Not all baking soda abrasives are the same. ARMEX™ formulations are unique and distinct from other baking soda abrasives on the market. What you may not know is why ARMEX™ is so different.

Figure 1: The ARMEX™ blast media family of products. Source: ARMEX™Figure 1: The ARMEX™ blast media family of products. Source: ARMEX™

Let’s start with the fact that ARMEX™ is made by the Church & Dwight Company, makers of ARM & HAMMER™ products including the yellow box that is commonly sold on grocery store shelves. In fact, Church & Dwight makes a wide range of baking soda products, from bicarbonates administered to dialysis patients to animal feed, toothpaste and household cleaners. The multi-product manufacturing process calls for careful screening and separation of sodium bicarbonate grades, resulting in a higher and more consistent product than what is available from some of the other baking soda makers.

In addition, ARMEX™ is specifically formulated and manufactured for abrasive blasting. There are products in the marketplace touting “pure baking soda, free of additives” as a selling point. This sounds great — until one realizes that this essentially amounts to ordinary baking soda in a bag. By contrast, ARMEX™ incorporates moisture-control and flow additives called MoistureGuard™ to combat baking soda’s characteristic as a natural desiccant — an absorbent of water. This desiccant quality can render ordinary baking soda useless if kept in a high-humidity or damp environment like a storage warehouse, which is a recipe for turning a bag of soda into a big brick.

The problems with “pure” baking soda do not stop at the storage phase; compressed air equipment used for blasting produces condensation of both water and oil. This can contribute to clumping and clogging during the blasting operation, translating to lost production time when things need to be shut down, taken apart and cleaned. This is especially important for small-scale contractors using blast pots. While diesel compressors with air cooler add-ons are available, they are expensive and tend to be out of the reach of small contractor budgets. Vapor blast equipment, a popular alternative, can also struggle with pure baking soda, as it tends to prematurely dissolve — leaving only water and an unusable slurry in its place.

In short, customers should avoid pure baking soda if they are using it for soda blasting. They need a product designed with the special requirements of the blasting process in mind. That is where the ARMEX™ difference really shines.

To better understand the role of MoistureGuard™, consider a piece of M&M’s candy. The hard candy shell on the outside protects the chocolate on the inside. In this analogy, the chocolate is the baking soda; the hard candy shell is the MoistureGuard™. In addition, there are two types of MoistureGuard™. These include the standard MoistureGuard™ 2, which offers twice the natural moisture barrier of pure baking soda. It is seen in Maintenance and Maintenance XL formulas; HydroFlex™ XL for grease and oil removal; Profile™ XL for rust removal; and Turbine Formula for removing heavy carbon deposits from metal. There is also the advanced MoistureGuard™ 8, which offers eight times the natural moisture barrier. This is seen in some of the ARMEX™ specialty-surface formulations, as well as the Flow M and Flow XL formulas. Both Flow formulas are specifically designed to be used in high-moisture situations, or to address the issue of poor-quality air supply. In humid climates like those found in Florida or Louisiana, ARMEX™ Flow and Flow XL are the standards for soda blasting.

ARMEX™ also incorporates blast media particle size into the process of creating consistent formulations. The baseline size, mean size 170 microns (100 grit), is used for the general-purpose Maintenance and Flow M formulations. Larger particles with mean size 270 microns (70 grit) are used in all the XL formulations in order to generate additional cleaning power that can remove heavy contamination. Smaller particles with mean size 70 microns (220 grit) are used in the specialty, task-specific formulas: Anilox Roll Cleaning, Composite and Electronics.

Finally, ARMEX™ possesses a range of certifications — an extensive list that no other baking soda abrasive producer can come close to claiming. These include suitability for use in FDA-regulated facilities, with the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices and Generally Recognized as Safe certifications; NSF; USDA A1; and even kosher and halal certifications. The product is also non-allergenic, does not contain GMOs and is bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) free. And it’s made in the USA.

In sum: Not all baking soda is created equally. The ARMEX™ difference is significant, and deep reaching into all aspects of the full ARMEX™ product line. Contact ARMEX™ to learn more.