Mobile Sandblasting

The Pros and Cons of Mobile vs Fixed Location Sandblasting

Jordan Treloar Sandblasting Services

Do you want to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of surface preparation for your project? Then, Commercial Sandblasting is the best solution!

Sandblasting is an abrasive surface finishing process that cleans or coarsens surfaces using a high-powered stream of abrasive material sprayed via compressed air. Traditionally, sandblasting was done at a fixed blasting facility, which required transporting the structures to be blasted. However, mobile sandblasting units now allow the blasting equipment and crew to come to the work site, providing significant advantages.

Introduction to Mobile Sandblasting 

Mobile sandblasting refers to equipment mounted on trucks, trailers, or wheeled units that can be easily moved to the structure’s location that need abrasive blasting. This allows the surface preparation or finishing to be carried out directly on-site by a mobile sandblaster without disassembling and transporting the structures.

The global market for mobile sandblasters is expected to grow from USD 540 million in 2022 to USD 796.6 million in 2029, according to the 2024 New Survey.

The portability and flexibility of mobile units have made this an attractive and cost-effective option across various industries like construction, infrastructure maintenance, oil and gas, marine, aviation, energy, and more.

Key Benefits of Mobile Sandblasting

Some of the major advantages of using mobile sandblasting instead of fixed location blasting include:

1. Eliminates Transportation and Dismantling

One of the most significant benefits is doing away with the need to transport the structures to a blasting facility. Fixed sandblasting requires dismantling the structures into movable parts, loading them onto trucks, and then unloading and reassembling them after blasting. This takes enormous effort, heavy machinery, time, and cost.

In contrast, mobile sandblasting units can simply be driven to even the largest structures wherever they are located, eliminating dismantling and transportation needs. As long as the site is accessible by road, massive structures like oil rigs, ships, storage tanks, etc., can be blasted in situ.

2. Enables In-Situ Processing 

Since the sandblasting unit comes to the object, it enables abrasive blasting on installed structures that cannot be disassembled, such as pipelines, tank interiors, walls, ceilings, offshore platforms, wind turbines, and more. This avoids downtime and production losses while allowing essential maintenance.

3. Accessibility to Challenging Locations

Certain structures, like shipyards, docks, storage tanks, etc., may not be easily accessible by road. Transporting them to a fixed blasting facility can be difficult. However, portable sandblasting units can access such sites much more quickly. The units are compact enough to maneuver into tight spaces.

4. Cost Savings

By removing the expense of transportation, disassembly, material handling, and reinstallation, mobile sandblasting provides massive cost reductions. Job setup costs are lower, and operating costs are reduced through multi-site processing. Less capital investment is needed as well, relative to a fixed facility.

5. Enhance Safety

Safety is a major concern during abrasive blasting. However, dismantling large structures makes handling risky, and reassembly can affect structural integrity. Mobile blasting retains the supports and constraints of structures and applies the blast media safely.

6. Better Quality Control

The same trained crew handles the job from start to finish with mobile blasting. Familiarity with the asset allows them to customize and control the process for optimal results. Consistent process monitoring ensures quality. The owner’s team can also inspect the work on-site.

Limitations of Mobile Sandblasting

While mobile sandblasting has many advantages, there are some limitations:

  • Requires trained and certified blasting crews to operate the equipment safely onsite.
  • Weather conditions, terrain, and site access issues can restrict mobility.
  • Proper coordination is needed for multi-step projects involving repairs and coatings after blasting.
  • Permits and certifications are often required to access job sites.
  • Logistical challenges in accessing all areas of very large assets without cranes or scaffolding.
  • Cost benefits are contingent on location proximity and the scale of the project.

Introduction to Fixed Sandblasting

Sandblasting uses compressed air to blast a high-velocity stream of abrasive material onto a hard surface. This serves to clean, roughen, or shape the surface as desired. 

Traditionally, sandblasting is carried out at a fixed blasting facility or workshop that houses the needed infrastructure permanently. The blasted parts or structures must be transported to this facility. After blasting, the items are returned to their original site or reassembled. The fixed location allows a dedicated setup of equipment, containment, and waste collection systems.

Key Benefits of Fixed Sandblasting

Fixed sandblasting facilities offer some key advantages:

1. Consistent Quality

Fixed facilities develop specialised expertise and regularly maintain repeatable processes by blasting similar structures. Workers get extensive experience handling the dedicated equipment. Standard operating procedures can be strictly implemented to ensure consistent finish quality.

2. Specialised Equipment

Fixed blast shops invest in specialised equipment tailored to their workload, like custom blast rooms, dust collection systems, industrial compressors, overhead cranes, etc. This dedicated equipment is not easily implemented in makeshift mobile settings. 

3. Dedicated Infrastructure

Fixed facilities have permanent infrastructure like blast chambers, lighting, ventilation, dust collection systems, material storage, and containment areas. This infrastructure is designed specifically for abrasive blasting to ensure quality and safety.

4. Capacity and Efficiency

Repeatedly handling similar jobs, fixed blast facilities can optimise their processes for maximum efficiency. Their capacity can be flexed by adding additional shifts. Permanent facilities also enable the recovery and reuse of abrasive media.

Limitation of Fixed Sandblasting

However, fixed sandblasting also has some drawbacks:

  • Transportation logistics and costs to move structures to and from the facility.
  • Limited ability to handle very large or immovable structures.
  • Production downtime and inefficiencies during disassembly, transport, and reinstallation.
  • Risk of damage to structures during dismantling and handling transport.

When is Mobile Sandblasting Most Beneficial?

While fixed location sandblasting may work better for new structural steel that requires blasting and coating before being delivered to a construction site for installation, mobile blasting provides maximal advantages when:

  • The mobile sandblaster processes existing structures that are impossible to disassemble and transport.
  • Structures are located in sites with difficult access, like ships, offshore platforms, etc.
  • Blasting maintenance needs to be done periodically without affecting asset operation.
  • There are multiple small structures or assets clustered in proximity needing blasting.
  • Fast project turnaround and minimum downtime are critical.
  • Enhanced safety and quality control are required during blasting.

However, if you are thinking of mobile sandblasting, hiring a professional such as ProStrip Sandblasting becomes essential.


Mobile sandblasting is a versatile technology that offers substantial benefits like avoiding transportation, enabling on-site in-situ processing, improved access, lower costs, faster turnaround, better quality control, and safety.

Its advantages have made it an essential industrial process for surface preparation across construction, infrastructure, energy, oil and gas, marine, aviation, and other sectors dealing with large fixed structures. With trained operators, mobile sandblasting provides a flexible, efficient, cost-effective solution for challenging abrasive blasting needs.