Pittsburgh Spray Equipment Company http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com HVLP Spray Guns, Airless Paint Sprayers, Spray Booths, and Sandblast Equipment Sat, 24 Jun 2017 01:35:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Abrasive Blasting –  A Complete Guide http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/23/abrasive-blasting-a-complete-guide/ http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/23/abrasive-blasting-a-complete-guide/#respond Sat, 24 Jun 2017 01:35:07 +0000 http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/?p=17155 You may wonder what abrasive blasting is, what it is used for, the equipment required, safety considerations and more related to abrasive blasting.  Fortunately this complete guide to abrasive blasting will cover all of this and more links within the article go into further depth on each topic mentioned. What Abrasive Blasting Is abrasive blasting...

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You may wonder what abrasive blasting is, what it is used for, the equipment required, safety considerations and more related to abrasive blasting.  Fortunately this complete guide to abrasive blasting will cover all of this and more links within the article go into further depth on each topic mentioned.

What Abrasive Blasting Is

abrasive blasting involves the act of propelling an abrasive material (usually called blast media) at a high speed and under pressure at a surface to create changes in the surface. Common changes that are achieved by abrasive blasting include smoothing a rough surface, roughening a smooth surface, and cleaning a previously contaminated surface (more on abrasive blasting applications will come later). The process was first patented on October 18, 1870 by Benjamin Chew.


Abrasive blasting involves a variety of methods that can provide a variety of results with some being mild and others being aggressive. Common options for abrasive blasting include compressed air propelled blast media or mechanically slung blast media which is done by a centrifugal wheel blaster.  In addition to how the media is propelled, there are a variety of common blast medias that are used in abrasive blasting. The more aggressive blast medias include aluminum oxide, steel shot, steel grit, and sand (though sand has a variety of dangers that make it not ideal).  Moderately aggressive blast medias include options like walnut shell, corncob, crushed glass, glass bead, garnet, coal slag, and others. The type of blast media will play a significant role in the profile you achieve and how fast you are able to clean a surface.  Gentle blast medias that do not leave much or any profile in the surface include options like soda blasting, plastic bead, and dry ice blasting.


Types of Abrasive Blasting

Compressed air blasting

compressed air blasting is the most common form of abrasive blasting used. Whether you’re using a blast cabinet or using a blast pot compressed air blasting takes the force of the compressed air and seats blast media into the air delivering it to a surface to either clean or profile the surface.  Compressed air blasting is fast and efficient at cleaning rust and other undesirable contaminant like weld splatter from a products surface.  Equipment needed for basic compressed air blasting includes a properly sized air compressor and a sandblast pot outfit.  The larger Cubic Feet of Minute (CFM) a compressor is the faster you can sandblast.

Wet Blasting

Wet blasting is similar to compressed air blasting but in addition to compressed air water is injected or added to the blast media and air.  The primary benefit that wet blasting gives over compressed air blasting is that it helps keep dust from sandblasting down, it also rapidly cleans, and softens blast media impact with the surface which can reduce issues with surface impregnation of blast media.  However, due to the blast media impacting the surface with less force it can sometimes be a little slower than standard air blasting .  The water also can cause a surface of a product to corrode so you typically have to have a way to coat a wet blasted product relatively quick after its blasted or use a rust inhibiting agent in your wet blast water source. More on the Pros and Cons of Wet Blasting.  The reduced dust makes it helpful if you are in an area where dust and blasting is problematic and the faster surface cleaning make it a nice way to prep and clean the product surface in a short amount of time.


Bead Blasting

Bead blasting uses round sphere blast media whether it’s glass or plastic bead to impact a surface. Common applications for bead blasting include removal of coatings or light corrosion.  It is used with substrates that there’s concern that an aggressive blast media like sand or steel grit will create unfavorable alterations to the surface of the product your sandblasting.

Wheel Blasting

Wheel blasting or centrifugal blasting as is often referred to as uses a mechanical swinging arm to propel media at high speed, this is in contrast to the other forms of blasting use air pressure from the compressor to propel the blast media.  Common blast medias that are used with the wheel blaster include recyclable blast medias like steel blast media. In Specialized applications plastic beads can be used in a wheel blast inside of a cryogenic chamber for very delicate surfaces like cleaning plastics or rubbers. A size of wheel blaster you select will depend on the product size and with increased size will come increased costs.  The major benefit to wheel blasting is that it will create a uniform finish extremely well on a smooth flat surface. This can make will blasting of the great option for automating repetitive abrasive blast process that is using primarily flat surfaces. However if your product has nooks and crannies or is not uniform in shape wheell blasting can have limitations.

Automated Abrasive Blasting

automated abrasive blasting can be applied to a variety of applications from a sandblast cabinet to automating blasting of large equipment through the use of robotics.  The important considerations that should be addressed when considering automating abrasive blasting include the uniformity of parts that will be blasted, how many parts are planned to be blasted at a given time, and the blast profile results you are planning. Additionally for blast automation you typically will want to work with the blast equipment company that will sample process your product in an automated system to ensure that the automated abrasive blast system that is proposed will work effectively.

Dry Ice Blasting

dry ice blasting uses air and dry ice propelled at a surface.  Frozen carbon dioxide particles hitting at high velocity remove contaminants from the substrate but the dry ice is evaporate din the process leaving no residue or abrasive media behind.  This makes dry ice blasting a good solution when having any residual media left after the blast process is problematic or you need to ensure that no damage occurs to a product surface during the blast process and it can be food safety approved making it helpful for food related blast applications.

Vacuum Blasting

Vacuum blasting is and abrasive blast unit that has a pressure blast along with a suction return system which provides you the ability to blast a surface and simultaneously pick up the blast media that is used while blasting. Vacuum blasting is highly effective for doing blast work in open areas indoors whether concerns of blast media being build up inside facility or you’re doing touchup work and need to be able to not have to deal with dust being created.  There are a few main drawbacks to vacuum blasting. First is that vacuum blasting requires even more compressed air than standard compressed air abrasive blasting. Second, vacuum blasting is a lot slower in comparison to standard compressed air blasting because you have to wait for the vacuum reclaim on the blast unit to pick up blast media that has been expelled prior to being able to move on to another part of the surface you plan on blasting.

Other Surface Preparation Methods

In addition to abrasive blasting you can also prepare a surface through a variety of other methods.  For example there are pneumatic tools like a needler that allow you to remove rust or you can use a grinder to remove weld splatter and similar light surface contaminants.

Common Abrasive Blasting Equipment


Open Air Portable Abrasive Blasting Blast Pots

For Open Air Abrasive Blasting it is typical to use a standard abrasive blast pot.  The size blast pot you use will be important in determining the length of time you can blast before running out of blast media .  Additionally standard blast pots come with a variety of options like abrasive cut off switches to turn off blast media, and different blast media valves to accommodate different blast medias.  For more check out this guide on sandblast pot buying.

Blast Cabinets

Abrasive blast cabinets offer a contained blast area and can prevent blast media from leaking out as well as offer efficient and effective cleaning for a variety of small to medium-size parts.  Abrasive blast cabinets are offered in both suction or pressure feed options.  Pressure feed blast cabinets are faster and can remove more stubborn contaminants from the surface but also are more expensive. Meanwhile suction blast cabinets are slower in comparison to pressure cabinets but cost less. Blast cabinets also vary significantly in price ranging from those used in the hobbyist shop for a few hundred dollars up to thousands of dollars for an automated blast cabinet. In addition to pressure or siphon fed blast cabinets you can also have a soda or wet blast cabinet.  Soda blast cabinets offer the ability to remove contaminants without altering the product surface and are well suited for food grade cleaning needs.  Wet blast cabinets offer the primary benefit of not impregnating the surface or altering the surface when blasting but are typically slower when compared to a standard dry siphon or pressure blast cabinet.  Wet blast cabinets are well suited for applications where heat associated with traditional dry blast media is problematic or where there’s concern for altering the substrate of a metal during blasting.  You can learn more about wet and dry blast cabinets here and you can also learn more about blast cabinet prices and choosing the correct blast cabinet for you here.

Abrasive Blast Rooms

Blast rooms are used for large abrasive blast operations that have higher volumes of blasting that they will do. Common uses for abrasive blast rooms include production facilities, fabrication facilities, and manufacturers.  A blast room incorporates a blast pot as well as blast media recovery equipment which allows for Blast Media like steel grit, aluminum oxide, or other blast media to be ran through an abrasive blast media cleaner which removes contaminants from the media and allows you to continue to reuse it for multiple times before it is disposed of.  Common blast media recovery options can range from a hopper to a full screw or even a belt recovery system.  In addition to blast media recovery it is critical to consider proper dust collection in your abrasive Blast Room.  Dust collection for abrasive blast rooms is based on the type of blast media you use and the size of the blast room.  For more on abrasive blast rooms, abrasive blast media recovery, and dust collection for abrasive blast rooms this article provides additional details.

Air compressors for Abrasive Blasting

In addition to the typical equipment that is needed for abrasive blasting, one of the most critical components is having sufficient compressed air for your abrasive blasting needs. The larger the air compressor you have, the faster you will be able to blast.  The chart below highlights air requirements needed for abrasive blasting.  Common options for abrasive blasting compressors include Toby Heinz their used in the field as well as electric driven shop compressors.  Abrasive blasting air compressors are almost always two stage compressors it can range in horse power from 25 200+ horsepower to deliver anywhere from hundred or more CFM of air.

Compressed air chart courtesy of Clemco Industries

Abrasive Blast Media

Besides the time you blast and pressure you use while blasting, the abrasive that you use is one of the key determinants in how fast, how efficient, and the result you achieve sandblasting.  There are a variety of blast medias available that will offer a variety of benefits and drawbacks. Abrasive Blast media is typically rated using a Mohs scale.  The harder an abrasive blast media is, the faster it will remove contaminants and in general the deeper profile it can potentially create given a certain amount of time blasting.  Additionally blast media comes in a variety of grit sizes with lower numbers representing larger particles of blast media while higher grits are smaller particle sizes.  Larger particles leave greater impressions on surface but are actually often slower in removing contaminants from a blast surface.  To learn more about abrasive blast media selection you can refer to this guide here but for now will continue to list common abrasive blast medias.

Coal Slag Media

Coal slag is a common blast media is made out of crushed coal. Is well suited for removal contaminant as well as profiling products for paint application. In general it is relatively affordable blast media.

Glass Blast Media

Glass blast media comes in both crushed or bead formats and can be used to remove surface contaminant as well as profile a surface. Glass blast media can also be used without creating too much of a profile making it slightly less aggressive than coal slag medias.

Aluminum Oxide Blast Media

Aluminum oxide blast media is one of the most aggressive abrasive blast medias that are available in can quickly remove significant amounts of contaminant from the surface as well as create strong profiles rapidly. However in comparison to other recyclable blast medias like steel grit or steel shot blast medias aluminum oxide cannot be reused as many times.

Steel Blast Medias

Steel blast medias come in both grit shot. Steel grit is often used for profiling as well as removal of contaminants of the surface like corrosion or paint. Steel shot is typically reserved for applications like ball peening where the objective is to actually create reinforced steel by compressing a surface and making it more rigid

Agricultural Blast Medias

Agricultural blast medias include options like corncob or walnut shell blast media. These medias are relatively effective at removing surface contaminant but are also not harmful to the environment when they are not contaminated from the blast surface.  They are less aggressive than blast media’s like coal slag or steel or aluminum oxide but can still be effective for light profiling and removing coatings.

Synthetic Abrasive Blast Medias

Synthetic blast medias include options like sodium bicarbonate (Soda blasting) and plastic bead. These types of blast medias are most often used when you want no change to occur to underlying surface while blasting but still need to be able to remove contaminant from the surface.

Silica Sand

in certain countries sand to sandblast may still be allowed, but there are a variety of safety concerns for sandblast thing with silica sand.  Silica sand has been this shown to cause issues like silicosis which is a very deadly disease wear over time you lungs stop working due to inflammation in the lobes of the lungs. Silica sand is very effective at removing contaminant but due to the health concerns associated with using it should be avoided if possible. In certain countries it is illegal to use. If you are going to use silica sand you have to be sure that you are extra conscious of safety requirements.  This article covers safety concerns as well as safety requirements associated with silica sand for abrasive blasting in greater detail.


Safety Requirements for Abrasive Blasting

it comes to abrasive blasting primary safety concerns include air purity, staying free from dust contamination, protecting the worker from auditory as well as physical injury, and more.  In the United States primary safety organizations that are critical to ensure compliance with include OSHA.  OSHA provides a thorough documentation of abrasives blasting safety requirements here.  Critical things to ensure that you have though to ensure your safety while blasting include a way to make sure you’re not passing carbon monoxide on through your blast hood respirator which most often requires the use of a carbon monoxide monitor.  Additional critical safety equipment includes a blast hood respirator that is properly designed for abrasive blasting respiratory protection. Blast hoods should be certified to meet NIOSH standards.  The air you feed your blast operator will have to meet grade D blast air standards which you can learn more about what grade d breathing air is and how to meet the standards here In addition there are requirements related to ventilation depending on if your blasting indoors and what your blasting off.  You also have requirements related to protecting the blast operator from harm from blast media.  These are the most common abrasive blasting regulations but their are others included those related to hearing protection and more..

While these are general safety requirements, each country may have more or less strict requirements which will be important for you to verify before blasting.

Typical Abrasive Blast Applications

Abrasive blasting is used in a variety of applications including the following:

–  rust removal

-paint removal

– surface profiling for better adhesion of coatings or another material

– cleaning molds

– cleaning food trays

– removing mill scale

– removing heat treatment

– restoring cars

– artistic glass work

– Cleaning boat hulls

– Creating 3 D signs

– Cemetery stone markings

These are all just a sampling of applications for sandblasting.  Ultimately abrasive blasting has a variety of applications and requires a lot of knowledge around blast media, abrasive blast equipment, and technique.  However it is a great effective way to achieve cleaning a surface as well as creating a profile to improve adhesion and many other applications. This guide is hopefully served to give a great overview of the variety of applications for abrasive blasting.

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How to Install a Dust Collection System for a Small Wood Shop http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/22/install-dust-collection-system-small-wood-shop/ http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/22/install-dust-collection-system-small-wood-shop/#respond Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:53:01 +0000 http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/?p=17139 As a wood worker one of the greatest additions you can make to your shop is a solid dust collection system.  Proper dust collection is important for safety and can help you with achieving better finishes if you will paint your wood projects before completion. Our guide will give you practical tips to consider when...

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As a wood worker one of the greatest additions you can make to your shop is a solid dust collection system.  Proper dust collection is important for safety and can help you with achieving better finishes if you will paint your wood projects before completion. Our guide will give you practical tips to consider when implementing a dust collection system in your small wood working shop.

Step 1 – Obtain & Install Dust Collection for Stationary Machines

With your larger stationary equipment like bandsaws, routers, planers, and table saws there is significant dust production.  To properly address the dust these machines will generate you will typically want to consider a large dust collector.  If you only use the occasional hand tool you may be able to get buy with a shop vac for minor dust.  For the larger equipment in your shop a solution like this portable dust collector can be easily connected to your large wood shop tools to properly get rid of dust.  When connecting the collector to your equipment try to keep the hose from the equipment as short as possible.  By keeping the hose from the collector to your equipment short, air flow will be maximized which will reduce any excess dust being created.   If you have to you can consider creating blast gates to create less need to move your dust collector around, but this can reduce the effectiveness of your dust collector depending on the amount of duct you run.

To make change out a breeze with the big dust collector and stationary machines you may consider a quick change out option that connects to the dust port on your large equipment and to your dust collector hose allowing for rapid change out of the dust collector from tool to tool. It can also make it easier to use a spring clamp rather than a screw clamp because while they may not hold as tight they make change outs a lot easier.

Step 2 – Address Dust Collection for your Smaller Wood Working Machines

For your smaller units like your sanders, chop saws, or routers you can consider one of two options.  Many of these machines will offer a bag to collect dust today.  This solution can work but is also one more thing to keep track of ensuring you empty the bag regularly and can still miss some dust.  The alternative to the built in dust collection bag on your equipment is to hook up your small wood working tools to a shop vac.

Shop vacs can move a pretty significant volume of air and will better keep dust down in comparison to the dust collection bags that come standard with common wood working tools today. While a top of the line shop dust vac like this can be expensive it offers a variety of helpful options like automatic start plus fine dust control.  If you go with a more standard shop vac for your small tool dust collection you should consider upgrading the filter to a HEPA Filter as this will capture finer particles and ensure no issues occur.  An additional helpful tip to simplify the dust collection is to consider changing the size hose on your shop vac to a smaller diameter.  A smaller diameter hose like a 1 ¼” hose is easier to maneuver and when combined with a proper adapter to match your existing shop vacs outlet will make the use of the shop vac for dust collection much easier.

Step 3 for Dust Collection in Your Wood Working Shop – Air Filtration

While the dust collectors to your large machine and a proper vacuum will handle dust generated from your equipment there is still the possibility that fine dust particles will be left in the overhead air.  This can be dangerous for your health.  To address this issue you can consider implementing an air purification dust collection system that will pull fine dust out of your wood shops air.  In addition to a fine dust filtration unit you should also wear a proper respirator.  For sanding and sand related applications you will need a N95 approved respirator at minimum.



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How Emissions from painting are Determined & How to Calculate VOCS (Includes Calculators) http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/19/emissions-painting-determined-calculate-vocs-includes-calculators/ http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/19/emissions-painting-determined-calculate-vocs-includes-calculators/#respond Mon, 19 Jun 2017 22:53:17 +0000 http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/?p=17117 How Emissions from painting are Determined (Includes Calculator) One common area of concern for a manufacturer to ensure they are meeting proper regulatory requirements is the degree of emissions they are producing.  While there are a variety of sources of emissions, we will focus on emissions related to painting in this article.  We will cover...

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How Emissions from painting are Determined (Includes Calculator)

One common area of concern for a manufacturer to ensure they are meeting proper regulatory requirements is the degree of emissions they are producing.  While there are a variety of sources of emissions, we will focus on emissions related to painting in this article.  We will cover how paint emissions are calculated and then cover options you have to reduce your emissions.

How emissions from painting are determined


To understand how emissions from painting are determined first you have to understand the composition of a typical paint. Common components of a paint include Volatile Organic compounds (VOCS), hazardous air pollutants (haps), and toxic air contaminants (tacs) among other components.  A typical paint is made up of a portion that is primarily solid and a portion that is primarily liquid.  Within the solid portion of paint there can be some hazardous air pollutants and some toxic air contaminants.  The haps and tacs in the solid portion of the paint are typically captured by paint booth filters.  In contrast the liquid portion of a coating which is often times made up of solvents contains haps, tacs, and vocs.  Since these hazardous components are in liquid form they are able to pass through the filters of your paint booth and in general will be the main source of emissions from your paint process in your manufacturing plant.


To estimate the volume of emissions created there are a few key variables that you will have to know

Total Volume of Coating Applied – The first factor contributing to your annual emissions (which is what most states are measuring) is the total amount of coatings you will apply.  You can take this based on an hour, a week, or even a year time frame to determine how much emissions you will generate

Pounds of VOC per Gallon – This will be listed on the product data sheets for your paint or material safety sheets (see example below) it is important to note that less exempt solvents is not typically used for calculating emissions

Hazardous ingredient composition calculation – This can typically be found on the MSDS sheet and will list how much of each given hazardous air pollutant component is found in your coating it will be used typically to determine the amount of certain haps you emit.

How to calculate VOCS

                                                       

 How to calculate VOCs

                                                           


               Used for Calculating Emissions

Important sometimes the label for VOC’s can be labeled a variety of ways for emissions use VOC’s listed as theoretical, calculated, total, as applied, or as mixed this is the right one to use.

 

Calculate Emission Rate

To determine the emission rate take all the paints you will be spraying, the volume you will spray, and VOC content of the coatings.  Then plug them into the calculator below to determine the amount of emissions you will create.  Remember you must also account for any thinner you add to your coatings which will add to your VOC content (unless your thinner is exempt).  Certain thinners are exempt from counting toward your emissions count which you can review exempt thinners hereIf you use a non exempt thinner you will have to account for the thinners VOC content just like any coating you are using.



Example calculation

Will say you are using 2 paints and a thinner with it.  One has a voc content of 3.95 lbs per gallon , the other 2.5 lbs per gallon, and the last one 2.0 lbs per gallon.  You plan on using and spraying 2 gallons of each.  This would add up to a total of 16.9 lbs of VOCS.  You can use this same math to compute annual emissions, hourly emissions, or a different amount of time just identify the volume of paint sprayed and the VOC content of the paint sprayed.


Annual Emissions Calculations

To determine tons of emissions you would calculate the total pounds of emissions created using the calculator above then divide the total number by 2000 to give you tons per year.  For example if you generate 4000 pounds of VOCs this is equivalent to two tons of emissions.


Calculating Individual Hazardous Air Pollutants and Toxic Air Contaminants

If you need to calculate the amount of a particular pollutant that you will emit you need to know an additional detail:

The composition of the hazardous ingredients of the coating which can typically be found on the MSDS (see below).


To determine the individual amount of a particular Hazardous air pollutant you take the total vocs * the % by weight of the chemical you are evaluating.

For example will say we are calculating HAPS from Methyl Ethyl Ketoxime.  As a whole our coating has 3 lbs of VOCS in a gallon and we use a gallon.  That means we produced .012 pounds of vocs.  You can also use the calculator below.

What You can Do to Reduce Your Emissions


The portion of emissions that you can readily help control is the portion of your emissions total related to VOC’s that are trapped in the solids of your coating and your total VOCS.  The VOC’s related to the solid portion of your coating can be determined by the following formula:

Total lbs of VOC’s in coating * % by weight of solid Hap of concern, * (1- transfer efficiency of paint equipment) * (1 – efficiency of paint booth filter)* amount used

 

So if your coating had 5 lbs of total VOCs and was composed of 2% of a Solid HAP, your equipment was 65% efficient and your filters 99.7% effective you would produce a total of .0001 pounds of emissions.

Typically the most common option to reduce your emissions will include a few different strategies. First you can consider a lower VOC paint (usually it consists of higher solids ) which will have less pounds of VOC’s listed.  Second you can consider a more efficient spray gun like an HVLP spray gun and paint booth filter that can help slightly reduce emissions related to the solids portion of your paint.  Third and this is only if all other options have been considered, you could consider a booth that burns off VOC’s prior to leaving your facility (though this is a very costly solution) .  We can also help if you need additional assistance reducing VOC’s.


Additional Frequent Questions about Emissions

Do water borne paints count toward emissions – Yes most water based paints will still have some volatile organic compounds

 

Additional Resources on Emissions

VOC Exempt compounds list – This list gives you solvents and chemicals that are not counted toward your voc count.

List of Hazardous Air Pollutants – This is a list of hazardous air pollutants


Ultimately keeping emissions down is important for regulatory compliance, our environment, and your business costs.  By knowing how much emission you may potentially create and what contributes to your emissions you can be better prepared to properly plan for emissions reduction

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How to Blast and Paint Pipe –  A Complete Guide http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/16/blast-paint-pipe-complete-guide/ http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/16/blast-paint-pipe-complete-guide/#respond Sat, 17 Jun 2017 03:56:26 +0000 http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/?p=17094 Whether your in Pennsylvania working on Natural Gas pipelines in the Marcellus shale region or in Louisiana working on oil well lines properly painting and blasting pipe is critical to ensure you properly protect the pipe from elements.  Typically clients who choose to work with you on oil and gas pipe will want to ensure...

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Whether your in Pennsylvania working on Natural Gas pipelines in the Marcellus shale region or in Louisiana working on oil well lines properly painting and blasting pipe is critical to ensure you properly protect the pipe from elements.  Typically clients who choose to work with you on oil and gas pipe will want to ensure that you have selected a proper coating, applied it to the proper mill thickness, and prepared the pipe for the coating properly.  This guide will cover how to paint & blast pipe to ensure your coating delivers the performance it was specified to.

Critical Factor 1 in Painting & Blasting Pipe – Surface Preparation


Most of the time when you are painting & blasting pipe their will be a standard for surface preparation.  Common blast profile preparation standards include NACE or SSPC standards. To ensure your pipe  is properly blasted you want to pick a blast media that will provide the proper blast profile.  The grit size and type of media along with the pressure you use will determine how much of an anchor profile you leave.  With blast pressure you should start low and slowly increase pressure checking the profile against a visual gauge and once you are close to the desired profile you can then move on to a greater precision measurement option.  This guide further covers measurement of blast profile.  Just remember preparing the surface is critical as it will be one of two primary determinants of how well your coating performs.   Also often times it can be a good idea to have a replica tape that will be pressed on the pipe surface and capture the blast profile placed on the pipe. This allows you to have a record showcasing the blast profile has been properly completed.

Critical Factor 2 in Painting & Blasting Pipe – Coating Selection

The paint system you use on the pipe will directly determine the longevity and protection of the pipe.  The paint should be specified by the company you will be doing work for.  If it is specified or not it is always a good idea to work with a certified coatings inspector, someone who has a NACE level 1 or higher certification.  This type of certification shows that they have studied protective coating systems and ensures that they will help you with proper coating selection.  When you select a coating you should follow the technical data sheets which are provided by each paint manufacturer.  These sheets specify the paint equipment to use, the environmental conditions that need to be followed, and more.


Critical Factor 3 in Painting & Blasting Pipe – Coating Application

After the coating has been chosen, the pipe properly blasted and tested that the profile is correct, next you have applying the coating.  The proper way to apply each coating will differ slightly but in general for a majority of pipeline coatings you will typically be using a thick industrial or marine type paint product.  These types of coatings are typically applied with a paint pressure pot and conventional spray gun or airless paint sprayer.  If the paint has a short time before it hardens, you may have to consider a plural component sprayer. Depending on the paint and if it tends to separate while painting you may need an agitator in your paint pressure pot.  You should apply the paint and check occasionally to ensure you are applying the proper amount of paint to the surface, the amount of coating you should apply should be listed in wet mils which is what you will pay attention to while coating pipe. To check the wet mils you can use a wet mil gauge which we cover how to use one here.

What about painting and blasting the inside of pipe?


A common challenge of blasting & coating a pipe that we hear often is how do you prepare the inside of the pipe.  There is a manual way and a more automated way that can make blasting and painting the inside of pipe easier.  To blast the inside of a pipe you can use an angled blast nozzle.  These nozzles have an outlet out the side that angle the blast media out.  This allows you to blast inside a pipe but the challenge is that you still have to control the blast hose.  This limits how far in you can reach to blast.  As an alternative that is a bit more automated and can blast long pipe lengths easier Clemco offers a tool called the hollow blast which can be pulled through a blast pipe and blast it properly.

For painting the interior of pipe common options include a spray gun extension which allows you to reach into a pipe and can be built to the size you need.  They are available for airless or air spray guns.  You can also use a tool like the Clemco Orbiter that is pulled through a pipe and automatically paints it.


Final thoughts

Properly blasting and painting pipe is critical to ensure your coating system performs like the coating manufacturer states it will.  Proper preparation, coating selection, and application will help guarantee you get the results you should out of painting & blasting pipe. If you need help with proper equipment for your painting or blasting contact us today.


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Sanding Primer Before Painting Wood –  A Complete Guide http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/15/sanding-primer-painting-wood-complete-guide/ http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/15/sanding-primer-painting-wood-complete-guide/#respond Thu, 15 Jun 2017 18:08:39 +0000 http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/?p=17080 Primer can be an important part of painting a product as it can help improve adhesion, cover up existing coatings, and more which we cover in our article on paint primer. However after applying primer there are often still a lot of questions like should I sand after applying primer.  This is especially true when...

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Primer can be an important part of painting a product as it can help improve adhesion, cover up existing coatings, and more which we cover in our article on paint primer. However after applying primer there are often still a lot of questions like should I sand after applying primer.  This is especially true when priming wood whether it be trim, molding, or wood cabinets.  Today’s guide will cover sanding wood that has had primer applied.

Why Use Primer on wood

Paint doesn’t adhere well to wood so in order for a painted coating to be applied and stay on a wood surface priming the wood first is a great idea though not always needed.  Primer on wood will also help reduce the amount of topcoat paint you need for your wood project.  While applying primer first is helpful, there are some reasons you may need to sand before painting primed wood.

Do I need to Sand Primer on Wood before my Topcoat

You do not necessarily have to sand wood that has had primer applied.  The problem that occurs when you apply primer to wood is that the grain of the wood can rise due to paint interacting with the wood and swelling the fibers.  This causes a raised grain appearance which tends to be duller appearing when the topcoat is applied.  This is sometimes not a desirable appearance.  Some times people do like the look of raised grain.  However if you do not want your wood to have a duller appearance (raised grain) then you will typically want to sand before you apply primer.

How to Sand wood with Primer on It

The goal of sanding wood that has primer on it is to smooth down the grain that has risen while still leaving the primer intact so you do not lose the added adhesion that the primer will provide for the top coat.  To sand wood with primer on it you should consider a finer grit sandpaper (like a 220 grit sand paper).  Additionally you should consider using an orbital sander as it will not alter the appearance of the natural wood.  You may find you will need a an additional finer grit sandpaper.  Ultimately the goal of the sanding if trying to get rid of raised grain should be a smooth wood finish. If you are looking for a better overall finish the smoother the better which can at times require sanding the wood with primer on it with up to a 600 grit sand paper.

Sanding Wood That was Previously Painted

If your wood has been previously painted you will typically sand but not necessarily to fix issues with raised grain but to help promote adhesion.  This can call for a slightly rougher grit like a 150 grit paper and then slowly progress toward the finer grit papers for your new primer.  You should fine that repainting the wood will not cause it to raise the grain if it was previously sanded after primer.

Summary

For your finish to be vibrant and not dull sanding after primer will ensure that the finish is not excessively dulled when you apply your paint top coat.  You will typically use finer grit sand paper and aim to achieve a smooth wood finish so that you get a fine appearing wood finish when you apply your topcoat.


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United States Breathing Air Standards –  A Complete Guide http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/14/united-states-breathing-air-standards-complete-guide/ http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/14/united-states-breathing-air-standards-complete-guide/#respond Wed, 14 Jun 2017 13:43:10 +0000 http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/?p=17068 Whether you are getting started working as a contractor, construction worker, or taking over a new role in safety you may come across references that list requirements for breathing air.  For example sandblast hood respirators when fed by a  compressor are required to have atleast air of Grade D quality.  This standards can be confusing...

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Whether you are getting started working as a contractor, construction worker, or taking over a new role in safety you may come across references that list requirements for breathing air.  For example sandblast hood respirators when fed by a  compressor are required to have atleast air of Grade D quality.  This standards can be confusing at first but through this article we will cover breathing air standards, what breathing air standards are, and important things to know when trying to meet breathing air standards.

Where Breathing Air Standards Come from

Breathing air standards were developed by ANSI and specifically the Compressed Gas Association of ANSI.  These standards were then adopted by OSHA and enforced under the respiratory standard 29 CFR 1910.134.  The OSHA standard draws from the Gas Association Commodity Specification for air G-7-1989.

What are the Requirements for Grade D Air

To meet the Grade D breathing air standard the compressed air being supplied must consist of the following:

  • Oxygen content of 19.5-23.5%
  • Hydrocarbon (condensed oil
  • ) content of 5 milligrams per cubic meter of air or less
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) content of 10 ppm or less
  • Carbon dioxide content of 1,000 ppm or less
  • No noticeable odor
  • The employer shall ensure that compressed oxygen is not used in atmosphere-supplying respirators that have previously used compressed air
  • Water Content: High pressure cylinder air must have a dew point of at least -50o F (-45.6o C) at 1 atmosphere (14.7psi). Low pressure breathing air must have a dew point of at least 10o F (5.56o C) below the ambient temperature at 1 atmosphere (14.7 psi)

What about Grade E Breathing Air Requirements?

Grade E breathing air requirements are similar to Grade D but have a few differences. Grade E Breathing air requirements are also specified in standard G-7 1997 of the Compressed Gas Association .  It is similar to Grade D air but consists of the following differences. It applies to compressed air stored in air cylinders for breathing and differs in requirements as follows:

  • Oxygen content – 20 – 22%
  • Total Volatile Hydrocarbons – 25 ppm maximum
  • Water Content – – High pressure cylinder air must have a dew point of at least -50o F (-45.6o C) and a water vapor content of 67 ppm maximum. NFPA 1500 regulations for Fire Department use may vary from OSHA requirements

How to Ensure you comply and meet the breathing air standards

Compliance will differ slightly based on the application you will be using breathing air for.  However for each application most companies will offer equipment to properly meet the federal standard.  You should verify with a reputable company for your given application what is required to properly meet the standard.  For example to safely meet compressed air standards for sandblasting you would want to ensure you have a carbon monoxide monitor and then a proper air purifying filter unit like those that come with a Clemco blast pot and safety gear package.  You can also consider a free air pump as an alternative which would eliminate the need for carbon monoxide monitoring.  Your individual requirement will typically have similar requirements but it is always best to speak with a company that is well versed in your particular situation to ensure that the safety equipment offered will properly meet the safety requirements.

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A Complete Guide To Marketing & Growing Your Painting Business http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/13/complete-guide-marketing-growing-painting-business/ http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/13/complete-guide-marketing-growing-painting-business/#respond Tue, 13 Jun 2017 17:46:24 +0000 http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/?p=17054 Being a paint contractor or paint shop owner you have a lot to juggle from bidding jobs, to ensuring enough work is available to pay the bills, to ensuring customers are delighted by the paint work you provide, and much more.  Whether you are a single painter looking to move their business to the next...

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Being a paint contractor or paint shop owner you have a lot to juggle from bidding jobs, to ensuring enough work is available to pay the bills, to ensuring customers are delighted by the paint work you provide, and much more.  Whether you are a single painter looking to move their business to the next level or a large regional contractor growing your business can often seem difficult.  This guide seeks to provide all the options you may pursue to grow your painting business and provides ideas to help you evaluate whether certain options are working.

Step 1 to Grow Your Paint Business – Get New Customers

Its no secret that to grow your paint business you either have to get current customers to order more or get a greater number of customers.  Will work on getting current customers to order more shortly but for now lets focus on getting new customers.

The Path to New Customers for Your Painting Business

If your serious about growing your paint contracting business there are a variety of potential tools and avenues to pursue.  Will sort the list from top down to provide ideas.  Every channel will differ on its effectiveness and opportunity.  Some rules to live by, go where your competition is not and test, test, test.  Is your competition on google adwords, use it, but also try Instagram, or Facebook (more on this later). Before you test channels the first thing to do is set up a home base.

First Recommendation for Marketing your Paint Business A Website

There are a variety of options to advertise your business including using a facebook business page or similar options.  However if you are serious about developing new business you need a website as it will serve as a place to drive customers to and initiate a sales process.  The site should serve to list why someone should work with you.  It should include testimonials and visual proof (as the reason people buy a painters services are most often to eliminate the hassle of painting and to achieve a beautiful end result).  The website should also be designed so that search engines place your site at the top of their results for a local areaThis Udemy course serves as a fantastic guide on LOCAL SEO and helped us with relevant words in our market area. You will also want to consider a way to capture and follow up with people who fill out leads on your website.  Potential Options include a basic form builder like Gravity Forms or Contact Form 7.  A critical step in maximizing your opportunity is to use a plugin like Hotjar or Google Analytics to track how many people visit your contact us form and how many become customers.  If the results are lower than you hope you can consider improving the copy on the landing page to include things like testimonials or before and after photos.  You could also consider a simple chat widget that would pop up to increase engagement anywhere between 10 – 30%. Ultimately think of your website as home base for your marketing & growth pursuit as a paint business.  You will potentially use it to drive potential customers to, measure how many become customers, and more.

Landing Pages, Forms, and Email Services

Not everyone who visits your website is ready or interested in buying your product.  That is why having an email list or atleast a customer database can be critical to provide opportunities to continue to communicate with a prospect who may one day turn into a customer.  There are a variety of options including Active Campaign, Mail Chimp, and many more.  Active Campaign integrates a CRM with highly customizable email marketing and allows list creation so you could create a list that is created when customers signed up for a coupon and email them 3 times annually.  Zoho also offers a CRM and marketing suite along with invoicing (making it a streamlined solution for all aspects of helping grow your painting business.  Additionally you could keep the database of past clients and leverage direct mail occasionally to generate potential additional opportunities.

Step 2 to Grow Your Painting Business– Drive Awareness Among Prospects for Your Painting Business

Once you have your home based set up the next step to consider is getting prospects to turn into leads.  This is another area where testing can be important to determine your conversion rate. Opportunities for leads could include the following:

Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing consists of the results you see when you search for something on Google or Bing above the natural results.  Now with a bit of good SEO and local page optimization as mentioned in the section above you should be appearing in the local search results.  If you don’t take steps to appear in the natural results.  However for an extra boost you may also want to consider paid advertising through search engine marketing with Bing & Google.  The beauty of these platforms is the ability to micro target to display ads only to customers in a given geography (for example 30 miles around your city) ensuring you do not necessarily spend on ads that are not relevant.  While there are a variety of resources to learn Search Engine Marketing the one that has been easiest to understand and provides a thorough overview of all aspects of Google Ads (Bing is similar) that we found easiest to implement is Advanced Google Adwords by Brad Geddes.  Just remember Google and Bing Ads are only a few of the channels and compared to some of the alternatives like Facebook may be expensive.

Market and Grow Your Paint Business

Facebook & Instagram

Facebook boasts over 1 billion users.  Additionally the platform allows for micro targeting and you can run ads that you only get charged when an action is taken.  Additionally clicks are usually cheaper than Adwords.  There are a variety of strategies you could use.  You could drive Facebook visits to a landing page on your website that offered a 10% discount on future work and then send reminder emails very 3 – 6 months or a similar strategy.  Just remember the best way to continue to have an opportunity to grow your painting business is to have a way to follow up with your prospect occasionally until they are in need of painting services.  You could also start with a Facebook likes campaign and then boost posts highlighting a coupon (as this may give you cheaper leads for your paint business).  The key will be to experiment to see what works.   Remember to run ads you need a Facebook business page first.  Instragram ads are run from Facebook and can be selected from where ads are placed.  Instagrams visual nature may provide opportunities to capture a potential lead to help grow your paint business.

Thumbtack

Thumbtack is a site dedicated to helping customers find reliable contractors for any project.  You can sign up for a pro account and are only charged when you send a quote.  This allows you another source of potential customers to help your painting business grow that you can pick and choose when to send a quote.  You will again want to test this to see if prospects accept your offers or its maybe too competitive for your business.

Direct Mail

While there are many online choices for marketing to help grow your paint business a lot of customers do not rely on the internet, in fact some may rely on mail.  This is particularly true of baby boomers but also millennials.  One particular tactic that can help is mailing your previous painting customers once or maybe twice a year.  This helps you stay top of mind with them as new paint projects develop.  You can also try blanket canvasing particular areas you serve.  Factor in the costs ahead of time to see if direct mail may or may not make sense for your business as response rates can be as low as the 1 – 2 % range but mailing existing customers has proven to be effective.

Networking to Market & Grow Your Paint Business

While a lot of the methods above may offer you the opportunity to connect with residential paint customers what if you want to focus more on commercial opportunities.  While the ideas above can still work to grow your commercial painting, there are additional strategies that may be better suited to grow a commercial focus painting business.  For example networking in relevant industry events.  Groups like Business Networking International or if you have a particular industry segment your targeting you can consider attending their trade orgranizations.  For example we have the Gas Pipe Liners Association that seeks to provide networking within the Natural Gas Industry.  Your results from these groups can vary which is why it can be an additional idea to try when you want to grow your painting business.

Canvasing

Yes this is old school but guess what if your in an area already doing work or even have enough down time you can walk through an area and offer free quotes.  Obviously you want to consider safety and the time investment.  Compared to the other strategies the cost is low in money but will cost more in time.  Again its a strategy to test.


Final Thoughts

Just remember the key to growth is capturing new customers and delivering awesome painting work that they want to come back.  All of these channels provide options for you to market and grow your painting business.  Test all these ideas and you will eventually learn the best messaging and channels for you to pursue growth of your painting business.



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Glass Bead Blasting – Pros & Cons, Common Uses,& Equipment Needed http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/07/glass-bead-blasting-pros-cons-common-uses-equipment-needed/ http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/07/glass-bead-blasting-pros-cons-common-uses-equipment-needed/#respond Wed, 07 Jun 2017 16:13:53 +0000 http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/?p=16995 Glass bead is one of a variety of medias that you can blast with.  Like any blast media it has a variety of benefits and drawbacks.  This guide will cover important things to know about glass bead blasting including the benefits and drawbacks, equipment considerations for glass bead blasting, and more. Glass Bead Blasting Pros Glass...

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Glass bead is one of a variety of medias that you can blast with.  Like any blast media it has a variety of benefits and drawbacks.  This guide will cover important things to know about glass bead blasting including the benefits and drawbacks, equipment considerations for glass bead blasting, and more.

Glass Bead Blasting Pros

Glass beads can be safe compared to other blast medias.  In particular, glass bead blast media can be a good alternative to silica sand depending on your application, which while silica sand is still legal it is becoming more regulated and is recognized as a source of a variety of health problems including silicosis. For more on silica sand and sandblasting check out this in depth guide.   Additional benefits of glass bead blasting include that you can use them for a few cycles before they no longer clean a surface.  It is common for glass bead media to last 4 – 6 cycles before needing to be replaced.   Finally, glass beads can be used in a suction or pressure blast cabinet.  This makes it versatile and can help offer a blast cleaning media that keeps your blast cabinet costs down (suction feed cabinets are more affordable than pressure feed).

Glass Bead Blasting Cons

Its not as fast as other medias at cleaning and doesn’t last as long as harder blast medias like steel.  Since glass is not as hard compared to steel grit, steel shot, and even coal slag it doesn’t clean as fast as these blast medias.  Additionally, glass beads do not leave a profile, which can be problematic if you need a profile for your paint to adhere.  Finally, compared to steel grit or shot and aluminum oxide glass bead blast media is only reusable a few times compared to numerous times with steel blast medias.

Common Glass Bead Blast Media Uses

Knowing the benefits of glass beads, it is also good to know the common uses for glass bead blasting.  Glass bead blasting is well suited for use in sandblast cabinets where blast media will be recovered.  It is effective at cleaning a surface without leaving much of a blast profile.  This makes it ideal for cleaning paint or coatings off a part as well as removal of rust.  If a profile is needed though blast media like steel grit or aluminum oxide can be required as glass bead typically doesn’t profile when blasting

Common Glass Bead Blast Media Sizes

While glass bead blast media comes in a variety of sizes ranging from 40 – 325 mesh sizes there are mesh sizes that are more common.  Common mesh sizes for glass bead blasting include 50-70, 60 -80, 70-100, 120 – 200.  The fastest cleaning glass bead is typically 60-100 mesh.  The right size blast media will ultimately depend on your individual application.

Glass Bead Blasting Equipment

Glass bead is meant to be reused.and so will require specific equipment. Glass bead is typically used in a sandblast cabinet.  Specifically since it is not a very heavy blast media it works well in a suction feed sandblast cabinet.  Using glass bead with a standard sandblast pot is not very common but you can used crush glass with a standard sandblast pot.

Glass Bead Blasting Tips

In general the higher pressure you use the greater impact and faster you will be able to blast.  However it can also create changes in your product surface.  Between suction and pressure blasting, pressure is faster but again can create changes in the surface (if blast time or pressure is not well controlled).  It is always a good idea to start at a low blast pressure and gradually increase to determine the blast pressure that is best suited for your needs.  The maximum blast pressure for glass bead blasting is typically 80 psi for suction blast cabinets and up to 40 PSI for pressure blasting. Using these reference numbers you should be able to slowly determine the right blast pressure and time that will work well for your use.

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Waterborne Automotive Paints – A Complete Guide http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/05/waterborne-automotive-paints-a-complete-guide/ http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/05/waterborne-automotive-paints-a-complete-guide/#respond Mon, 05 Jun 2017 19:57:07 +0000 http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/?p=16972 Whether you are an auto body shop, manufacturer, or wood worker you may see that companies are moving to waterborne paints more and more often.  You also may have heard horror stories associated with waterborne automotive paints where the finish doesn’t adhere and comes off while a driver is driving or that it is impossible...

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Whether you are an auto body shop, manufacturer, or wood worker you may see that companies are moving to waterborne paints more and more often.  You also may have heard horror stories associated with waterborne automotive paints where the finish doesn’t adhere and comes off while a driver is driving or that it is impossible to get the finishes to come out with the same quality and clarity of solvent based paints.  While some of these stories have elements of truth, some do not.  This guide will cover waterborne automotive paints, how to spray them, why to consider them, and frequent challenges of using them.

Pros of Waterborne Automotive Paints


Waterborne automotive paints offer a variety of benefits.  The biggest benefit of waterborne automotive paint is that it doesn’t cause as much harm to the environment.  Compared to solvent based automotive paints, water borne automotive paints are composed of about 10 percent solvents compared to around 74% for waterborne automotive paints.  States usually require a license based on the volume of VOC’s that you produce.  Using a water borne paint will reduce your VOC’s that you produce and depending on your area may be required.  Additionally waterborne paints typically have higher coverage than solvent based paints (due to higher solids content) which lets them cover a car more efficiently and spend less time applying paint.  Finally, waterborne paint is a bit more readily available because many automotive companies are now required to use water borne paints which means that it can be found at the majority of auto body paint supply stores.


Cons of Waterborne Automotive Paints

While waterborne paints offer a variety of benefits they also can present unique challenges.  First, waterborne paints require greater control of the application environment like the paint booth temperature, moisture levels, and quality of compressed air you have in your shop.  Failure to keep temperature & humidity within the recommended range can lead to problems like slow dry times allowing for increased risk of contaminations of your paint finish or changes in production.  Additionally as a general rule, waterborne automotive paints will typically not be quite as durable as a solvent based alternative. Additionally due to higher solids content, waterborne paints take a little more consideration to get them to spray out well and a more expensive spray gun.


Specific Tips to Spray Waterborne Paints

If you have considered the pros and cons of automotive waterborne paints and have decided that you will be using a waterborne automotive paint the next thing to consider is how to work with water borne automotive paints.

Remember you still have solvents in waterborne automotive paint

The first thing to remember is that just the base coat typically consists of a full waterborne product while the clear coats are still solvent based.  To spray water based paints you want equipment to have stainless steel fluid passages or other material that will resist corrosion.  While the majority of gravity feed spray guns will come with stainless fluid passages, if you will be using a pressure pot a standard pressure pot is usually carbon steel.  Ensuring that your equipment is stainless steel will prevent it from rusting or prematurely wearing.


WaterBorne Automotive Paints Dry Differently Than Solvent Borne Paints

In addition to having stainless steel for your spray gun and/or pressure pot, you may want to consider a solution to speed up curing times with water borne automotive paints.  Unlike solvent based paints, cure time is accelerated by turbulent air movement across the vehicles surface which can be accomplished by air curing towers.   Solvent borne paints are typically accelerated by temperature elevation.  Typically you still want temperature control with water borne paints as temperature control will prevent issues with application as water borne coatings tend not to do as well adhering to cold surfaces along with other challenges that can result from poor environmental control.


Waterborne Automotive Paint May Look different initially then the final dry color

Waterborne automotive paints colors can change as they dry which can take a bit of getting use to if your use to determining the way the final finish appears based on the initial coat sprayed. This drying effect can also require learning when you are doing touch up work with automotive waterborne coatings.


Ultimately making the switch to waterborne automotive paint or using automotive waterborne paint can take a bit of adjustment if your use to primarily using solvent based automotive paints.  By understanding the unique challenges you can better prepare to use the automotive paint.  If you need tips on adjusting your spray gun check out this guide with photos that show what a good finish spray pattern will look like.

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Sandblast Cabinet Visibility Problems & Solutions – A Complete Guide http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/02/sandblast-cabinet-visibility-problems-solutions-a-complete-guide/ http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/2017/06/02/sandblast-cabinet-visibility-problems-solutions-a-complete-guide/#respond Sat, 03 Jun 2017 00:50:45 +0000 http://www.pittsburghsprayequip.com/?p=16953 A common problem that people experience when using a sandblast cabinet is overcoming visibility problems while using their blast cabinet.  Even with a good light installed they may still not be able to see well inside of their blast cabinet. If it seems like blast media is excessively present in your cabinet while blasting you...

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A common problem that people experience when using a sandblast cabinet is overcoming visibility problems while using their blast cabinet.  Even with a good light installed they may still not be able to see well inside of their blast cabinet. If it seems like blast media is excessively present in your cabinet while blasting you need to consider your blast cabinets ventilation to see what is causing your sandblast cabinet to have such reduced visibility while blasting.  This article will cover practical steps you can take to evaluate your blast cabinets ventilation to see if you can make adjustments to better address the ventilation issues or if you may need to consider a different blast cabinet dust collector to better address your visibility issues.

Step 1 – Adjust the air flow Damper on Your Blast Cabinet

If your blast cabinet has a damper that is able to be opened or closed and your visibility is poor while you are using the sandblast cabinet you should check the air flow baffle.  For maximum visibility the air flow baffle should be completely open which would allow for the most air flow through your blast cabinet.

Step 2 – Ensure Your Seals and Blast Cabinet Gaskets are not excessively Worn

The seals that line your blast cabinet window, doors, and openings are also an important factor that determines how well your blast cabinet dust collector will function.  If the seals for any of these areas are worn they can cause air to flow in around the openings of the cabinet which can negatively impact the removal of dust from your blast cabinet, replacing the seals around the cabinet openings can help restore dust collection to the original quality and eliminate issues with poor visibility in your sandblast cabinet.

Step 3 – If you have a blast cabinet dust collector ensure it is working well

If you have a true sandblast cabinet dust collector you will also want to check that it is properly pulling.  A dust collector places negative pressure on your blast cabinet and you should be able to verify the proper negative pressure in inches of water column that your blast cabinet is designed to operate at.   To do this you need a slack tube manometer that will allow you to measure negative pressure within your blast cabinet dust collector hose both from the cabinet to the blast media recovery unit and to the actual dust collector.  If either of these hoses do not register proper negative draw from them you want to verify if they are kinked which could reduce air flow, if they are not you will need to review your sandblast cabinet dust collector to see if it is functioning properly.


Step 4 – Ensure your Sandblast Cabinet Dust Collector Cartridge is ok

A final area to check if your collector seems to be performing properly among the other factors mentioned is the condition of your blast cabinet dust collector cartridge.  If your collector cartridge is very old or looks loaded down with dust it may be that the collector cartridge needs replaced.


If none of the suggestions mentioned help with your sandblast cabinet visibility here’s your next steps


If you try all of these tips and still notice that your blast cabinet has poor visibility you may need to consider the type of collector you have with your blast cabinet.  There are a variety of options for blast cabinet dust collectors.  A higher CFM dust collector will do better at keeping the interior of your blast cabinet easily visible. An additional option that can be important is whether or not the blast cabinet dust collector will pulse or be manually cleaned.  For higher production an automatic pulse cabinet will be better able to handle the cabinet dust.  Ultimately if you’re having trouble getting the right visibility in your blast cabinet you may need to even consider running it through a few cabinets with different dust collector sizes and types to ensure that a potentially upgraded blast cabinet dust collector will properly handle the dust that is created in your sandblast cabinet or talk with a blast cabinet company familiar with dust levels created with various blast applications.  Either way you want to ensure that a collector you may consider will be properly able to handle the dust volume that your generating.     If you need additional help with deciding on a dust collector to help with visibility in your blast cabinet you can contact us today.

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