Making Old Machines Look New

July 3, 2013

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When is it time to repaint your company’s expensive machinery? While there is no black and white answer to that question, there are two guidelines to follow when considering “re-tooling” your equipment with a new paint job. The first is simply appearance: when your machinery looks beaten up and tired, it’s time. The second is protection: when it looks beaten up that means that your machinery is being exposed to corrosion. You want to keep your machinery’s protection in place, or you risk premature failure.

There are many coatings that can be used to protect your equipment, but the two most common types are a one part alkyd enamel or a two part epoxy/urethane. Sometimes the decision on which product to use is driven by how significant the need is. If you only need to touch up your machinery, then the enamel may be the right choice. If you need more extensive or durable machinery painting, then the epoxy is the better choice.

Alkyd enamels do not dry, they cure. This means that as their solvents evaporate they form a cross-linked structure at the molecular level. This makes them harden over time – the longer they cure the harder they become. The first day they may still be tacky; after a week they are extremely hard.

If more gloss is desired, or more chemical resistance is needed, hardeners may be added to alkyds. This makes them similar to epoxies, in that it starts a chemical reaction that will harden the paint. If not used within the cure time, the paint is useless. Typical alkyd enamel can be sealed in the can and reused at a later date.

Epoxies are generally more durable and provide superior scratch and abrasion resistance. This is because they typically contain extremely small particles of glass or silica in their formulations. These particles give them better build or fill qualities, which means they will quickly level on coated surfaces. They are a two part system, which means that once mixed they must be applied within hours or they will harden and become impossible to apply.

When it’s time for equipment painting at your shop, there are lots of options available to your painting company, California based or anywhere else. Always ask them what type of coating they will be using, and why they have chosen that particular option.

Questions or comments?

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