An improved suit to be worn by a worker during abrasive blasting has been developed. Denoted an environmentally controlled abrasive-blasting suit (ECAB), it provides comprehensive protection that, heretofore, has been afforded by a set of special under- and over-garments (including a helmet) and a respirator. These garments and the respirator must be donned in a time-consuming "suit-up" procedure before abrasive blasting. After blasting, the worker must not only doff the garments and respirator but must also shower and the garments must be laundered before they are used again. In contrast, donning the ECAB takes less "suit-up" time, there in no need to wear special undergarments inside the ECAB, there is no need for a respirator, it is not necessary to shower after doffing the ECAB, and the suit does not require laundering prior to reuse.
The ECAB (see figure) is an ensemble that forms a closed envelope to isolate the worker from the hazards of the abrasive-blasting environment. The design of the ECAB also reflects a concern for mobility and comfort to increase the worker's endurance. The ensemble includes a helmet, a coverall, detachable gloves, detachable boots, plus detachable hoses and a manifold for supplying and distributing air for both breathing and cooling. The helmet features a transparent visor and disposable blast shields.
The arms and legs of the coverall terminate in special cuffs designed for attachment and detachment of the gloves and boots. A similar provision is made for attachment and detachment of the helmet. The coverall materials are capable of withstanding impacts by abrasive particles that bounce back from the workpiece. The gloves are flexible enough to enable the worker to operate the abrasive-blasting equipment with ease. The boots are soled and sized to accept safety shoes or boots.
All attachment/detachment cuffs include seals to prevent the entry of abrasive particles into the suit. Relief valves allow air to flow out of the suit but resist the inflow of atmospheric air, thereby helping to maintain a slight positive pressure of supplied air within the suit.
The ECAB is designed and built to provide long-term multiple use.
This work was done by Raymond A. Anderson and Robert E. Persson formerly of EG&G Florida, Inc., for Kennedy Space Center.
Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to
the Technology Programs and Commercialization Office
Kennedy Space Center
Refer to KSC-11868