Pipeline Blasting projects

From blasting & coating joints on new construction, to rehabilitation dig ups, to blasting & coating pipe spools. Blastone has you covered.

Surface Preparation on Pipeline projects

Good surface preparation for new construction pipelines is critical is because the life expectancy of 40 years or so. Good surface preparation allows you to apply an extended life coating, with the potential for coating failure nulled.

Pipeline projects are often in very remote locations which will require all equipment to be transported to site. The whole site process, coupled with portability of equipment can be costly along with the restricted access to maintenance and repair equipment. Small delays due to incorrect equipment and long down time can add up to large delays for the completion of the project.

In-field blasting is typically around the piping joints, so the pipeline can be welded on site before it is put in the ground in the case of gas pipelines. The weld needs blasted and the weld margin which is usually a few inches either side of the weld back to the existing coating that was done in the factory, and then we can coat that joint. These pipelines are normally buried, and if there were to be a pipeline failure, it is very expensive to find the leak for a start, and it is also very dangerous to have a leak because it could catch fire and cause an explosion.

GMA Garnet Abrasive

The preferred abrasive for pipeline projects

For field joints in pipeline construction, use GMA ToughBlast Garnet as it is the most efficient abrasive and has low abrasive consumption. The low abrasive consumption, the regular consistency and the ability to ‘feather back’ the existing coating so that when you come to apply the new coating, the existing coating that was factory applied blends in and cements itself with the new coating that is applied. Sometimes Contractors use vacuum systems that use steel grit for an abrasive, which is very difficult to manoeuvre and very time consuming.

Why use GMA ToughBlast?

  • Use approximately 30% less per joint. That’s a lot less material to take from base camp every day.
  • Increase blast speed per joint by up to 50%.
  • Environmentally friendly. ToughBlast Garnet is a Natural mineral so leaving on ground and not cleaning up is perfectly fine – Coal Slag is a waste product and can cause issues with leaching heavy metals into soils.
  • Up to 70% less dust than slag abrasive.
  • Cleaner surface due to no impregnation. Slag abrasives tend to impregnate the steel surface which can cause a coating adhesion issue.
  • Superior feathering, cleaner joint coating.

Blast equipment for pipeline projects

Pipeline blasting contractors use equipment that is typically very portable. It can be put on the back of a construction 4WD truck. These blasting systems always need very fast reacting deadman systems because when you are blasting a pipeline, particularly smaller pipelines of 4-6” but also larger pipelines of 20”, the operator has to move around the pipeline a lot and it means he has to start and stop a lot. This means the blaster is starting and stopping a lot and the wasted abrasive and wasted time, in starting up is greatly reduced when you have a Thompson Valve system.

You also want high productivity for your main line work, which means you need high flow piping and very dry air to minimize abrasive consumption. The other reason you want that equipment and to minimize abrasive consumption is because to get the abrasive out to the sites, they are very remote and the cost of freight to those sites is very high. If you have to take extra truckloads to abrasive to site it could cost an extra $5,000 per truckload because the sites are so remote.


Getting what you need to get the job done efficiently.

Blasting Equipment

Blasting Equipment for Pipeline projects can range from very large to quite small, but they all have similar needs and unique requirements. All Blasting Equipment must have fast acting controls, as the operator will be frequently moving from one part of the pipe to another. The abrasive metering valves need to have capability for fine accurate adjustment, to minimize the abrasive usage. Finaly the equipment needs to be low maintenance and very portable as it will be used in very remote sites.

Air Dryers

Using dry compressed air will increase your blasting performance by 15% and decrease your abrasive consumption by 10%. Taking an airdryer to site is as important as a blast pot.


Your compressor needs to be adequately sized to ensure that your operators can recieve 100psi to their blast nozzle. Typical nozle sizes used by pipeline blasters are between a 5/16 and 7/16.

Abrasive Storage and Transport

Pipelines mostly in extremly remote and hard to access places. Special consideration should be given to your abrasive storage and transport. Using an abrasive like GMA Garnet you will minimise the amount you use, and could find that one blast pot will last all day.

Portability Considerations
Will your blasting equipment be mounted on a skid? Trailer? Directly on to your truck or Morooka? Look at your site access constraints and choose the most efficient machinery you can for access. You can potentially save a lot of money on your project if you can optimize your transport and access equipment to keep your workers at highest productivity. Talk to us about different options available.
Unique Accessories
Do you need a crane or a extendable arm mounted to your truck? using an extendable arm you can hold the blast hoses over the otherside of the pipeline to increase the blasters productivity and performance. Some pipeline blasters even have seats for their workers, attached to the side of the truck, which extends out to alongside the pipe to save them walking through the mud and rough terrain, as they drive from joint to joint.

Mobile blasting packages for External surface

Due to the nature and site access restrictions often limiting the access of larger equipment, the use of complete portable blasting units is an ideal 'all in one' solution.

Containing blasting pot, abrasive storage, compressors, air drier, hose storage, tool box and other necessary equipment, these pipeline blasting units more quickly to move down the pipeline as the work is completed. Typically mounted onto a skid for easy loading on and off truck beds.

Need to blast the internal surface of a pipeline?

Surface preparation of large pipe or tunnel interiors is always precarious, labour intensive and is typically preformed under tight time constraints. Robotic internal pipe technology (RIPT) blast equipment features rotating lances which are adjusted to the size of the pipe/tunnel and more at a set speed.

Robotic internal pipe technology typically feature 3 rotating nozzles which are attached to a self-propelled trolley and move down the pipe.

See our Internal Pipe Blasting Products 

Coatings for pipeline spray coating

In pipe construction and field joint coating there are two main types of coatings.

One is epoxy coatings, which are spray applied. They are very hard, they bond well and they are used for two reasons. Often you will be driving pipes through bi-directional drilling through the ground under a river crossing or under a road and so the whole pipe is sliding through the rocks, through the mud and through the dirt. The coating on the pipe has to withstand the dragging and so the coating has to be very tough.

The other main type of coating is a wrap. These typically aren’t so good when you’re dragging it through ground, so this is the normal coating for the pipes being placed directly into the ground. It is a tape that is wrapped around the pipe, heated up and shrunk onto the pipe. It is called fusion bonded epoxy wrapping and gives excellent adhesion and a good bond to the existing coating.

Typical Coating Thickness

Typical thicknesses on the spray applied coatings you are normally looking for a minimum of 80 mils, often 120 mils. When it is wrapped it is normally of a similar thickness, maybe a bit thicker, up to 200 mils.

It is very common to require a lot of profiles tests. It is very key to get the surface profile correct when you are putting these coatings on to get a good surface on them, so a lot of surface profile test and climatic condition testing, then the DFT instruments.

Want more information?

Get in contact with a BlastOne consultant to review how to improve your profits and enhance your project performance.