Historic buildings inevitably develop surface damage over time. Natural accumulation of dirt, mold, and limescale is common, as is graffiti and fire damage. These buildups are not just unsightly, but can hasten structural failures and prove harmful to human health. These challenges often drive efforts to restore or repurpose old buildings.
This is especially problematic in the area of historic building restoration. Protecting aging structures is essential to preserving our nation’s heritage and also has practical and environmental benefits. For example:
- Repurposing a building instead of destroying it reduces demolition and construction expenses, including both material and labor costs.
- Adaptive reuse projects reduce energy use and prevent emissions generated by preparing and transporting new materials.
- Old buildings can be repurposed and brought up to code much faster than new buildings can be constructed.
Despite the many benefits, the success of these undertakings depends on effective preservation of the existing structure, which is often fragile and in need of special attention.
To serve buyers facing such restoration challenges, Compressed Air Systems has introduced a line of IBIX® surface preparation systems designed to remove unwanted dirt, grime, and contaminants. Ideal for delicate or historical structures, these lightweight units apply gentle streams of compressed air to safely and effectively remove buildup.
How to Protect and Restore Your Surface
IBIX® units facilitate the three steps necessary to effectively treat and protect historic surfaces. Thoroughly cleaning the surface of buildup is important, but it’s just as essential to sustain and protect the newly-cleaned surface using specially-designed treatments.
General-purpose compressed air systems are much too powerful for fragile surfaces. To avoid further damaging the building during treatment, you’ll want to invest in an appropriately-calibrated tool for the job.
IBIX surface blasters offer an ideal solution for gently cleaning fragile surfaces. Powered by an innovative micro-air abrasion system, these portable units combine restoration-grade abrasion media with a gentle, rotational sanding motion to strip residue—and only residue—from your surface.
The air compressors themselves are paired with a high-performance drying system to decrease humidity and further protect sensitive surfaces. To ensure that the restoration equipment aligns with your environmentally conscious operation, all compatible abrasion materials include eco-friendly blends of various shells, plants, glass, or gentle chemicals. Formulations are also available to address specific concerns, such as VEGEGRAD—a plant-based blasting medium designed specifically to combat graffiti.
While the IBIX surface blaster will handle the worst grime and dirt, additional solutions may be necessary. For instance, IBIX DeTag citrus-based wipes can help dissolve stubborn paint markings and graffiti.
Cleaning is only the beginning of restoration. For long-lasting results, seal any porous surfaces so that they resist future buildup. For this task, we recommend IBIX Protect IT 100—a breathable, insulating sealant that repels moisture, dirt, and stains.
Like other IBIX products, Protect IT is eco-friendly and organic-based, allowing for superior performance without sacrificing sustainability. Protect IT won’t alter the color or appearance of a treated surface, ensuring that it won’t impact any aesthetic design plans.
The final restoration step involves adding preventative coatings that inhibit organic growth such as moss, algae, or fungi. IBIX BioCare products contain natural essential oils and extracts to minimize surface growth without introducing harmful chemicals onto sensitive surfaces.
Surface Technology Applications
IBIX products are specifically engineered to care for historical sites, which is why governments trust them for use on some of the world’s most significant buildings and monuments. However, surface care is not limited to these contexts. Other potential applications include:
- Off-Shore and on-board maintenance. Surface preparation units are very light, so they can easily be stored and used on ships or off-shore facilities that might not accommodate bulkier air units.
- Oil and gas. Routine abrasive treatments can limit corrosion while also enhancing bond adhesion.
- Fire and mold treatment. Soot and mold are not limited to historic sites. Our surface prep machines can be used to treat these problems anywhere, without causing additional damage to the underlying material.
- Planes, trains, and automobiles. IBIX offers an ideal method for removing rust, soot, and grime from various vehicles. The equipment’s portable nature makes it useful for motor pools, depots, hangars and other common vehicle storage and maintenance sites.
- Power, steel, and industrial manufacturing facilities. As part of preventative maintenance, compressed air treatments can remove dust, rust, and particulate matter, improving workplace safety while also safeguarding sensitive equipment. Thanks to smooth airflow and reduced velocity, these units are suitable for use on practically any material, including common metals and concrete.
More specifically, surface preparation systems are commonly applied to the following structural components:
- Offshore or marine infrastructure
- Structures exposed to marine salt or chemical environments
- Immersed metallic structures or structures in splash zone
- Piping for dredging boats, wastewater plants, and other facilities
- Railings, valves, and fittings
- Walls, roofs, and sidewalks
These applications make our new line especially valuable for professionals in the following industries:
- Building restoration
- Historic preservation
- Transportation restoration
- Plant maintenance
- Wastewater and water treatment
Compressed Air Systems Provides Industry-Leading Solutions
At Compressed Air Systems, we strive to stay on the cutting edge of pneumatic tools and equipment. Our introduction of the IBIX line demonstrates our commitment to distributing only the most effective units on the market as we cater to a broad range of standard and specialized compressed air needs. In addition to sales, we also provide rental and repair services for all manner of air systems.
To learn more about how we can put more than 55 years of experience to work for you, get in touch with our team today.