during operations in shipyards, maintenance facilities, and factories often exceed exposure limits put in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), leading to widespread hearing loss.
For the Department of Defense, reducing a worker’s occupational noise exposure is imperative, from both safety and economic perspectives. Oceanit worked with support from the U.S Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) Auditory Neuroscience & Performance Program to tackle this longstanding and complex problem.
Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) due to occupational exposure is a significant risk for blast operators, despite the use of hearing protection and limits on duration of exposure. Noise complaints can also narrow operating windows, limiting productivity.
In abrasive blasting, noise levels consistently exceed 115dBA, at which the maximum safe exposure time just 15 minutes per day. To reduce noise exposure and gain more productive time, OSHA dictates that noise must be reduced at the source. Improving conditions for blasters requires a quieter nozzle, without sacrificing productivity and efficiency.
Oceanit engineers built on years of aero-acoustic research for jet engine noise reduction to design a revolutionary abrasive blast nozzle, the Blast Ninja™ Quiet Nozzle. Unique internal design geometries reduce nozzle air exit velocity while maintaining particle velocity, thereby reducing noise at the source, yet maintaining blasting production. The Blast Ninja Quiet Nozzle reduces sound energy produced by 50% or more versus regular nozzles.
Oceanit’s nozzle design achieved up to 17 dB in noise reduction with the proprietary noise-reducing technology in Blast Ninja. Compared to industry standard nozzles, Blast Ninja had up to a 26% improvement in productivity in tests with garnet and steel shot. Blast Ninja nozzles can meet OSHA’s noise safety standard that allows up to four hours of exposure for blasters — a vast improvement on the typical 15-minute exposure limit.
Oceanit’s Blast Ninja nozzle is now available for purchase and is fast becoming a new industry standard for the abrasive blasting industry. Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard currently use Blast Ninja in their operations to protect operators. While the long-term impacts of reduced workforce injuries and long-term hearing preservation is incalculable, Blast Ninja will surely have an impact in reducing the $1.1 billion annual cost for VA disability benefits.
To read more about the Mind to Market process that took Blast Ninja from government project to new industry standard, see the full story here.