Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 - The Year of a Clean Recovery

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe it's a new year, and it's the beginning of a new decade. But for many of us, we're not too sad to see the door smack 2009 on its way out. After all, 2009 will be viewed for years to come as one of the most devastating financial and economic years in modern American history. The impact was felt by all - both individuals and businesses alike.

And yet, as tough a year as 2009 was, it has made a lot of us better and wiser. If you're still in business in 2010 it's because you did things right long before 2009, and were in a better position to weather the storm. And because of that, you're also better prepared to make 2010 an outstanding comeback year.

At Cold Jet, we have simply continued providing the best environmentally friendly cleaning solutions around. And in tough times, industry relies on the most effective and efficient systems to get them through.

We thank you, our customers, for the trust you place in our technology and we are happy to provide a key solution for many industries' challenges. From the challenges of processing equipment decontamination in the food industry to micro-cleaning and part finishing of precision instruments in the medical industry, companies around the world relied on Cold Jet to help them make it efficiently through 2009. And we honor that trust by continuing to develop exciting new products that eliminate toxic wastes from cleaning processes while delivering a more complete clean than previously available.

Through our continued cleaning and dry ice production technology enhancements, as well as our new industry leading customer and contractor support tools, we are ready to help all industries make 2010 the most efficient, effective, and environmentally clean year yet. Stay tuned - we have a lot in store for 2010.

Together, we can make 2010 the year of a Clean Recovery.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Real ROI

ROI. ROI. ROI. There, I've said my day's requirement of "ROIs".

ROI, or Return On Investment, is today's hot business buzz word - as it should be in the economic climate we all find ourselves in. Business meetings are ablaze with discussions of allowable and appropriate investments and their returns.

But these same discussions most often come up way short when considering the return on investment for capital purchases, or other "unsexy" subjects such as labor costs or scrap rates or the cost of production downtime. Nope, it's much more hip to talk about the return on the latest marketing campaign, commercial, or new product release.

ROI Redux

But the reason these other important ROI topics are overlooked, in addition to their unsexiness, is a basic historical misrepresentation of what capital "ROI" truly is. If you asked a hundred people what Return on Investment means to them when they're evaluating a capital purchase, most will respond with a simple, and common, answer: "ROI means how long it will take for this to pay for itself."

And therein lies the problem. While payback period is one piece of ROI, it is far from being the most important. And yet for many it is the only thing they think about. The true value and motivation in ROI shouldn't be about "When will I get my money back." It should be about "How much profit will it make me and how soon?" The payback period of an ROI will always be there - whenever you do decide to move forward. In other words, a 3 month ROI payback period will ALWAYS be a 3 month payback period. Under that perspective there's no incentive or motivation to move forward in a time of tight capital.

The Elephant in the Room

But Payback period is NOT what ROI is all about. No, ROI is all about PROFIT, and making more of it sooner. ROI is about how much it is costing me to NOT do it and how much more money I'll make the sooner I move forward. It's this simple difference in perspective that differentiates those who will make it through tough economic times and those who won't. This isn't rocket science, it's very simple math - and Business 101.

The $100 Bill Analogy

If I told you I'd give you a $100 Bill each day for the rest of your life, when would it most benefit you in 2009 to start taking my money? Today or 6 months from now? If you said 6 months from now, well, you have bigger needs than my money can solve. If you said you'd like to start today, knowing that you'll get more money in 2009 the sooner you start collecting $100 a day, then you get it. You'll make more money in 2009 the sooner you start making more money. Pretty simple logic really.

Adding a Payback Period

So, now I'll change my offer to you a bit. I'll still give you a $100 bill each day, but only after you first give me $3000 to "buy in" (no this is not a Ponzi scheme - it's just an analogy!). You're not sure you want to spend the $3000 right away because it will take 30 days for my offer to pay for itself. So maybe things will be better in 3 months and you can better afford it then. After all you think, a 30-day ROI will be a 30-day ROI in 3 months, right? Wrong! Yes, the 30-day payback period will always be 30-days - but remember that's old-school ROI thinking. By waiting 90 days to start, you will be forfeiting $9000 in real earnings in 2009 simply by waiting. A costly decision.

Putting it in Capital Terms

So, now let's look at this in the realm of real capital expenditure levels. Let's say, for the purposes of easy math, I'm looking at a capital expense of $30K that shows an ROI with a 3 month payback period. Let's also assume there are exactly 9 months left in 2009. I could push that purchase back all year based on the fact that I don't want to spend $30K right now. But if I don't spend it, my management would have every reason to fire me. Confusing? Not really.

The problem is, we're programmed to think about things the "safe" (i.e. wrong) way. But my management isn't paying me to be stupid. No, they're paying me to understand that I'm ALREADY spending $10K a month on this same activity (hence the 3 month payback of $30K), which means I have a choice to make: Spend $30K on capital, or spend another $90K this year by doing nothing. Which means: doing nothing is going to cost my business $60,000 over the remaining 9 months of 2009 - while spending $30K on capital will be the equivalent of gaining $60K in revenue.

That's an average of about $220 of revenue each day for the remainder of 2009 that I'm throwing away just by waiting. And had I made this decision in January, not the end of March, I would be making $320 each day. So every day I wait is compounding the loss of revenue. Now it makes sense why management would be justified in ushering me into the ranks of the unemployed!

The time is Now

When looking at capital purchases the common logic has been that it doesn't hurt to wait. But with items with proven ROI, that logic is flawed and quite simply incorrect. Add to that the 2009 Stimulus Plan incentives for capital expenditures and it can be well argued that putting off a capital expense with a proven ROI is practicing fiscal negligence.

Connecting the Dots

So, how does this tie in to dry ice cleaning? Obviously it does, or else I wouldn't be writing it here. In many cleaning applications, dry ice blasting has an amazing ROI with payback periods less than 3 months. And that doesn't even consider the many other environmental benefits of dry ice blast cleaning. Since adding money to your bottom line is critically important for survival in 2009, then it's important to look at dry ice blasting today.

As any good business manager would say: How much of my money are you wasting by NOT moving forward with that?

Now that's the Real ROI question.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Taking a Bite out of Unsafe Food

"Food is an important part of a balanced diet."
~Fran Lebowitz

All joking aside, Fran Lebowitz is right - you can't have a balanced diet without actually eating food.

But over the course of the last year, consumers have become ever-increasingly wary (fearful may be a better word) of the safety of our food supply. From E. coli scares in fresh produce and meat products to tainted milk products to the current peanut product Salmonella tragedies, food producers are coming under more scrutiny and will most likely be placed under more regulation and monitoring.

While this will hopefully protect the consumer, it also presents real and significant burdens to food processing and packing facilities to ensure the safety of the products they deliver.

And nothing is more important to food safety, in the processing and packaging realm, than cleanliness - of both machines and facilities. As we've seen, failure to meet these challenges can be catastrophic both to consumers and to the businesses and their corporate leaders.

Don't just clean - decontaminate

So how can food processors ensure that when they clean, they Really clean?

Well, according to a recently uncovered independent report (finalized in 2004) made to the Food Standards Agency in the UK, one method of cleaning has proven exceptionally effective in cleaning food processing equipment and effectively decontaminating food processing areas and equipment of Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria.

That method is dry ice blasting.

Authored by Dr. Ian Millar, Microchem Bioscience Limited, this 114 page detailed and technical report (download report) discusses the effectiveness of dry ice blasting in decontaminating various food grade surfaces, including stainless steel, ceramic tiles, and food grade plastics and plastic surface coatings. For the purposes of his testing, Dr. Miller used Cold Jet dry ice blasting equipment. Per his report:
The Cold Jet dry ice blasting process effectively decontaminated surfaces of Salmonella enteritidis, Escherichia coli, and Listeria monocytogenes such that these microorganisms were not detectable using conventional microbiological methods after a defined dry ice blasting treatment. Decreases in target bacterial populations by a factor of 10,000 or more were obtained, and that this was due to the combined application of dry ice pellets and compressed air was shown experimentally.

The Cold Jet system has been shown to be effective in cleaning and disinfecting various food grade surfaces. It has a distinct advantage over conventional cleaning and disinfection techniques in that there are no chemical residues left behind after treatment, and no chemical wastes to treat and dispose of.

In other words, dry ice blasting rocks when it comes to cleaning food processing equipment and facilities.

Do it for Love

"There is no love sincerer than the love of food."
~George Bernard Shaw


So if you're in the business of bringing the love of food alive for people across the globe - don't take a chance on killing them with love!

On this Valentine's day make your commitment to keep your facilities as clean as they can possibly be using a method that's proven and effective (and environmentally sound): dry ice blast cleaning. We will all be glad you did.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why Buying Now Makes More Sense than Ever

Contrary to what you might think - it can make more sense to buy capital equipment right now than to wait till 2009.

I recently returned from the Graph Expo show in Chicago (great town, by the way!) and one key underlying theme hit me. To re-use a 1992 catch-phrase: It's the Economy stupid! I saw this underlying theme demonstrated in several ways.

Let's take a look:

1. Cost Cutting
Attendance at the show appeared lighter than in years past. Why might that be? In a down economy, companies are generally looking to cut costs, not spend more. Since most of the exposition is about equipment and services, it only makes sense that if companies aren't looking to spend in 2008, they wouldn't be attending a sales related show - at least not in force.

2. Efficiencies
Of those who were at the show, it seemed the majority were talking about finding ways to grow their business while cutting costs. In other words, how could they become more productive and more efficient in what they are doing, without breaking the bank. Or what technologies could they use to do what they need cheaper, faster and better.

3. Environmentalness
I don't even know if that's a word (it is now!), but the basics are this: Almost everyone who is anyone at the show was talking about or displaying something "green". Let's face facts: companies in the printing and packaging industries are coming under more scrutiny and regulation for their hazardous waste output. From scrap materials, to toxic inks, cleaning solvents and VOCs, printing and packaging companies have cleanup costs and regulations that are quickly turning into nightmares. How does this relate to the economy? Simple: the less waste and cleanup, the less cost and overhead.

So with the Economy on everyone's mind, how does this message pertain to dry ice blast cleaning in a positive way? I thought you'd never ask.

Let's look at the themes discussed above, in reverse order:

3. Environmentalness
Dry ice blast cleaning, simply stated, removes waste and VOCs from the cleaning process. It's green, it creates no secondary waste, and you don't run foul of regulations on VOCs because, well, you don't use any. Why make a horrendous hazardous mess that you have to clean up when you don't need to? There's a reason why so many companies consider dry ice blasting to be part of their "LEAN" diet.

2. Efficiencies
It's not rocket science (it's printing science): if you can clean faster, better and in place without disassembling your equipment, and eliminate the secondary waste clean up as well, then your efficiency and productivity will skyrocket (maybe that is "rocket" science). Your equipment has more uptime, lasts longer, and you make more product - which means more revenue and profit. That's what efficiencies are all about.

1. Cost Cutting
So, now you're thinking: "OK, everything else is great but it costs money to purchase equipment to get these savings and I want to wait till 2009 to spend money." Well, maybe a few actual numbers will make you realize this isn't necessarily the right move. What if I told you you could realize complete ROI by the end of 2008 if you purchase now in 2008?

Not possible? It can be, thanks to the US Economic Stimulus Package of 2008. With the additional Section 179 expansion and the available 50% Bonus Depreciation, many companies see their overall cost of aquistion reduced by an amazing amount - but only if they aquire equipment by December 31, 2008. In 2009 it will cost you a LOT more. In addition, a capital lease can be had for as little as $299/month, and still qualify for the tax savings advantages.

You may be able to see results like Tyco Electronics who originally thought their ROI would take up to 18 months and instead saw a complete ROI in only 30 days. And of course that means every month after that they're increasing profits more and more. Now that something to believe in.

So... It is all about the Economy. And if you hurry, you can help your bottom line right now. There will be no better time EVER to move to dry ice blast cleaning. Don't wait - January 1, 2009 will be here soon, and then it will be too late.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Saving Green while Staying Green

aka: understanding the US Economic Stimulus Act of 2008

[Keywords: saving money, dry ice blasting]

What would you do if you learned that going green in 2008 could save you a lot of money – both up front and over the long run?

If I told you that you could replace environmentally damaging or inefficient processes with an environmentally friendly process that would outperform anything you've seen before, have an impressive ROI, save you a lot of money, fit within your lean manufacturing initiatives and currently will cost you less than it ever has, or may ever in the future – would I have your interest?

Even if being green isn't important for your business yet, I'll bet putting a lot of money back into your cash flow is very important to you. Want to hear more?

Let's start with saving some big time bucks...

Every year around tax time, when I owned my own business, there was only one thing I looked forward to: being able to deduct the full cost of some of my capital expenses thanks to the IRS Section 179 deduction. Under the provisions of Sec 179, as a qualifying small business I could take the full cost of the equipment immediately, rather than taking it over a 5-7 year depreciation cycle.

While my purchases were always made because I thought they would either help me make more money or save money anyway - the Section 179 deduction always made me feel extra good. It's as though what I purchased was on sale - and a good one at that. For me it was like a 40% savings.

How so? Well, the Sec 179 deduction lets you deduct the full cost ($1 for $1) of the equipment from taxable income/revenue. So, a $10,000 purchase reduced my taxable income by $10,000 - and saved me about $4000 in taxes. That's more cash flow, in my pocket, immediately. It's one of the few places you can truly point to where the IRS puts its money where its mouth is and says "Invest in your business and we'll help it make sense for you."

2008 – a Year like no other

So this is great you say - and you already knew about Sec 179 deductions. So what's different now?

Well, as part of the US Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, the limit on Section 179 has been significantly increased from $128K of capital expenditures to $250K. That is huge! And the threshold for being able to take Sec 179 deductions has been raised from $510K of capital expenditures to $800K. That means many more companies can take advantage of these deductions, and at a higher level - to the tune of $122,000. That's not chicken feed (nothing personal against chicken feed of course).

If you are a business that spends $250K on capital expenditures, this provision alone could potentially add $48,000 to your cash flow for 2008.

What could you do with an additional $48,000 this year? My bet is quite a lot.

And a 50% Bonus for everyone!

But the IRS didn't stop with small businesses this year. They have also reinstated, for 2008, the 50% Bonus accelerated depreciation on ALL qualifying capital expenditures for businesses of any size. That means that even if you spend $1,000,000 on capital expenses 2008 will still be an especially good year for you.

The 50% Bonus depreciation is simple: you get to deduct 50% of the cost of the expense upfront, in 2008, in addition to taking its normal first year depreciation (on the remaining amount).

While not a full 100% like the Section 179 deduction this can still add up to quite a bit. And what's even better is that if you qualify you can take BOTH the Sec 179 deduction AND the 50% Bonus on your overall capital expenses.

One simple example

Okay, there's no such thing as a simple example – especially not when it's filled with lots of numbers and dollar signs. But let's give it a try anyway.

Let's say you spend $750,000 on capital expenses. And, just to make the math easy, let's also say that $750K has a 5 year depreciation schedule (which would be $150K per year).
  • In 2007, your allowable deduction for this expense would have been $150K.
  • In 2008, your allowable deduction for this expense could be $550K – or, $400K more.
At a 40% tax rate you'd be talking about $160,000 back in your pocket. I think that sounds like a tremendous deal – what about you?

Check the math

So, for those who want to see the nightmarish details (or are closet accountants), here's a look at how the math on this example plays out.

In 2007, you didn't qualify for a Sec 179 deduction because your overall expenses were in excess of the $510K threshold with a reduced (i.e. zero allowable) cap at $638K (you add the $510 threshold to the $128K deduction amount to get this number) - so all you could deduct was the standard 1st year of the 5 year depreciation for that $750K expense – which is $150K.

For 2008 however, you can deduct $250K under Sec 179 since your $750K in purchases was within the new $800K threshold. You can also deduct $250k (50% of the remaining $500K) thanks to the 50% Bonus depreciation AND you can deduct your normal first year deduction – which is $50K (20% of that remaining $250K). So your total 2008 deduction would be $550K.

Don't take my word for it... Really

So how does this apply to you and your business?

Well, you'll need to talk to your own accountant or tax professional to figure the real details out as they apply to you. I obviously can't offer tax or legal advice - and this blog isn't intended to serve that purpose.

But needless to say you SHOULD go talk to your tax professional now about this. To not take advantage of this would be, well, silly. And you wouldn't be in business, or reading this blog, if you were silly.

Where's the Green?

So I'm sure you're wondering by now: Where's the Green tie-in you promised (and I mean environmental, not cash!)?

That's simple actually. According to the US EPA, one of the most direct avenues towards environmental friendliness in business today is implementation of lean manufacturing process improvements.

In fact, the EPA believes in this so much that it devotes an entire section of its website, with a wealth of information, to lean manufacturing.

Lean manufacturing is all about eliminating waste. Not just material waste, but process waste and eliminating inefficiencies.

While this can be environmentally friendly, it's also in the end about good business practices that have real bottom-line cost savings attached.

In other words: being Green, while going lean can actually save you money. So much for the theory that being "environmental" would cost you money.

Bringing it all around

This blog is about dry ice blasting, so you had to know I'd get around to bringing all these topics together.

Again, it's simple really:

  • Dry ice blasting is a green technology that can be part of a lean manufacturing environment.
  • Dry ice blasting has already shown in many industries that it can eliminate waste (both material and process, time and resource) and can have an ROI of as little as 3 months – and that's before the new tax incentives.
  • Dry ice blasting equipment also qualifies as capital expenditure. As you've seen above, the IRS has made 2008 the best year ever to invest in capital equipment.
  • Dry ice blasting is good business.
And now it's the best year ever to invest in dry ice blasting equipment that helps you go green, be lean and get clean.

No excuses left

With all the advantages this year, you could realize an immediate ROI on dry ice blasting equipment, from day one.

Even the IRS and the EPA agree (and that's like the sun, moon and stars all being in alignment – don't expect it to happen again for a thousand years). And now they're giving you every reason to implement smart technologies like dry ice blasting.

In fact, it's as close to being free as it ever will be.

So... Shouldn't you be calling someone about this - right now?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!


In honor of Earth Day, Cold Jet is happy to be founded upon a technology that is eco-friendly and helps businesses around the world replace environment-damaging processes with safe clean dry ice blasting using recycled materials.

We're proud to help the world's top companies help the environment.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tax Time - Nothing to Fear

Okay, so this is just a teaser...

You may never have thought you'd hear the words "IRS" and "EPA" both mentioned in the same breath with regard to "saving" you money. But that's exactly what you'll hear for 2008.

So it seems only fitting today, on April 15th - the dreaded Tax day in the US, to let you know that if you're a business of any size, tax time isn't to be feared this year - especially if you invest in dry ice blasting or dry ice production equipment.

Stay tuned, there's more information to come soon.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Ah, the New Year!

The plans, the expectations, the goals, the... [fill in the blank]!

So what is your resolution this year? Whether you're an individual, a business owner, a plant manager, a quality engineer, whatever... you obviously have plans for what you wish to accomplish in 2008.

So... what are they?

Getting Green? Do you want to become more environmentally conscious? Make your work environment safer, implement ISO 14001 standards?

Getting Lean? Do you want to implement LEAN, Six Sigma, TQM or 5S measures or programs, increase efficience, productivity and quality?

Improving profitability? Do you want to reduce labor, reduce downtime, reduce production stoppages and increase your bottom line?

Goals vs Actionable Goals

It's no secret that 90% of New Year's resolutions and goals are broken by the end of January. Why? Because there's a difference between a Goal and an Actionable Goal. Actionable means it is a goal that is not of the pie-in-the-sky variety, it is achievable. And most importantly, it is a goal that you have an action plan on how to achieve it.

Dry Ice Blasting

Dry Ice Blasting is not an end-all solution to LEAN, Six Sigma, environmental awareness or profitability. But it can (and in many cases SHOULD) play an integral part in all of them.

Dry ice blasting has been referred to as the best cleaning technology you've never heard of - and that fits. If more industries knew about the advantages of dry ice blast cleaning, supply wouldn't be able to keep up with the demand.

With impressive ROIs, quality results and environmental benefits it's simply amazing that dry ice blasting is not the first method considered when companies have a serious cleaning need.

So, let this be your first call to action of 2008:
And remember, it's not what dry ice blasting can do for you, it's what you're losing by NOT using dry ice blasting.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Happy Holidays from Cold Jet

At this time of year, it's only natural to reflect on the year that's passed - and on friends and family.

At Cold Jet, we feel the same, and simply want to say Thank You to everyone around the world who made this a great and enriching year for us. We have a lot to be thankful for in 2007 - and a lot of exciting things to look forward to in 2008.

And we want to wish our entire Cold Jet family - from our employees to all our customers - a very Happy Holiday!

Friday, November 9, 2007

LEAN and Clean

If you’re a business that has already embraced Continuous Process Improvement (CPI), then you're most likely familiar with, or involved in, some or all of the following philosophies: LEAN, Six Sigma, TQM, Lean Six Sigma, 5S, and Kaizan.

While the approaches of these various mindsets can be different, the end goals are the same: rising above business obstacles through continuous improvement, increased efficiency and productivity, improved quality, and reduced waste. These are not simply admirable goals, they are essential to the success and growth of companies in today's global environment. And on top of that, businesses today are equally concerned with employee health and safety, and the environmental impact of the business.

Okay, so you're probably now thinking: "Yes, I know all of this already, so tell us oh wise Dry Ice Sensei: what the heck does any of this have to with dry ice blasting?" Ah, grasshopper, sometimes the answer which you seek is indeed already before your eyes!

Okay, maybe a bit too 1970's Kung Fu-ish, but the point is simple:

Dry ice blasting "is" LEAN.

Dry ice blasting increases efficiency, increases productivity, improves quality, and reduces waste. It is also safe, environmentally conscious and worker-friendly.

It can be your answer to the LEAN question for an almost unlimited number of cleaning applications. Big, small, aggressive, gentle... dry ice blasting can fit in most all situations.

Is it really that simple?

In many, many applications, the answer is a resounding Yes. In fact, in some applications (such as several in the printing and packaging industry) the return has been, quite frankly, unbelievable. Really – people cannot believe the facts are true.

For example, take an application that took 8-10 hours, required disassembly, messy manual cleaning with solvents (requiring special handling and disposal), and then reassembly. Now imagine the same cleaning being done with dry ice blasting, with no disassembly/reassembly required and with a total process time of only 15 minutes (seriously). And with a better end cleaning result and no solvents to dispose of (or for workers to handle). It sounds too good to be true. But it is true.

Now obviously not every application is this dramatic, but many are equally impressive – too many to list in one sitting. Be that in the resulting quality, the reduced downtime, the increased productivity, the cost savings, the cleanup savings, etc.

The Bottom line


Being LEAN is all about reducing barriers and waste in your processes. Dry ice blasting is one of the quickest routes to a LEAN manufacturing implementation - and it’s one that you may never have heard of before.

But now that you have heard about it you really have no excuse to not evaluate dry ice blasting for yourself. Anything less would be an irresponsible business decision. And you’re smarter than that, or you wouldn’t be reading this.

It’s time to be LEAN... and Clean.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Blasting away the FUDD

Ever heard of FUDD?

No it’s not a person. And no, it’s not a bad word.

No, FUDD stands for "Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt and Disinformation." Okay, so maybe that does make it a bad word, in the business sense. But the biggest problem with FUDD is that it’s just like old war propaganda – it's meant to distract, confuse, and mislead.

So why the lesson on silly little business acronyms? Well, because they're not really all that silly (or little) after all. And the acronym of FUDD is alive and thriving in the dry ice blasting industry today.

Seen one, seen them all

Look around at most dry ice blasting equipment manufacturers, or better yet – see several of them in person – and they'll all tell you the same thing: "There’s no real difference in machines. It’s all hype – dry ice blasting is dry ice blasting. So don’t waste your money elsewhere, just buy *my* machine."

In fact (they'll tell you), not only are there no real differences in machines, there's no real difference in companies. One manufacturer is just the same as another.

But like any good con artist (or Minister of FUDD), while these messages may be presented in a compelling way, it's all a misleading bunch of twisted hooey (yes, that's the technical term).

How can I be so sure? How can you trust me to be the one telling the truth? That’s a good (and appropriate) question. And the answer is very simple – I'm not asking you to take my word for it. No, instead what I'm asking you to do is a simple but often overlooked task: Ask questions – and realize that the mere fact that there are questions means that the purveyors of FUDD are not giving you the full story.

Questions, questions, questions

So just as an example let's look at a few simple yet important questions: Why are there two hose and single hose systems? Why are there electric and pneumatic systems? Why are there pellet and block systems? What's the maximum length of blast hose that can used with a system? What's the maximum blast time that can be achieved with a system? Can I blast constantly without attending to the ice in the machine? Can I keep my ice in the machine unclogged from my blasting location? What's the rate of sublimation of a given system over an hour of blasting time? Is the ice usage and aggression variable? What size (and quality) is the motor? How hard is it to replace parts? Have you tested your machines against any competitor’s machines (and if so, can I see the results of your testing)?

Starting to get the idea? Just the fact that you even need to ask those questions should tell you that all machines are definitely NOT the same. And while the machine itself will be the major part of your initial line of questioning, you should also ask similar questions about the machine's manufacturer.

For example: How long have you been in business? Where are your offices located? Do you have a global service and support network? How many professional contractors use your equipment? How big is your installation base? Do you have *real* 24/7 phone support, or is it just an answering service that takes messages after hours? How many models of machines do you manufacturer? What do your customers say about you – and can I talk to any?

Wow – that’s a lot of questions!

Do the Due (diligence)

Yes, those are a lot of questions. But you’re not making an informed and responsible decision if you don't ask them – every one of them.

There are a lot of small companies out there who just want to make a quick sale of mediocre equipment - and they'll fill your head with FUDD to do it. The company that openly, and happily, answers all of your questions and is a well established global supplier is the company that makes and supports the equipment you want to use.

It's not hard to find the right dry ice blasting machine or the right company – but you do have to take the time to ask the good hard questions – and demand direct and complete answers.

If you do, you'll blast away the FUDD - and find the answers (and the value) you're truly looking for.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Making history new

The key to engaging people in any subject is to make it relevant. But perceived relevance often equates only to things that are new, current, and visually appealing - characteristics that don't always mesh well with the passage of time and the effects of nature.

It's a typical catch-22: to be passionate about history, history has to make you passionate. Many times the compelling story is blurred by decades, or centuries, of exposure, dirt, or wear - its seeming relevance hidden behind the dull mask of age.

Just what is history?

According to our friends at Wikipedia, the word history has an interesting, um... history:
The word [history] entered the English language in 1390 with the meaning of "relation of incidents, story".

In Middle English, the meaning was "story" in general. The restriction to the meaning "record of past events" ... arises in the late 15th century. In .... most languages of the world other than English, this distinction was never made, and the same word is used to mean both "history" and "story".

Yes, very interesting... so what's the point?

Seeing through time - and grime

The point is that history is a story. Not an old and irrelevant one - but one that is worth knowing and worth telling. One that might simply be lost behind the grime.

So how do we make the story compelling once again? How does the story become new and burst with the color of life and contemporary relevance? How do the stewards and curators of the world's archives not only protect them, but provide new life to them - new life that makes the story real and vibrant?

Blasting into the past

Historical restoration is the critically necessary science behind making history new again. And as you may have guessed, dry ice blast cleaning has emerged as one of the significant tools in the arsenal of historical restoration professionals.

From the 90 year old Utah State Capitol to the 125 year old Philadelphia Museum of Art, to the 600 year old St. Thomas Monastery and 600 year old Charles Bridge in Prague, dry ice blasting is being used worldwide by preservation experts to beautify and restore their critical projects.

Dry ice blasting technologies have been used with tremendous success on a wide variety of historical restoration projects around the world. You might correctly guess a few applications, such as:

  • building, brick and stone cleaning

  • fire restoration of brick and wood

  • gum, tar, paint, graffiti removal

  • log cabin restoration

But you may not know some of the other unique applications where dry ice blast cleaning has been used where other methods simply couldn't be employed. For example:

  • Removing smoke damage from historical books

  • Would you ever let anyone blast the leather seats in your car with any type of blast media? I certainly wouldn't, unless I was looking for some new large-hole ventilation! Well, in this application, gentle dry ice blasting (sometimes called dry ice dusting) was employed and successfully removed smoke damage from the antique leather covers and bindings of historical books without damaging the books, cover, or even the gold inlay lettering on the leather. Talk about gentle and powerful at the same time. And, no chemicals to destroy the leather - and of course no cleanup.
  • Dinosaur bone removal from surrounding materials

  • In this application, dry ice blasting was used to clean the surrounding sediment away from dinosaur bones without using traditional blast material (which would have completely destroyed the bones) or traditional chemical means (also damaging/contaminating the bones and creating toxic secondary waste). Now to be honest, this application is still under testing - it works in many instances, but can still damage extremely fine or soft bone fragments. But these had no chance of being recovered by traditional methods either.
These are just a few of the creative applications of this great technology. The uses truly seem almost endless.

The Gold standard.

While money is "always" a consideration (the Philadelphia Museum of Art for example saved thousands of dollars per individual roof tile - and they have hundreds of tiles), most curators of historical items will spend whatever it takes to get the "best" results. And more and more are turning to dry ice blasting to achieve these results.

Not only does dry ice blast cleaning produce the best results, but in many situations it is the only solution that will work at all - because it's dry, it's clean, it doesn't use chemicals, it doesn't produce waste, and it doesn't damage the material - it truly makes old things new.

Even though it's not magic, it's still magical. And it makes history shine.

Okay, and on top of all that... it still saves money!

To learn more, visit Cold Jet - Historical Restoration.
 

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Good CO2

Let's face it, CO2 (carbon dioxide) has gotten a bum rap - it is the poster child for global warming villains. It alone has been blamed for the greenhouse gas effect – the dirty little pollutant!

After seeing a Gore 2008 bumper sticker, an acquaintance in the dry ice blasting business recently said "Hah – He'd put us all out of a job if he had his way."

"Why?" I asked. "Huh, whaddya mean? We use dry ice - that's CO2 and he wants to get rid of it, and us."

Ah, I see now... the common misperception: all CO2 is bad. Right?

An inconvenient truth

Well, considering that all plant life is dependent upon CO2 for its existence, I'd have to say Wrong.

What may truly be an inconvenient truth to many is that CO2 is not bad just because it's CO2. In fact, the only way to rid the Earth of CO2 would be to stop all animal (and human) life forms from exhaling. And while that would kill all of us, it would also then kill all the remaining plant life once we were gone. Bummer. Seems like the planet would be a bit boring after that.

CO2 isn't all bad – in fact it's a necessary part of our planet's ecosystem.

So what's the global warming bit about? Easy – that's about the excess of CO2 that's produced by the burning of carbon-based fossil fuels. This is new, excess, additional, CO2. And specifically, CO2 that's produced as a by-product of other processes.

Recycling is eco-friendly

So what about dry ice, and industries that use dry ice – such as food storage, dry ice blasting, etc.? Don’t they produce excess (i.e. bad) CO2?

In a word: No… nope, nada, nein, non, нет, não, 无, いいえ ... Okay that's a few words, but you get the idea.

The CO2 used in these processes (which comes from liquid CO2) is not CO2 that is produced as a by-product of another process. It's not excess CO2. It's CO2 that has been reclaimed (recycled) from the CO2 that already exists in the environment around us.

It's this simple fact that makes dry ice usage, and dry ice blasting in particular, environmentally friendly and not environmentally damaging. It's the environmentally conscious and responsible way to use existing CO2 to our advantage.

And, let's not forget that dry ice blasting usually replaces other cleaning processes such as soda blasting and solvent cleaning – which have significant environment-damaging effects. Another feather in the dry ice blasting hat.

So, to respond to the comment about the bumper sticker – "No, we wouldn’t be out of a job. In fact, we'd have a lot more jobs because dry ice blasting is extremely good for the environment. It replaces toxic solvents and it doesn't add CO2 to the atmosphere, it simply puts back the CO2 it borrowed."

Who knows – if we get the word out, maybe poor old CO2 will get a little of its respect back. It deserves it. After all – we truly couldn't live without it.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

You want me to do What?!

Let's face it, cleanup can be a dirty job - and one that is usually accompanied by a sigh, a shrug, a look of disgust or the person being assigned to the cleanup saying "You want me to do What?!" All in all, the usual response is one of dread.

Ah, but that was before Dry Ice Blasting. Now, put a wand in someone's hand and not only is the cleaning job performed better and faster, but the person cleaning doesn't want to stop either. That's a hidden bonus of dry ice blasting: It's fun!

Let's take a look at a few great examples of lousy cleanup jobs that are made nicer (read: easier, more pleasant, less stressful - well, you get the idea...) and even enjoyable with dry ice blasting. All are things no one will want to do again without dry ice blasting.

Moldy nails

Almost unbelievably, mold remediation contractors have to individually clean the heads of nails securing the materials they're cleaning. Why? To remove any mold that has grown around those nail heads. How do they do this? Three main ways: manually sanding the nail head and surroundings (doubt that would be my favorite job), or soda-blasting the area causing a secondary cleanup nightmare, or encapsulating the nail by spraying some type of sealant over it - and not removing the mold at all (what a cover up!).

With dry ice blasting, just a wave of the wand cleans the nail heads and surrounding area - just the same as the other material being cleaned. No additional work. No additional cleanup. No phony results. All in a fraction of the time.

Beating the dryer drum

Did you ever look at a dryer drum? Lots of holes. Lots and lots of holes. Now look at a large industrial dryer drum used by laundry companies. As the Beatles would say: "Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall!" Wow, that's a lot of holes. Now imagine climbing into these dryers with your hammer and chisel at the ready to open up the hundreds and hundreds of holes that are gunked up. And we're talking hard gunk here - the linen fibers and chemicals create quite a solid mix.

Now imagine just a wave of the wand with dry ice blasting and Hey, presto it’s done. Bring on the rest!

The Road to heartbreak is paved...

...with asphalt. Can you visualize being given a bucket of chemical solvents and a high pressure washer and then marched out to a piece of hot asphalt-laying equipment and told "Clean it and make it look like new!" Most likely, you would look old before the equipment looked new - either from the duration of your cleanup task, or from the chemicals eating at your skin.

Now picture this same seemingly insurmountable cleanup becoming child's play compared to its previous effort. Just a wave of the wand (okay, probably a few waves) and your machine will sparkle - and your boss will love you! No chemicals, no hassle. It's a beautiful thing.

What's the bottom line?

When you have any cleaning job where just the thought of it prompts you or your staff to scream "You want me to do What?!", then it's definitely time to take a look at dry ice blasting. And of course, when you think Dry Ice Blasting, think Cold Jet Dry Ice Blasting.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Welcome

Welcome to the Dry Ice Times - a periodic blog about the coolest technology in the cleaning industry today: Dry Ice Blasting.

The entire process is so clever and high-tech and just plain nifty!

- snarke.LiVEJournal.com


We couldn't agree more. It is high-tech and nifty. And it's also extremely eco-friendly, cost-effective, and provides superior cleaning to... well... just about anything.

What should you expect from the Dry Ice Times?
  • Industry news - to keep you up to date on any ground-breaking happenings
  • Technology and innovation discussion - to help you choose the best products
  • Application and industry micro-studies - to keep you informed about what others are doing
  • And of course, anything else we want to throw at you!
And yes, we'll talk about Dry Ice Production as well - since that's a key ingredient to dry ice blasting.

If you don't already know about Dry Ice Blasting, or Dry Ice Production, use our links in the sidebar to jump to information about those and related topics.

If you have any questions regarding this blog, send an email to me: the web-guy.