Why Aircraft Maintenance Technicians and MROs Use Plastic Blast Media on Their Airplane Components

Plastic Blast Media
By optiblast_adm
Propeller Blasting Media Supplier


There are several airplane components that may need to be sandblasted (an original term for media blasting) to remove paint and coatings, depending on the specific maintenance or repair work being carried out. Some of the common airplane components that may require sandblasting include:

  • Landing gear: The landing gear is responsible for supporting the weight of the airplane during takeoff and landing. Blast media may be required to remove old paint, rust, or other surface contaminants from the landing gear components.
  • Engine components: The engines of an airplane are complex mechanical systems that require regular maintenance and repair. Sandblasting may be necessary to remove paint, corrosion, or other surface contaminants from engine components such as the turbine blades, compressor housing, or exhaust system.
  • Fuselage: The fuselage is the main body of the airplane, and it may require blasted media to remove old paint, corrosion, or other surface contaminants.
  • Wings: The wings of an airplane are critical components that provide lift and support during flight. Sandblasting may be necessary to remove paint, corrosion, or other contaminants from the wing surfaces.
  • Propellers: The propellers of an airplane are critical components that provide thrust and control during flight. A blast media product may be necessary to remove paint, corrosion, or other surface contaminants from the propeller blades and hub.

It’s important to note that sand blasting media can potentially damage or degrade certain airplane components, so it should only be performed by qualified professionals with the proper equipment and training. Additionally, there are certain safety precautions that must be taken when performing blast media operations to ensure the safety of the workers and the surrounding environment.

Plastic Blast Media

Now that we know that fuselage, wings, landing gear, engine components, and propellers are all airplane components that require regular maintenance and repair, let’s discuss how plastic blast media is often preferred by aviation MROs (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) to remove old paint, corrosion, or other surface contaminants.

Plastic blast media is often used in the aerospace industry for cleaning and preparing airplane components because it offers several advantages over other types of blasting media.

First, plastic blast media is a soft abrasive, which means it won’t damage delicate or sensitive airplane components. This is especially important for parts that require a high level of precision and accuracy, such as engine blades or electronic components. Unlike traditional blasting media like sand or steel shot, plastic blast media won’t cause pitting or surface damage to the components being cleaned.

Second, plastic blast media is highly versatile and can be customized to meet specific cleaning and surface preparation needs. It comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and hardness levels, which allows it to be used for a wide range of applications, from removing paint and coatings to deburring and smoothing surfaces.

Last, plastic blast media is environmentally friendly and can be recycled, making it a sustainable choice for the aerospace and aviation industry. It produces no hazardous waste or harmful fumes, and it can be reused multiple times before needing to be replaced.

Overall, plastic blast media is an excellent choice for cleaning and preparing airplane components because it is a soft abrasive, versatile, and environmentally friendly, making it an ideal solution for the rigorous demands of the aerospace industry.

Why Opti-Blast Plastic Blast Media for Airplane Component Maintenance?

Mil-Spec Approved Plastic Blast Media

Aviation enthusiasts and both military and corporate MRO teams seek to use Opti-Blast plastic blast media because it has the distinction of being MIL-Spec (Military Specification) approved for Certification Type II, Urea (Type II), and Certification Type V, Acrylic (Type V):

MIL-P-85891(A): For the removal of organic coatings: Plastic media that is used in an abrasive blast operation for the removal of paint and coatings.

MIL-Spec approved blast media is often preferred by MRO facilities for the maintenance of airplane components due to several reasons:

  • Quality and Consistency: MIL-Spec blast media is manufactured to meet specific military standards, ensuring consistent quality and performance. It undergoes rigorous testing and meets strict specifications, guaranteeing a reliable and predictable outcome during the maintenance process.
  • Safety: Safety is of paramount importance in aviation maintenance. MIL-Spec blast media is designed to be non-toxic, non-hazardous, and non-reactive, reducing potential risks to both personnel and the environment. MROs prioritize the use of blast media that minimizes health hazards and ensures safe working conditions.
  • Effective Surface Preparation: Blast media is used to remove paint, corrosion, and other contaminants from airplane components during maintenance. MIL-Spec approved blast media is specifically formulated to provide optimal surface preparation, ensuring proper adhesion of coatings and subsequent repairs. It offers consistent abrasive properties and can achieve the desired surface finish without causing damage to the underlying material.
  • Compatibility: MIL-Spec blast media is carefully selected to be compatible with various aircraft materials, such as aluminum, steel, composites, and other alloys commonly found in airplane components. The media’s composition and hardness are designed to effectively remove contaminants without compromising the integrity of the substrate.
  • Regulatory Compliance: MROs must adhere to stringent regulations and standards set by aviation authorities, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). MIL-Spec blast media, being approved according to military specifications, often aligns with these regulatory requirements. Its use can help MROs demonstrate compliance during inspections and audits.
  • Industry Acceptance: MIL-Spec blast media has gained industry-wide acceptance and is widely used in the aviation sector. Its track record of successful applications in military and commercial aviation has contributed to its reputation and preference among MROs.

While MIL-Spec blast media is often preferred, the specific choice of blast media may vary depending on the MRO’s requirements, the aircraft components being serviced, and the maintenance procedures being performed. MROs carefully consider factors such as the desired surface finish, material compatibility, and regulatory compliance when selecting the most appropriate bead blast media for their specific applications. We at Opti-Blast have developed specialty types of blast media to cater to all needs, including our Opti-Strip A and Opti-Strip G for a propriety blend of soft and hard abrasives, Steel Miracle for a blend of hard abrasives, and Reman for a blend of soft abrasives.

Made in the USA

Overall, our MIL-Spec approval denotes quality, and we carry that through to all our products. Quality is also the reason we manufacture our media blasting abrasives in the United States. No other blast media supplier manufacturers in the US 100%.

Ready to Ship

Not only do we manufacture our own media blast products, but we also control how much materials are needed to meet supply demands. We are proud to have built a balance of supply and demand to have our media blast products available and ready to ship in bulk for fast, on demand order fulfillment. We package our products in standard fiber drums, steel drums, super sacks, and 50 lbs. cardboard boxes.

Reuse and Recycle

Our plastic blast media is also reusable and can be used for many cycles. This adds to the overall value of the blast media and environmental advantages. Opti-Blast goes one step further in partnering with a company that can recycle our plastic blast media. No other blast media manufacturer currently has this capability.

Not already using Opti-Blast blast media supplies? Try a sample, give us a call at 1-800-453-4510 or contact us to discuss how we can fulfill your media blast needs with quality, value, and speed! We are your experts in plastic blast media and abrasive media supplies for the aviation industry and more!

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