SMS invests in UHP blasting unit

Normandie Express at SMS Cherbourg after UHP blasting

Southampton-based SMS has recently invested in new technology, plant and equipment, including an Ultra High Pressure (UHP) blasting unit.

SMS is a specialist in ship repair, marine engineering and major fabrication projects in the commercial marine, defence and superyachts sectors.  Based at Ocean Quay, Southampton, UK, it also builds workboats, under the Bulldog brand, for the marine civils, aquaculture, fisheries and ports and harbours sectors.

The business believes it is unique in delivering all key marine engineering trades in-house, including paint, coatings and hydraulics, where the significant recent investment has been made to support future growth of the business.

Ultra high pressure (UHP) blasting uses highly pressurized water (40,000 psi) to remove a coating or contaminant from a substrate. The team at SMS believe UHP has distinct advantages over other methods of surface preparation. Environmental concerns are reduced as no dust is created by the water blasting process making it easier to contain, meaning less residual risk to the owner or operator because contaminants do not become airborne and blasters are not subject to lung injuries, such as silicosis.  Water blasting also excels around sensitive equipment and large intakes where grit could get into moving parts possibly shutting down a compressor or turbine.  It is also the preferred method on projects where large amounts of abrasives must be collected and disposed of.

Dave Foster, paint and coatings manager at SMS, says, “USP has other advantages too, cleaner blasted surfaces than those using traditional solid abrasive methods, residual chlorides being removed, resulting in higher adhesion of the coating and longer coating life, volume of waste is greatly reduced as lead will not mix with water, allowing operators the option of filtering lead paint chips and other contaminants so the residual water can then be treated in most sewer treatment facilities after this filtration”.

He added, “As a department we are finding that many clients prefer this method of removing old coatings. However, blasting units are expensive to rent. As we now own the machine we are exceptionally competitive with other specialised contractors within this industry. Having a machine to use at our disposal, on short notice, makes us cheaper and quicker.  The unit is also towable so we can easily transport the unit to any of our sites across the UK, or further afield.”

SMS confirms that investment in technology, plant and equipment will continue as the business strives to establish itself as the ship repairer of choice in the UK.

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