Case Study: Paragon Restoration II
Paragon Restoration II is a Minnesota-based, concrete restoration company specializing in the preservation and restoration of parking structures and high-rise exterior buildings. Paragon typically sandblasts parking structures, which is their preferred cleaning method for open-air jobs, but because parking structures are largely enclosed with little to no air movement, ventilation is nearly impossible. Costly containment, health and visibility concerns prompted Paragon to evaluate a vapor abrasive blasting solution.
The biggest challenge Paragon President Dave Park has with blasting inside parking structures is balancing efficiency with employee safety. Paragon is given one small section at a time to work with, which they must completely contain to make the rest of the structure as dust-free as possible.
“Inhalation of dust containing silica is a huge concern of mine,” says Park. “My employees take a huge brunt of the dust that sandblasting kicks up in the air, and silica is in the concrete we are blasting.”
Knowing that Paragon would be renovating more parking structures, he knew sandblasting was not a long-term solution. “No one wants their employees to do something that is going to harm them long-term.”
A big part of the problem is the lack of visibility due to so much dust created by sandblasting. The parking structure continues to operate while blasting is being performed. While Paragon is working on the third floor of an eight-floor parking structure, cars are frequently passing the jobsite. Understandably, sandblasting causes a lot of dust which limits visibility to cars passing by. Also, due to the confined nature of a parking garage, the dust would get so thick that workers would have to stop blasting until the dust cleared. “With traditional sandblasting, visibility was near zero at times, which means we had to stop blasting and just wait for the dust to clear.”
Knowing that sandblasting was not a viable, sustainable solution for working inside parking structures, Paragon began researching abrasive blasting solutions that would produce less dust, which lead Park to Graco EcoQuip® Vapor Abrasive™ blasting. After seeing a demo at the World of Concrete show in Las Vegas, Park was intrigued. After learning that Graco EcoQuip Vapor Abrasive blasting machines produce 92% less dust compared to traditional sandblasting methods, he contacted a local distributor to arrange for an equipment test inside one of the parking structures. It seemed too good to be true.
In March 2015, Park contacted Ryan Christopherson from Chistopherson Farms, a Graco authorized distributor. Christopherson came to the jobsite and gave Paragon a demo inside one of the parking structures. “He was outstanding,” Park said. “That guy is someone that knows the equipment. He isn’t just some sales guy.”
After a brief demo, Paragon Restoration rented an EQ300S for about two months. It proved to be ideal for their application, so they purchased the unit. Soon, Park realized there were more benefits than just dust suppression. “It was faster than sandblasting and more efficient in a larger production type project.”
The Graco Ecoquip also made it more efficient to comply with OSHA standards; but for Park, the most compelling reason for buying Graco EcoQuip, was that it solved his original dust problem.
“It’s better for your people. It might cost a little more, but we are going to give our client a better job and our employees are going to be healthier for it. It’s the way everybody should go in our industry,” says Park. “This won’t be our only unit from Graco – that’s for sure!”