Where Expertise Leads.
What led to the invention of vapor blasting were serious health and safety issues in dry abrasive and wet blasting. Dry blasting puts workers and the environment at risk from toxic dust such as beryllium and crystalline silica. Wet blasting (slurry) techniques secure a wet ring apparatus to the end of a blast nozzle to allow water to flow into a stream of ultra-high pressure air and abrasive with little control over water flow or air pressure. Like dry blasting, wet jetting can tear up thin surfaces. Wet blasting also leaves surfaces drenched with water and wet abrasive that requires extensive cleaning. Other health concerns included high risk of death and injury caused by hard to control high pressure blasting hoses and equipment.
Industry push for safer, more compliant and less messy surface preparation equipment, along with the increasing costs of abrasive media, sparked the eventual development of Wet Abrasive Vapor Blasting (WAVB) in the 1990s.
In the 2000s, MND came to America in the form of the Farrow systems. I was engaged to developed their portable design, which were subsequently acquired by ReadyArc.
In 2007, I acquired the Gulf Coast Territory of Farrow Systems, an early developer of wet abrasive technologies. As an integral part of product development, I was responsible for inventing much of the basic technology underlying wet abrasive industry today. Although the original machines were built in my shop, the Farrow machine design did not meet my personal standards because it experienced several operating issues that negatively impacted performance in the field.
Subsequently GreenerBlast, GeoBlast and other brands of machines entered into the market after the breakup of Farrow. Among these, the best known are GeoBlast and EcoQuip which copied my early design (and sold machines built in my shop) and were acquired by Graco in 2010. Throughout most of the 2000s, numerous big buyers of the operationally inadequate machines have turned to me to repair and reconfigure equipment (which had become “boat anchors”) to salvage their investment and enable use of the machines. While this retrofit gave buyers usable, more reliable equipment, the result was far from the precision equipment I envisioned. I gained a reputation for expertise and innovation in design. Flatteringly, Graco twice approached me to join their design team.
Others, including Schmidt, Lafayette, Begno and others began incorporating my retrofit designs in their machines, including the addition of pinch valves, auto air valve innovation, and getting rid of finicky diaphragm valves. I continued to service, repair, retrofit and upgrade these machines to provide custom solutions for dissatisfied machine owners.
Finally, I acquired the rights to CleanerBlast and the freedom to fully investigate, test and integrate major design changes. Backed by a broad understanding of the industry, unsurpassed knowledge of vapor blasting techniques and application and a committed team of seasoned experts in vapor blast machine design, my team at CleanerBlast sets about the task of providing a machine designed to provide many years of trouble-free service life.
Milestones we met during development included compatibility with a wide range of common abrasives, enabling the use of low-pressure compressed air and a very small amount of fresh water, 80-90% better efficiencies, increased operator safety, better mobility, affordable price points, more accessible parts and service, easier maintenance, more user-friendly blast settings, simplified maintenance, and eliminating the need for special media, parts or hardware.
Our emphasis on precision engineering, quality craftsmanship and technological leadership led to further improvements that began to place our CleanerBlast machines in a class all its own as our ongoing research, development and thousands of hours spent tweaking configurations, testing new components and revising designs eventually resulted in the invention of our Wet Abrasive Surface Preparation (WASP) equipment to dramatically improve the end-user’s vapor blasting experience.
Since 2012, we’ve sold over 175 units to over 35 high-profile and Fortune 100 clients. Along the way, continuous innovation backed by extensive field testing, customization and operator feedback resulted in seven subsequent generations of precision machines decades ahead of the competition in terms of reliability, productivity, convenience and practicality.
I don't sell machines engineered for obsolescence. I design, build and sell the best, most reliable, high performance equipment - period. I use sourceable components wherever I can (I see no point in designing machines that increase revenue by forcing the sale of replacement parts & hoses). I prefer to innovate machine configurations to avoid wear, to design new components when it makes sense, and create solutions where obstacles had existed before.
While pleased that our customers are well-satisfied with our state of the art surface preparation machines, I make it a point to never “sit on my laurels” in terms of machine design. Each new generation of CleanerBlast machine surpasses he previious one as the best model on the market. Constant innovation focused on better blasting is what makes a CleanerBlast a CleanerBlast.
- Jerry Fenley