Wire brushes are a relatively useful solution in the metalworking industry, especially for weld spatter, paint, and corrosion removal. However, there are readily available wire brush alternatives that are delivering superior performance and improved worker safety.
The use of rotating brushes, which are composed of fine wire bristles that project from a metal wheel attached to an electric drill, back stand, or bench motor, is commonplace for industrial tasks, such as cleaning rusty metal or removing paint.
The disadvantages of wire bristles.
Despite offering reasonable levels of performance, the use of wire brushes in these applications puts workers at a significant risk because individual bristles are prone to breaking off during the process. These stray bristles then become airborne and can be easily embedded into the operator’s eyes or other body parts at a high speed. Case reports have been published in medical journals about penetrating eye injuries caused by rotating wire brushes. Outcomes range from mild discomfort to serious and lasting eye damage. It is also not uncommon for operators to find wires embedded in their clothing, which can also cause injuries once they have left work.
Beyond potential projectile injury, the use of wire brushes also contributes to operator fatigue because the user is required to exert a constant, even pressure to achieve the desired finish result.
What can you do to ensure the safety of your workers?
3M has developed a broad line of molded bristle brushes and discs that can significantly diminish safety risk, while simultaneously improving performance. The Scotch-Brite™ Radial Bristle Brushes and Discs are abrasive-filled molded products with a unique feature of 3M™ Cubitron™ II Abrasive Grain that allows them to outperform in many general-purpose wire brush applications.
How are bristle discs and brushes good alternatives to wire?
- Prevent injuries: the molded bristle construction offers many benefits, particularly when it comes to worker safety. In the event of break-off, soft bristles cannot penetrate the eyes or skin, even at a high rate of speed. Appropriate PPE, such as eyewear and gloves, should always be worn.
Durable yet flexible, the patented brush bristle design cleans the surface with a constant supply of a ceramic abrasive mineral that reduces the pressure required and lessens the risk of operator fatigue.
- Ease of use: the physical properties of a radial bristle brush system make it suited to a broader range of applications and material substrates than wire brush alternatives. Designed to resist gumming and loading, the brushes work quickly on both soft and hard metals to produce a consistent finish.
- Better performance: Performance testing shows that radial bristle brushes cut faster and more efficiently than wire solutions. They are more efficient at delivering repeatable results due to their predictable wear pattern. On materials such as mild carbon steel, they outperform .014 mil wire brushes by as much as 10 to 1 in cut rate testing.
Work more efficiently and effectively.
To significantly improve worker safety, while enjoying enhanced productivity and performance levels, it may be time to eliminate the risks of using wire brushes completely and switch to Scotch-Brite™ Radial Brushes or Discs.
Request a demo and contact a 3M™ Scotch-Brite™ Abrasives representative to learn more about 3M’s Scotch-Brite™ Abrasives or call 1-800-364-3577 for more information.
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