Considerations for Painting Industrial Equipment

Painting Industrial Equipment: An Overview

In a manner similar to floors and exterior building surfaces, industrial equipment and machinery can benefit from the application of a durable, quality, paint coating. These benefits include protection from corrosion, damage, dirt, grease, chemicals, increased longevity, and, not inconsequentially, a new quality paint job just looks good. Painting or repainting equipment and machinery is a big and important job, but Preferred has you covered. Read on for an overview of the process.


Site Preparation

Like all painting projects, site preparation prior to the painting of equipment is vital for safety and cleanliness. Site prep typically involves tenting off areas to contain overspray, masking parts of equipment that need to be kept paint free, and setting up ventilation systems to mitigate fumes. Employees may have to vacate areas of a facility in which equipment is being painted. This should be factored into planned down time.

Cleaning of Surfaces and Removal of Old Paint

To ensure the proper adhesion and curing of the new paint job, equipment will first have to be cleaned to remove dirt, debris and grease as well as stripped of loose paint. Traditionally, such surface preparation is accomplished through a combination of cleaning solvents and sandblasting. While these methods are more than adequate for many equipment painting projects, there are situations and environments in which the accumulation of spent sanding medium can pose a hazard to sensitive equipment or simply result in an unacceptable amount of required cleanup.

To accommodate these scenarios, Preferred is equipped to prepare equipment surfaces for painting by blasting with dry ice. As demonstrated in the video below, dry ice blasting involves bombarding surfaces with extremely high speed pellets of dry ice. The abrasive physical action of the dry ice pellets combined with the thermal shock of their extreme cold (-109 degrees Fahrenheit) quickly and safely removes all manner of undesirable substances from even the most intricate parts of machinery.

Additional advantages of dry ice include the fact that it sublimates (transitions directly from a solid to a gas) greatly reducing or eliminating mess and required cleanup, is nontoxic, and is nonconductive (making it ideal for use on equipment with sensitive electronics).


With all site preparation and cleaning of equipment completed, it’s time to paint. Most industrial jobs will call for a two component urethane paint (also known as 2k paint) which consists of a combination of a paint base and a hardening agent. Rather than simply drying, 2k paints cure and harden via chemical reaction and in so doing create a protective surface coating that is extremely durable, will not soften and wrinkle, and is exceptionally corrosion resistant.

To evenly apply paint to intricate equipment parts, electrostatic painting may be the best application method. Electrostatic painting employs a specialized sprayer that imparts a negative electrical charge onto paint droplets as they pass through the nozzle. This electrically charged paint will seek the most efficient path to ground which will inevitably be the equipment being painted. Not only does this method reduce overspray as the paint will be drawn toward the paintable surface, it is ideal for evenly painting traditionally difficult areas such as the insides of tubes.

A Note about Downtime

While we always do our best minimize the impact a painting project will have on an operation, it is inevitable that a given piece of machinery will have to go offline during preparation, painting, and cure time. The exact amount of required downtime for a given piece of equipment will vary depending on its size and intricacy as well as on the amount of prep work required. It is also important to plan for 2-3 days of additional downtime after the completion of the project to allow paint to fully cure.

If the equipment you rely on to keep your business running needs a fresh coat of paint, Preferred is here to help. Contact us today and one of our qualified representatives will be happy to help you find the industrial painting solutions that will work best for your operation.

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