Paint Finishing Equipment
Paint finishing equipment is the broad category of tools and machines that includes all devices used in the paint finishing process. By definition, the paint finishing process is the application of coats of paint or a finish to a surface. There are many different types of paints and finishes that vary in characteristics such as color, hardness, durability, sheen and other attributes. Finishes can be applied both for visual appeal and function and the methods used to apply them differ greatly as well.
Quick links to Paint Finishing Equipment Information
The History of Paint Finishing Equipment
Early History of Paint Finishing Equipment
To discuss the history of paint finishing equipment, we must begin with paint itself. Archaeologists believe that humans have been making paint-like substances for at least 40,000 years, but likely as long as 100,000 years ago. They support this belief with the findings of Blombos Cave in South Africa. There, they found a 100,000 year old yellowish red colored clay called ochre. In that same cave they found possibly one of the earliest examples of paint finishing equipment that we have–a complete toolkit used for grinding pigments into a paint-like substance. By the time of the Romans, people were making paint mixed with egg yolks. The yolks created a stronger and harder finish.
Seventeenth century painters ground paint using mortar and pestle tools. Because they used white powder lead-based oil paints without proper protection, many house painters ended up getting lead poisoning. In 1718, a British man named Marshall Smith invented a paint grinding machine, which increased the efficiency of painting projects.
Paint Finishing Equipment in the Industrial Revolution
Paint finishing equipment developed rapidly during the Industrial Revolution, when manufacturers began grinding paint in steam mills. Paint became increasingly popular as people realized that it could serve as a protective coating that kept walls from rotting. In the early 1880s, workers first used compressed air paint spraying equipment, when they applied it to the Southern Pacific Railway. Then, in 1887, Joseph Brinks invented the hand pumped cold water paint spraying machine. Brinks, who was the maintenance supervisor of the Marshall Field’s Wholesale Store in Chicago, invented it so he could whitewash the store’s sub-basement walls. Five years later, Francis Davis Millet used Brink’s paint spray machine at the Chicago World’s Fair. There, he directed workers to whitewash all the buildings being used during the fair with a paint mixture made from oil and white lead. He found that industrial spray painting was much easier and took far less time to complete than brush painting.
Equipment in the 1900s
Paint finishing equipment developed further starting in the mid-1900s. First, in 1938 Indianapolis, Harold Ransburg and Harry Green began experimenting with ways to conserve paint using electric processes. They received a patent for their process in 1941. Shortly afterwards, Ransburg opened his own paint finishing equipment company. During World War II, the American government commissioned his company to make machinery with which factory workers could paint ammunition boxes and weapons like bazookas. After the war ended, Ransburg patented electrostatic painting. Manufacturers quickly began purchasing his equipment, as it offered significant savings on material. Also, in 1949, Edward Seymour invented aerosol paint cans.
Current Paint Finishing Equipment
Since those early days of industrial painting, scientists have realized the dangers of many of the paints used in the past. Fortunately, many industries have since contributed to the development and advancement of paint finishing equipment. Paint manufacturers, for example, have found ways to chemically improve paints, finishes, stains and other coatings in order to enhance desired characteristics while minimizing any negative aspects. Likewise, the scientific community has developed and continues to develop alternatives to harsh chemicals that endanger water supplies or plant and animal life. These alternatives are becoming more available all the time.
Also, different governments have stepped in to address the biological and environmental concerns regarding the disposal of paints and solvents. They contribute via environmental regulations. Mechanical and engineering innovations in the tools and devices themselves have also led to increased efficiencies and ease of use. Engines and motors are being made with fewer parts to decrease the possibility of breakage or part failure which minimizes downtime and repair costs. Their size is also shrinking while their output is the same if not greater, meaning that less power or fuel is required to operate and transport these devices. High volume low pressure (HVLP) fine finish sprayers are one such example. Tighter seals and valves within the hydraulic pumps, pneumatic hoses and transport tubes give operators precise control through more accurate sprayers causing a reduction in wasted time and paint.
We imagine that, as time goes on, engineers, manufacturers and scientists will continue to develop better, healthier and more efficient paint and paint finishing equipment. We look forward to seeing where their innovation will take us.
Paint Equipment Design
Different types of paints and finishes require different methods of application and different types of paint equipment. Most paint jobs require several coats of both primer and regular paint. For this reason, manufacturers often custom design paint finishing systems for their customers.
Manufacturers select and design paint finishing equipment based on customer needs and variables. They typically consider application specifications such as: size of operation (small individual project, large industrial application, etc.), how quickly the project must be completed, how well the item being painted must be covered, level of automation required, the space available at the painting workshop, the toxicity of the paint fumes (may require booth) and standard requirements. When picking out the coating that the equipment will spray, they compare them based on: desired drying time, molecule cohesion and viscosity.
Paint finishing equipment can have all kinds of components, depending on their configuration. Common components include: air compressors, hydraulic pumps, valves, hoses and the like. In addition, paint finishing equipment is often accompanied by ovens. Ovens assist in processes such as paint drying and powder curing.
Types of Paint Finishing Equipment
Paint equipment can range from a simple paintbrush to automated systems called paint machines.
The most basic tools include paint brushes and rollers, air brushes and heat guns. Other equipment normally used in painting projects includes painter's tape, dip sticks, sandpaper, roller trays, and drop cloths.
Paint machines are systems used primarily in manufacturing industries for advanced painting projects. These systems use robots and conveyors to expedite the painting process. Operators can control them remotely using computer technology.
Paint booths are a general piece of paint finishing equipment used during painting. These structures are designed to keep contaminants out of the painting area, as they contain paint fumes and any overspray. Dust and other contaminants can ruin an otherwise smooth coat of paint and the fumes are hazardous when inhaled.
Spray booths are paint booths designed used exclusively for paint spraying operations. Inside spray booths, they use spray guns. These ventilated enclosures come in a wide range of designs, from small cabinets to entire rooms that can accommodate the machine operator in addition to the items to be coated.
Paint sprayers, or spray guns, are triggered guns that spray a thin, even coat of paint onto surfaces. They are often used in paint booths. Paint spray equipment pieces are distinguished from manual application equipment by their superior spray finish.
Spray Painting Systems
Spray painting systems are complete arrangements of spray painting equipment that is used for painting and finishing. Spray painting systems typically include: the spray gun nozzle, a pressurized paint container or paint reservoir, an air compressor and hoses or tubing to connect these components. Paint spraying improves efficiency because it wastes less paint than brushing or rolling and faster. Many of these examples of paint equipment are items found in a paint system.
Paint shakers, also known as paint mixers, mix the contents in a sealed paint can by shaking, rotating, spinning, inverting and rocking it at high speeds. Paint shakers are common components of small-scale painting projects, such as house painting.
Striping machines paint lines on pavement to mark parking lots, roads and airports, as well as on grass or dirt for sports fields. These machines basically consist of a small engine, an air compressor, the spray nozzle and a series of valves and hoses.
Powder Coating Equipment
Powder coating equipment is used for a special kind of spray painting that works with electrically charged powder instead of liquid paint. Electrostatic painting, also called powder coating, uses this equipment in its paint systems. Both the product and the powder are charged so that when the powder is sprayed from the gun it will be strongly attracted to the product’s metal surface.
Airless Paint Sprayers
Airless paint sprayers are pieces of equipment that produce a fine mist of paint through use of a hydraulic pump instead of an air compressor. They apply paint with exceptional evenness and saturation. They are known for their thoroughness and the excellent adhesion of the paint they spray. Airless paint sprayers are popular in industries including manufacturing, chemical and marine.
Hardcoat systems are able to apply hard paint coatings on many different surfaces by using spray guns, robotic spray, flowcoat and curtain coat, among other methods.
Paint Finishing Equipment Applications
The main reasons that people request a paint or finish application are to protect and/or improve the appearance of their item. When seeking to protect a product, customers typically seek finishing coats as a layer of protection against harmful environmental and chemical agents. As far as appearance goes, manufacturers can set up paint finishing equipment so they distribute certain colors, textures or patterns.
The paint finishing equipment created by manufacturers is used nearly everywhere paint is found, because anyone completing a paint job must implement at least one type of paint finishing equipment. Paint equipment can be used to spray parts and products in residential, commercial and industrial painting applications. Examples of specific applications include: custom automotive refinishing, truck spraying, aerospace refinishing, industrial coating, clean room, house painting, large-scale art, wood finishing, plastic parts production and furniture manufacturing.
Standards and Specifications for Paint Finishing Equipment
Paints and paint finishing equipment are beholden to a variety of safety and compliance standards. The standards to which your paint and equipment must adhere depends on your application, industry and location.
For example, if you plan on using your equipment to coat or paint an aircraft, both your equipment and paint need to be FFA approved. Also, if you plan on using your equipment in a workplace, as most people do, you need to make sure that they are OSHA certified. In addition, ASTM International puts out standard guidelines related to a variety of paint finishing and coating applications, including: application, surface preparation, architectural coatings, artist paints, labeling of paint-related health hazards, biodeterioration, standard test methods for liquid paint driers, concrete treatments, pipeline coatings and more.
To find out what safety and compliance standards your paint finishing equipment should meet, talk to your industry leaders.
Things to Consider When Purchasing Paint Finishing Equipment
If you are interested in high quality paint finishing equipment, you need to partner with a high quality supplier. The most important things to consider, when discussing your application with a potential supplier, are: the scope of your application, the intricacy of your application (integrated patterns, designs, textures, etc.), the speed at which you would like apply paint, your drying speed applications, your standard requirements, your paint quality preferences (fast-drying, corrosion resistant, sheen, hardness, durability, etc.), your budget, your timeline, your delivery preferences and your post-delivery support preferences. We recommend that, to help you remember your talking points, you write all of these details down.
When you are ready, scroll up towards the top of this page to find our list of industry leading paint finishing equipment manufacturers. Check out their profiles and pick out three or four to whom you’d like to speak at length. Then, reach out with your questions. After you’ve had a fruitful conversation with each of them, compare and contrast them and pick the right one for you. Good luck!
Paint Finishing Equipment Terms
- A material used to wear away a surface by rubbing. Powdered Pumice, steel wool and sandpaper are all examples of abrasives.
- The ability of one material to stick to another.
- The mechanical bonding of a coating to a rough surface.
- Barrier Coat
- A first coating, which is intended to isolate later coatings from the substrate.
- An ingredient or combination of ingredients that are used to hold pigment particles together.
- A coating’s ability to dry over a void or a crack in wood.
- An agent used in many coatings, which causes a reaction. Without catalysts, many coatings would be less durable.
- Small cracks that develop on the finishing, usually due to environmental conditions.
- The attraction of particles within a coating.
- The drying of a coating.
- Marking, scratching or gouging a finish for a more antique look.
- Dust Nib
- A raised bump on a painted surface due to dust particles that have dried into the paint. More often than not, dust nibs may be removed by compounding and sanding the finish.
- A coating process that uses electric current to apply paint onto a product. Electrocoats are admirable for their ability to coat more complex parts and shapes.
- Flash Point
- The temperature at which a finish will ignite when exposed to an open flame.
- Flatting Down
- The process of using abrasives on a painted surface to create a smooth finish.
- Flatting Paste
- An additive that reduces the gloss of a finish.
- The reflectivity or sheen of a coating.
- An additive mixed with the paint coating to promote the cure of resins.
- Mar Resistance
- The ability of a given finish to resist scratch and rub marks.
- A group of paints that have metal flakes in their makeup.
- Airborne particles that stick to a finished surface. These include unwanted paint particles, chemical contaminants and other airborne particles.
- The raw colorant that gives paints and stains their tones.
- A blend of components that are made to eliminate minor surface imperfections, including small or fine scratches, small amounts of oxidation and water spots.
- The surface onto which a paint coating is applied.
- The thickness of a finish or coating while in a liquid state.
- Water Base
- A coating or finish that uses water for carrying its resins.