Dry Ice Blasting Applications

Dry ice blast cleaning applications are available to a multitude of industries offering tremendous value.


In addition to safely and effectively cleaning wiring, and hosing and similar materials, dry ice blasting can reduce or remove the following contaminants from equipment:

  • Spray-on foam insulation
  • Sealants and coatings
  • Carbons
  • Grease
  • Oil


Dry ice blasting can be used in a multitude of ways in the many facits of automotive construction. They include:

1. Assembly Plants

  • Robotics
  • Body panel assembly
  • Manfans
  • Spray booths
  • General maintenance

2. Foundries

  • Coreboxes
  • Permanent molds

3. Rubber and Plasic Molders

  • Tire molds
  • Seats and gasket molds
  • Sealing system molds

4. Engine Remanufacturers

  • Engine blocks and accessories
  • Pistons
  • Coils
  • Cylinder heads
  • Alloy wheels

5. Electronics

  • Sensors and computer components

6. Automotive Interiors - Urethanes and Plastic Molding

  • Fire wall
  • Accoustic mats
  • Dashboards
  • Door panels
  • Seats and carpets


Disaster Recovery

Providing commercial owners the ability to dramatically reduce downtime and, thereby, reduce costs, dry ice blast cleaning is far superior to the cleaning methods typically used - water or soda blasting. This, of course, is of great interest to insurance companies also. Following is a list of how CO2 blasting can be of benefit:

  • Costs related to business interruption can be lessened
  • Length of business interruption can be shortened - quicker cleaning; furniture and equipment doesn't have to be moved
  • Black mold can be eliminated from wood structures
  • Soot and smoke damage can be eliminated from most surfaces

black mold removalblack mold removal - finished



Since dry ice blasting provides a moistureless cleaning, servicing electrical equipment has tremendous advantages. From electric motors, various contaminants can be removed by dry ice cleaning including:

  • Housings
  • Stators
  • Wiring
  • Windings

CO2 blasting can also be used on:

  • Circuit Breakers and Boards
  • Electric Production Equipment
  • Electric Control Cabinets
  • Circuit Breakers and Boards

Electric Motors: Three Methods for Cleaning in Place

1. Pressure washing and/or steam cleaning

  • This method can be successful in thoroughly cleaning electric motor windings in place.
  • This method requires a fairly time consuming process to dry the windings sufficiently.
  • Depending on the size of the windings, it can take days or weeks to thoroughly dry the windings.
  • Care must be taken to not exceed 200 Deg. F when drying out.
  • If the windings are not thoroughly rinsed, the soap residue can serve as a contaminant and cause premature loss of insulation integrity.
  • The washing solution must be disposed of properly.

2. Solvent based cleaning

  • This method also can be successful in thoroughly cleaning electric motor windings in place.
  • The drying time is considerably quicker than the pressure washing method. Sometimes hours.
  • Care must be taken that the person applying the solvent not be overcome by fumes.
  • Care must be taken that others in the vicinity are not adversely effected by solvent fumes.
  • Care must be exercised around rubber products, especially rubber based lead wires.
  • The solvent solution must be disposed of properly. Improper disposal can result in significant environmental consequences.

3. Dry Ice blast cleaning

  • This method is very successful in thoroughly cleaning electric motor windings in place.
  • This method uses pellitized dry ice that is accelerated by a specially designed machine to very high velocity. The dry ice instantly freezes the contaminant and breaks the bond with the substrate. The hyper velocity air removes the dirt and the dry ice instantly sublimates into a gas.
  • There is no drying process required.
  • There are no disposal issues.
  • There is no potential damage to any components.
  • In short, this method is quicker and safer than either of the previous methods.
electric motor rotor - before electric motor rotor - finishedelectric motor rotor - during

2000 HP 13,200 Volt Synchronous Compressor Motor Dry Ice Blast Cleaned:

Before After


Food Processing

Dry ice blasting is excellent in the food processing industry as the grade of CO2 has been approved by the FDA, EPA and USDA. It can be used to clean production equipment:

  • Conveyors
  • Dryers
  • Molds
  • Mixing equipment - uncooked residues
  • Packaging equipment - paper dust
  • Freezers
  • Glue heads - glue residues
  • Ovens - baked on residues
  • Mixing equipment

Dry ice blast cleaning can be used to clean physical plants:

  • Ventilating equipment
  • Electric motors
  • Floors
  • Ceilings
  • Walls
  • Transportation equipment
  • Storage equipment

Advantages for using CO2 blasting include:

  • Molds will not be damaged since dry ice is non-abrasive
  • Effective on both hot and cold surfaces
  • Effective on both plastic and metal surfaces
  • Safe to use around electrical equipment

Confection Mixer - Before  Cleaning Confection Mixer - After



Dry ice blasting has been found to be extremely effective in the foundry industry. Some applications include:

  • Electrical equipment
  • Permanent molds - removes water and silicon-based release agents
  • Coreboxes - removes sand and resin
  • Screen and slot vents
  • Die-casting machines
  • Mixers
  • Hydraulic power units

Advantages include:

  • Cleans both hot and cold surfaces
  • Cleans steel, plastic or aluminum surfaces
  • Cleans permanent molds and coreboxes without damaging their surfaces.


General Maintenance

The variety of applications for dry ice blasting is no clearer than in the general maintenance industry. For example, dry ice can remove some of the following contaminants:

  • Oil
  • Grease
  • Weld slag
  • Overspray
  • Adhesives
  • Petroleum
  • Tar
  • Mold

Some machinery and equipment dry ice blast cleaning can be used on includes:

  • Manfans
  • Tools
  • Assembly lines
  • Extruders
  • Production tools
  • Oven bands
  • Mixers
  • Hoppers
  • Ovens
  • Hydraulic power equipment

Case Study: Xerox Corporation

At their Webster, NY facility with over 10,000 employees, Xerox switched to dry ice blasting from a 1,1,1-trichloroethane and a citrus-based material. Among the benefits achieved were: "Faster cleaning time, lower machine dissembly levels required for cleaning, higher cleaning quality and a more efficient cleaning method, allow for the salvage and reuse of old machines." The on-going annual savings was estimated at $500,000 per year.


Hazardous Waste

The cost of hazardous waste removal can be monumental, and the typical cleaning methods magnify the problem many times over because the cleaning materials -- water, solvents, sand etc. -- become secondary contamination once coming in contact with the primary contaminant. They must be treated as hazardous waste as well. Since CO2 sublimates upon contact with the target surface, no secondary waste accumulates. This can amount to truly tons of savings. The volume of hazardous waste is reduced to minimal amounts, and the return on investment from converting over to dry ice blasting can be attained very, very quickly.

Report: Department of Energy

Supporting this, the DOE's Office of Environmental Management produced a report regarding the Los Alomos National Laboratory. The report presented the case that the facility could achieve a 640% return on investment by converting over to a CO2 blasting system saving over $13,000,000 over the course of a ten year life cycle.

Historic Restoration

In the area of historic restoration, dry ice blast cleaning is extremley effective in cleaning valuable public and private monuments and other works. Dry ice cleaning can do this without damaging the targeted surface, without using chemicals and without any additional waste. Some applications include:

  • Grave Markers
  • Metals
  • Mosaics
  • Murals
  • Stones
  • Statues
  • Metals

Some of the materials Envirotech dry ice blasting systems can clean include:

  • Bronze
  • Cast Iron
  • Ceramic
  • Copper
  • Marble



In the marine industry, Envirotech dry ice blast cleaning systems can be profoundly more effective than traditional cleaning methods such as sandblasting, pressure washing and chemical solvents without the common damage found with these methods.Also, dry ice sanitizes surfaces as it cleans reducing the likelihood of sea slime, algae, mussels and the like reattaching itself onto surfaces.

Our dry ice blasting systems can clean:

  • Aluminum & fiberglass hulls
  • Water intake valves
  • Engines
  • Electrical panels
  • Tanks
  • Exhaust systems


Mass Transit

In the mass transit industry, Envirotech dry ice cleaning systems to clean a variety of surfaces including:

  • Aluminum
  • Plastic
  • Rubber
  • Glass

Dry ice blast cleaning can also clean the following types of machinery:

  • Electric motors
  • Escalators
  • Elevators
  • Rail cars
  • Buses
  • Floors



Some dry ice blast cleaning applications include:

  • Stainless steel containers
  • Reactors
  • Mixers
  • Tablet molds
  • Separators

Some benefits of using dry ice over steam and water-based methods include the following:

  • Elimination of bacteria and micro-organism growths
  • Elimination of safety hazards from cleaning around electrical equipment
  • Elimination of unplanned short-circuits



Envirotech dry ice blast cleaning systems effectively clean:

  • Molds
  • Extruder screws
  • Packaging equipment
  • Mold machines
  • Ovens
  • Mixers

Envirotech systems can reduce or remove:

  • Deflashing
  • Deburring
  • Gloss levels
  • Release agents
  • Product residues
  • Glue from glue heads
  • Outgassing issues
  • Mold damage
  • Hand scrubbing
  • Solvent usage

Solving Plastic Molding Cleaning Problems:

Sand blasting is a standard method of cleaning molds. However, this method results in a number of problems. Following is a list of the most prominent issues:

  • Production shutdown to allow for mold cooling
  • Unbolt, disconnect and remove molds from press
  • Arrange for pickup and transport molds to cleaning site
  • Schedule and perform mold cleaning with grit blast that erodes molds
  • Inspect molds for grit remaining in vents and inspect for wear on mold surfaces
  • Install, align and reconnect molds
  • Bring molds to correct temperature
  • Run trial samples to assure compliance with product quality standards



Dry ice blasting can be used on:

  • Machinery and support equipment
  • Dryers and Drums

The following contaminants can also be reduced or eliminated:

  • Dried ink
  • Coatings
  • Paper dust
  • Spray powders
  • Grease
  • Oil

Printing requires tremendous maintenance, and finding effective solutions for minimizing expenses are extremely valuable. Dry ice blasting can reduce a full day's cleaning job down to an hour's time. It also provides a far more thorough cleaning to other traditional methods thereby increasing machine life for chains and gripper bars, fans and electric motors. In addition, since the presses can be cleaner, their resale value can be considerably greater.


Pulp & Paper

Dry ice blasting can be used on:

  • Paper making machine cleaning
  • Surface preparation



Dry ice blasting can help to eliminate or reduce the following contaminants:

  • Release agents
  • Product residues

There are other major benefits from the dry ice blasting cleaning method. Downtime is dramatically reduced because dry ice easily cleans away common contaminants from molds and also allows for cleaning in place. Mold damage is also reduced because machinery can be cleaned in place. Further, hand scrubbing can be reduced dramatically or even eliminated. Finally, dry ice provides a superior cleaning allowing for a longer machine life.



Applications in the utilities industry include:

  • Padmounted switchgear
  • Generator windings
  • Transformer bushings
  • Substation and line insulators

Dry ice blasting facilitates preventive maintenance planning which is so critical for utility operations. Because traditional cleaning methods can require considerable downtime and can result in inadequate cleaning results, contamination-related power disruptions are extremely common. Dry ice cleaning provides the solution to these issues. Scheduled cleanings can be performed using CIP, with minimal or no downtime and providing a far superior cleaning.

Example: Canadian Electrical Industry

An article addressing Canadian utility companies noted that the Oakville Hydro and Milton Hydro power plants recognized that proactive maintenance would be necessary to avoid eventual failures in equipment. "Unchecked, tracking eventually will lead to a dielectric breakdown and a short circuit will occur, generally causing permanent damage that must be isolated and repaired before electricity supply can be restored. From the linemen's perspective, they may be extremely hesitant to operate a device where tracking is occurring."

Upon switching over to dry ice blasting methods, the article notes the power plants experienced the following benefits to CO2 blasting:

  • Power interruptions to customers can be eliminated.
  • Improved system reliability.
  • Switching is not required, thereby removing the associated safety concerns.
  • There is no necessity for reclamation of grit or solvent containment.
  • Cleaning time is reduced to a minimum.
  • The method can be used throughout the year.