Dry Ice Blasting Guide

dry ice blasting guide

If you run an industrial facility, cleanliness is of the utmost importance. Not only does a cleaner workplace look more professional and help to boost worker morale, an unclean industrial site can cause serious health and safety issues. One innovative cleaning method to look into is dry ice blasting.

what is dry ice blasting

What Is Dry Ice Blasting?

Dry ice blasting is an industrial cleaning process that has been adopted by a wide variety of industries. This process is a type of carbon dioxide cleaning. The solid form of carbon dioxide, commonly called dry ice, is sent through an air stream toward a surface to remove contamination. The dry ice in the form of small pellets travels through a blast hose at extremely fast speeds. When it impacts the surface, it converts to a gas in a process called sublimation. This process, which involves COgas expanding rapidly, helps to remove the residue.

Dry ice blasting is a type of abrasive cleaning similar to sand or soda blasting, where a pressurized stream of air accelerates particles toward a surface to clean it, but dry ice blasting has a wider range of applications and can be used in extremely sensitive environments like food manufacturing.

The mechanism for dry ice cleaning depends on the following three factors:

  • Kinetic energy: Dry ice is softer and less compacted than other common media like grit, sand and PMB. The cleaning equipment accelerates the dry ice pellets to near supersonic speed, and when they collide with the surface, they sublime and a small amount of energy is transferred to the surface. This process reduces the amount of abrasion to the underlying material.
  • Thermal shock: As the dry ice pellets hit the surface and sublime, heat is absorbed from the residue on the surface. This quick heat transfer from the residue’s top layer produces temperature gradients within the microlayers of the residue. This then causes microcracks within the residue, which weakens the residue’s adhesion to the surface.
  • Thermal-kinetic effect: When the dry ice pellet sublimes, it expands to a volume nearly 800 times that of the pellet. This expansion helps remove the residue from the underlying surface.

Benefits

Dry ice blasting offers many advantages over traditional cleaning methods:

dry ice blasting benefits

  • Environmentally friendly: Dry ice comes from recaptured CO2 emissions. During the blasting process, there are no solvents or chemicals involved, and there is no secondary waste to clean up. There’s also no water used — which means that mold and bacteria are less likely to grow. This cleaning method is also considered safe for the food industry and meets USDA, FDA and EPA guidelines.
  • Cleans more effectively: Cleaning with dry ice is faster, more thorough and can often be done without disassembling or reassembling the equipment to be cleaned. It can easily reach areas that are hard to access and almost impossible to clean by any other means. Dry ice blasting leaves a clean, dry surface that can be recoated. This method of cleaning is aggressive enough to handle difficult surfaces but sensitive enough that it can be used with delicate equipment.
  • Less downtime: There’s less downtime involved with dry ice blasting. Equipment usually does not have to be taken apart beforehand, and there is no dry time or cool down time required.
  • Less waste: Because the dry ice pellets evaporate upon impact, the only clean up required is the removed debris itself.
  • Less dangerous: There are none of the hazards of cleaning with chemicals. Dry ice is non-toxic, non-abrasive, non-flammable and non-conductive.
  • Reduces costs: Because the process is faster and there is less downtime than with other methods, labor costs are also lower. Because it is safe for the environment, you can also avoid the costly environmental clean-up requirements of chemical cleaning methods.
  • Extends the life of the equipment: Dry ice blasting does not abrade, wear or erode the equipment, which means the equipment will last longer.

Industrial Applications

industrial applications for dry ice blasting

Many industrial facilities and warehouses are now turning to dry ice blasting, which completes the job three to five times faster, doesn’t produce secondary waste and is particularly good at dealing with difficult-to-remove materials. Industrial dry ice cleaning is more effective than traditional cleaning methods when it comes removing the toughest grease, dirt and adhesives. While pressure washing and steam cleaning require that the equipment dry out, ice blasting allows you to start using your equipment again right away.

Here are some common industrial uses of dry ice blasting:

  • Adhesives: Dry ice blasting removes adhesives much more effectively than traditional methods because the lower temperature weakens the adhesive bond. Many industries are now using this method to remove old labels from containers that are being recycled. Because abrasive methods produce heat, they cannot effectively remove some adhesive materials.
  • Aerospace equipment: This innovative cleaning method is particularly effective in electrically charged work environments. Frozen CO2 is a gas and does not conduct electricity, so it is a safe choice in aerospace environments. Dry ice blasting does a great job cleaning foam insulation, coatings, sealants, wiring, controls, aviation grease and carbon materials found in aerospace facilities.
  • Automotive: Dry ice blasting works particularly well in automotive manufacturing, where it is used to clean E-coat systems, electronics, wiring, controls, gauges, molds, tools, presses and dies. It is also used for cleaning cranes, saws, cooling fans, ceiling fans and other warehouse equipment. This cleaning method is ideal for lines that are constantly operational because production doesn’t have to be temporarily halted for disassembly or drying.
  • Engineered wood: Using dry ice blasting to clean wood presses saves time, reduces labor costs and is safer for employees. Traditionally, workers used a laborious, manual cleaning process that required tools like angle grinders. This is a dangerous process and requires the employees to work inside the machines, where they risk of inhaling harmful residue and dust. This manual method of cleaning can also be ineffective, as some unreachable parts of the machines cannot be cleaned. Dry ice blasting, on the other hand, is cost-effective and 85 percent faster than traditional cleaning methods. Because presses, dryers and vents do not have to be manually cleaned, it’s also safer for employees.
  • Ethanol plants: Corn dust and dried distillers grain tend to accumulate during ethanol production, which creates frequent maintenance issues for ethanol plant equipment. Dust coating the walls, tunnels and grain pits negatively affect the performance of the stack economizers, thermal oxidizers, induced draft fans and coils. Dry ice blasting efficiently removes the dust from these machines without producing a secondary waste stream. Routine dry ice cleaning tends to make the more involved cleaning procedures during annual or bi-annual maintenance shutdowns much easier, which saves plants thousands of dollars in energy expenses.
  • Fire remediation: Dry ice cleaning does an excellent job of removing toxic residues, soot and the smells associated with a fire. Insurance companies often work with independent dry ice blasters because they can quickly clean locations that have been damaged by smoke and fire.
  • Food processing: Dry ice blasting removes grease, dirt and food residue from pots, stove-tops, grills, utensils, baking ovens and all surfaces in the food-service industry. The CO2 pellets will not contaminate food, surfaces or cooking equipment. In fact, it actually sanitizes as it cleans — and is approved and endorsed by organizations such as the FDA, EPA and USDA.
  • General manufacturing: The buildup of dirt, grease, soot and oil in manufacturing facilities can cause machinery to malfunction and create an unsafe working environment. Dry ice blasting provides a fast, safe and affordable way to clean machinery without having to disassemble it or cool it down.
  • Heat Recovery Steam Generators: HRSG systems have always required regular cleanings to increase their generating power and maintain efficient energy production. If the input and output tubes are properly cleaned, back pressure decreases and output increases — which leads to more generated power. Dry ice blasting is considered the best cleaning method for this job.
  • Historial restoration: The aim of historical restoration is to return a structure to its original state. The underlying surfaces must be uncovered, and it’s imperative this is not done with chemicals or in an abrasive way that could affect the integrity of the surface. Chemicals can seep into stone, for instance, and abrasive cleaning methods can scratch and damage the surface. Dry ice cleaning allows the surface to be cleaned without causing any damage to the substrate. The operators can use this method on marble, glass and onyx without damaging the surface at all. There is also no secondary waste produced by this method, and it’s much quicker than other restoration methods.
  • Hospitals: Dry ice blasting is not toxic and therefore can also be used in hospitals. It will stop mold, mildew and other fungi from growing, and will also eliminate odors at their source by destroying the bacterial host environment, instead of using a masking agent. Dry ice blasting is 100 percent ecologically safe and harmless to humans.
  • Medical device manufacturing: Dry ice cleaning helps medical device manufacturers meet the strict standards of quality and consistency. This cleaning method allows manufacturers to effectively clean contaminants from cavities, vents and other places that are difficult to reach — and does so without leaving any chemical residue. Because dry ice cleaning is non-abrasive and contains no chemicals, it can extend the life of a parts mold. It also works on a variety of equipment, including catheter tips, surgical device handles and instrument trays.
  • Mold removal: Traditionally, mold removal methods entailed sanding and scraping, which is time-consuming and often ineffective when trying to reach small spaces. Other methods such as soda blasting and chemical cleaning create poor visibility and require cleanup afterward. The only way to ensure the complete removal of the mold is with dry ice blasting — it removes not only the mold itself but also its roots, leaving the surface completely mold-free.
  • Oilfield and petroleum operations: Oilfield equipment is often slippery, dirty and contaminated, which can cause health problems and safety concerns. This equipment frequently accumulates acids, bitumen, chemicals and heavy oils, which need to be regularly removed. Dry ice blasting this equipment eliminates the risk of accidents and premature wear on close-tolerance pieces of equipment.
  • Plastics: With today’s high manufacturing standards, plastic part manufacturers must keep their mold cavities and vents exceptionally clean. If unwanted surface residues accumulate in the molds, this can lead to inferior product quality and possibly damage the tools. Clogged vents can also present a challenge for manufacturers. Cleaning these molds with traditional methods such as chemicals and hand tools is tedious and often ineffective. Using dry ice blasting allows molds to be cleaned in a fraction of the time and at their operating temperature.
  • Printing: Printing requires precision, so it’s important that that debris and other unwanted materials do not make their way into its components. Dry ice blasting cleans conveyors, ink boxes, rails, rollers, guides and more without the need for disassembly. This cleaning method removes ink and paper pulp buildup, grease, oils and paper dust — and it’s 80 percent faster than scraping by hand or solvent-based cleaning methods. Dry ice blasting improves print quality and reduces the amount of material that is thrown away. It also extends the lifespan of expensive parts such as motors, chains and gripper bars.
  • Rubber: Rubber molders face a major problem known as mold fouling, which is the accumulation of cured material and mold release agents. This build-up causes blemishes and undesirable flash, which make the molds unusable and requires the line to be shut down for cleaning. Dry ice cleaning these materials is far superior to traditional cleaning methods like glass bead blasting, which can be consuming, expensive, damaging and sometimes ineffective.
  • Textiles: In the textile industry, accumulation of lint, glue and other materials is common. Dry ice blasting can remove these things without damaging the equipment.
  • Tool dies: Dry ice blasting is considered the best method for cleaning dies. Because the dry ice is softer than other blasting materials, it maintains the critical tolerances of the dies better than other methods. It can even be used when the dies are still hot, which saves time.

Clean Your Facilities With Alpine Painting and Restoration

our dry ice blasting services

Alpine Painting and Restoration has the tools to effectively remove contaminants and debris from your facility without doing any damage to your equipment or surfaces. If you live in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Delaware, check out our industrial cleaning services. We are able to clean practically anything that falls under the industrial category — from masonry to heavy manufacturing. And our equipment has the capability to pressure-wash with intensities from 2,500 to 25,000 PSI, so we can adjust the pressure based on how aggressive of a cleaning your facility requires.

Our goal is to make your facility look great and last a long time. If you have any questions or would like to receive a free quote, give us a call at (215) 348-4410 or contact us online via our form. We will respond to requests within 48 hours and provide you with a timely estimate on your project.

Warehouse Cleaning Tips

Despite their best efforts, many owners and operators of warehouses struggle to keep their facilities clean. During the day, everyone’s busy with the business of doing business, and soon things begin to get covered in dust and look disorganized. But there are ways to reduce dust in a warehouse and to generally use a warehouse cleaning procedure that keeps things as much in order as possible. Here’s a look at warehouse cleaning tips you can use to keep your facility in the best possible day-to-day condition.

Create a Schedule With Goals

Nothing gets done without a schedule. Make sure that there is regularly scheduled time for cleaning, and also create goals around what successful cleaning looks like. In time, this schedule will simply become ingrained into your company’s culture, and keeping a warehouse clean won’t feel like such a burden or chore.

Make Assignments

Just as it’s important to create schedules and goals around warehouse cleaning, you also need to make assignments. If it’s not someone’s specific duty to clean a certain portion of a warehouse, everyone will simply assume it’s going to be done by someone else. So, when you’re wondering how to clean a warehouse, start by creating the schedule and creating the goals, and then take a second step by making specific assignments.

Clean as You Go

You don’t necessarily need a warehouse cleaning procedure that’s put into place once a week or once a month. Instead, you can emphasize cleaning as you go. Again, with the right training and the right commitment, cleaning as you go can become second-nature to your team members in time. When you clean as you go, your warehouse always looks organized, uncluttered and sparkling — and you never have to stop the work at hand to spend an extended amount of time cleaning.

Have the Right Equipment and Supplies

If you’re going to work with team members on how to clean a warehouse, you’re going to need to provide the right supplies and equipment. It’s hard to ask anyone to take on the task of cleaning if they don’t also have the stuff needed to get the job done. Work with procurement to regularly check and refill cleaning supplies, including cleaning solutions, paper towels, mops and other important tools. When you have what’s needed to complete a warehouse cleaning procedure, the procedure itself becomes far easier to execute.

Get Rid of Your Inventory

When you want to reduce dust in a warehouse and generally keep a space as clean as possible, one trick is to turn over inventory as quickly as possible. This isn’t always easy and you may find that you have little control in this realm. But turning over inventory limits the number of boxes that simply sit around and begin to stack and collect dust. In fact, quickly turning over inventory forces team members to do at least a little bit of limited cleaning as they go about their days.

Call on Alpine Painting and Restoration

When your warehouse cleaning needs spiral out of control, you can always call on Alpine Painting and Restoration. One of our specialties is industrial cleaning, and we have the tools, processes and talented team to get the job done. Contact us today to learn more about warehouse cleaning tips and how to clean a warehouse successfully.

Electrostatic Painting Guide

Why Restoration With Electrostatic Painting Makes Sense

The most common places you might see an electrostatically painted surface include offices that use metal furniture as well as workplaces, gyms and schools with locker rooms.

Other places and items that can benefit from the advantages of the electrostatic painting process are:

  • File cabinets and storage shelves in large offices, storage facilities and retail stores
  • Exterior metal walls on commercial or industrial buildings
  • Fences and railings at historic landmarks, public recreational areas or amusement parks
  • Tubing for air ducts in commercial, industrial or school and other public buildings.

Commercial painters and electrostatic painting equipment manufacturers often refer to the device designed to atomize and spray the paint as a “sprayer” or “paint gun.” That’s because it’s ergonomically designed to fit in your hand like a gun.

What Is Electrostatic Painting?

what is electrostatic painting

Electrostatic painting is a process that uses specialized equipment to electrically charge and fluidize powdered pigment, then spray the particles as a coating onto a surface.

Classified as one of the “dry painting” systems of the powder paint it uses, the electrostatic painting process eliminates volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), hazardous pollutants (HAP’s) and solvents that are often found in other painting processes.

The electrostatic charge used in this painting process acts in two ways:

  1. It causes charged powder particles to behave like a liquid as they move through the air and land on the targeted surface.
  2. It facilitates attraction of unlike charges to each other. As positively charged particles seek the nearest ground, a mutual pull connects them, then bonds the coating to the grounded surface on which it’s sprayed.

The bonded coating made possible by the electrostatic painting process protects the surface underneath from corrosion that may be caused by moisture and oxidizing elements in the air. A high-quality finish restores the appearance to like-new condition.

For porous substances, like wood, the electrostatically coated surface can protect against moisture that attracts mold and fungus and can cause rot. On projects for which wood, plastic or another conductive, more negatively charged material is the target, special prep steps may be needed to ensure proper coating and a quality finish.

A Brief History of the Technology

history of electrostatic painting

Electrostatic finishing was founded in 1931 by Harold Ransburg, when, as a young man, he had to leave university studies to help his father’s business, Harper J. Ransburg Co. in Indianapolis, IN. During Harold’s work of painting stoneware and metal housewares, he experimented with equipment known to charge paint particles, and developed a system of electrostatic painting called the “No. 1 Process.” The process was widely used for painting of munitions and supplies during World War II.

As he continued experimenting, Ransburg learned he could negatively charge the atomized paint particles and also charge the item to be coated — or make it a neutral ground — creating an electrostatic field. This field then pulls paint particles to the item. Through innovation, Ransburg developed the No. 2 Process in 1948 and introduced a spray gun for that process in the mid-1950’s. The electrostatic painting process and equipment became more widely used in the 1960’s.

Advancements, including applications outside of painting, continue today. Commercial and industrial businesses, and institutions like schools, hospitals and governments, can benefit from electrostatic painting technology and processes that have been refined for more than 80 years. At Alpine Painting and Restoration, we use this dependable process to make your projects the best they can be.

How Does Electrostatic Painting Work?

From the start to the end of the electrostatic painting process, the operator uses the specialized equipment to atomize the paint and control the connectivity and flow between it and a grounded target.

how electrostatic painting works

To receive a charge and be electrostatically attracted to its surface target, the conductivity and resistivity measures of paints used should be known. Electrical resistivity represents a measure of how strongly a material opposes the flow of electric current. Paint with a low resistivity readily allows the movement of an electric charge.

Conductivity represents the reciprocal quantity to resistivity and a measure of a material’s ability to conduct an electric current. For some projects, water-based paints may be too conductive and not used with electrostatic painting equipment.

In powder coatings, conductivity agents are not needed as much because the electrostatic paint gun nozzle atomizes the particles. Fewer conductivity agents contribute to a reduction or elimination of pollutants.

The Locker Target Example

As an example, let’s look at a project for which you would hire a painting contractor like us to complete — restoring lockers in a high school gymnasium locker room. We would refer to the lockers as the “target” on which the paint will be sprayed.

Before spraying, we will complete preparations typically done to surfaces that will be painted. For metal surfaces, this includes steps to remove dirt, contaminants, loose paint, rust, scratches or graffiti.

For every project, prep work also includes mixing the paint according to instructions provided by the electrostatic painting equipment manufacturer. Adherence ensures proper atomization, viscosity, conductivity levels, even application and safety.

When we start the painting process, we will use the paint gun equipment to charge the paint particles. Electrostatic painting equipment manufacturers refer to this as atomizing the paint. Scientists and engineers refer to the process as ionizing the paint particles.

The charged particles of the paint gun create an electrostatic field between the paint gun nozzle and the grounded target. Principles of electrostatics come into play. With the paint particles atomized, the grounded locker target pulls the oppositely charged particles to it. We use this attraction to guide the flow of the charged particles through the paint gun nozzle.

The paint particles land and bond only to the open surface area that’s grounded. As the particles coat the target, the charge dissipates and returns to the power supply through the ground, completing the electrical circuit. Because the charge of the target locker surface changes once the bond between the unlike charges occurs, the coated area stops pulling paint particles to it.

The electrostatic process is completed with an even, high-quality application of the coating. Most of the atomized particle spray from the paint gun lands on and bonds to the locker. Engineers call this “high transfer efficiency” and have measured this paint application efficiency rate at over 90 percent when optimized.

How Can a Painter Be That Accurate?

With the right tools, a commercial painter can use electrostatics to influence the path of the paint because the particles are small enough to be controlled by the charge from the paint gun. At indoor project sites, the painter has added influence to minimize air currents that might interfere with paint particle flow, and, therefore, has more control over how fast the particles move to the target. This gives the electrostatic paint gun operator the power to optimize paint and time use.

electrostatic paint choice

The painter’s selection of paint also contributes to the effectiveness of the electrostatic painting system equipment, as some particles accept an ionizing charge more readily than others. Equipment manufacturer engineers consider this when designing and producing the products, and they will recommend the products that meet the highest transfer efficiency standards while balancing finish quality standards.

What Is Wrap or Wraparound?

Electrostatically charged paint particles are so attracted to the grounded target that they tend to coat the side, edge, corner and backside surfaces that aren’t facing the atomizer. This tendency reduces touch-up and clean-up labor, and it increases the ratio of surface covered to paint volume.

What Equipment Does Electrostatic Painting Require?

Equipment required to paint items brought to an electrostatic painting facility differs from equipment required to go to a client’s location where on-site work will be completed and proper grounding safeguards applied.

Here we focus on equipment for commercial, industrial and institutional painting or restoration projects that must be completed at the location of the items to be painted. The electrostatic painting process equipment for this purpose must be a portable system that includes the following:

  • Paint gun with atomizer: The main piece of equipment for electrostatic application of paint. Over time, paint guns have become lighter in weight, optimizing their portability to work at client sites. Most important to the design of the gun are its ionizing apparatus and sprayer with a resistive, high-voltage circuit that builds in safety. These may be automatic or manual. This design works ergonomically to make finger control of the on/off switch and handling of the spray nozzle simple. Many paint gun designs integrate voltage control to allow the gun operator to easily adjust between a range of voltage levels.
  • Bell: At the end of the nozzle, the bell controls the delivery rate of the paint and the paint application rate. The bell can be switched out depending on the size and shape of the objects to be painted as well as other requirements of the specified project.
  • Tank: The tank holds the paint until it’s pushed up through the fluid hose to the paint gun. Tank sizes range in gallon capacity, allowing electrostatic paint system operators to choose a reservoir size that fits the project size, mobility needs and space limitations of the work site.
  • Compressor: This system component controls the mechanism that pushes the paint from the tank to the paint gun. Compressors include pollution control functions and safety features.
  • Power supply for the paint gun and compressor: This is basically a generator with a series of high and low voltage power settings for electrostatic paint applicators, adjustable to the operator’s use of a gun or industrial rotary atomizer. The power supply controls the transfer efficiency of the paint gun while maintaining safety. Display panels on the power supply unit allow the operator and worksite manager to easily monitor and adjust voltage or current. Safety features include displays that indicate cable faults or overloads, and a reset switch.
  • High voltage cable: As part of the electrostatic painting system, an integrated part to ensure safe operation.
  • Fluid hose: Connects the compressor to the paint gun, serving as the channel through which the paint particles travel before atomization.
  • Cart: Designed to organize the system components, the cart allows for easy portability of the equipment to and at the work site. Like other components, the design integrates system safety.
  • Accessories: These come in the form of finishing applicators that can be attached to the end of the paint gun nozzle. Painters will use these according to the project needs and worksite specifications.
  • Multi-valve assemblies: When needed, multiple valves make changing fluid supply easy for projects requiring multiple colors or application of various coatings.
  • Flow control systems with monitors: These allow operators to more efficiently control paint usage.

Manufacturers of electrostatic painting process equipment sell the components as integrated systems. This ensures reliable operation, quality finishes and safety. At Alpine Painting and Restoration, we use Ransburg equipment to ensure quality control and that your project comes out smoothly.

Top Five Benefits of Electrostatic Painting

The benefits of electrostatic painting come from the technology that leverages electrostatic principles. A combination of paint application equipment and paint formula technology has revolutionized our ability to restore commercial, industrial and institutional assets.

Because of innovations in technology over eight decades, you can realize the following benefits in choosing restoration over discarding or replacing valuable or expensive items:

1. Reduction in Wasted Paint

reduce paint waste through electrostatic painting

When you hear painting and restoration professionals talk about the electrostatic painting process, you’ll hear them often refer to the paint as “coating.” When you watch the electrostatic painting process, and how the paint particles wrap to the surface as the sprayer moves around the corners and curves, you’ll understand why.

It’s the wrapping quality the paint takes on that maximizes the amount of pigment that attaches then bonds to the surface and reduces the amount of paint that misses the target. The transfer efficiency, or percentage of the paint used without waste, is a high percentage of the amount loaded in the sprayer.

That waste reduction could translate to savings of anywhere between $25 and $75 per gallon of paint, depending on other high pressure or air assisted method the electrostatic coating process replaces.

2. A Smooth and Seamless Electrostatically Painted Surface That Looks New

The quality of finish achievable with electrostatic paint application can truly make a facility with some years behind it look new

3. Fast Painting and Dry Times Mean Shorter Down Time for Your Business

Similar to air spraying methods, the electrostatic process makes paint application fast. Electrostatically applied paint dries faster than wet spray methods and doesn’t require high-heat ovens. You no longer have to wait for weeks with rooms temporarily out of use or for fumes to dissipate. Normal business can resume within days.

4. A Durable Finish for Your High-traffic, Heavy-Duty Use

The bonding properties possible with the electrostatic process make for strong protection against corrosion, weather wear and heavy use. Durability can be especially valuable where your assets may be exposed to indoor or outdoor humidity and moisture.

5. Overall Savings in Money and Time

The next time you’re considering discarding items that are still functional but “look old,” consider having a contractor that specializes in electrostatic painting take a look. You may find that restoration is a viable option. The right coat of paint could extend your original investment and protect a still valuable item for years.

Trust Alpine Painting and Restoration for Your Facility Painting Needs

When choosing a painting and restoration contractor for your commercial and industrial needs, you’ll want one whose business longevity reflects the enduring trust of satisfied clients. You should also choose a contractor whose electrostatic painting equipment operators are knowledgeable in all aspects of the process, equipment and materials, and disciplined in their safety practices.

For restoration and painting, and especially budget-conscious, safety-imperative methods like electrostatic painting, the level of trust you’ll need is high. Alpine Painting and Restoration has been delivering safety at the worksite and high-quality final results to satisfied customers since 1990.

We’ve seen many technologies and methods come and go for almost three decades now. Today’s electrostatic painting, which has been around for the last decade, may improve or eventually be replaced by another technology or method — but our approach will always be to apply current methods and technologies for durability, longevity and budget. Our customers will always see that in the quality of service and safety we deliver on-site, including our safe use of equipment and grounding practices.

To learn more about commercial and industrial electrostatic painting for commercial and industrial assets such as building interiors, exteriors and equipment, contact us online or call us at 215-348-4410. We can show you samples of the quality surface protection, durability and aesthetic presentation electrostatic painting delivers for your most valued assets.

Commercial Painting Facts

Commercial Painting Facts

If you are in need of high-quality commercial painting in the Pennsylvania or New Jersey area, you can rely on Alpine Painting and Restoration to get the job done right. Perhaps you don’t know if you are in need of commercial or industrial painting. What is commercial painting, exactly — and what is industrial painting? Are commercial painting techniques different from industrial painting techniques?

Commercial Painting Definition

If you have a business with a physical location that needs a new paint job, you are in need of commercial painting. Whether you want to rebrand your store front or you want your company’s offices to have a bright new look, you want to call in a commercial painter.

The appearance of your business is extremely important. If your physical location is customer facing, a stylish, fresh, up-to-date paint job tells potential consumers you take your products or services seriously and you are ready for business. If your business location is primarily for employees, a great commercial paint job can improve morale and help workers stay focused.

Industrial Painting Definition

When we talk about industrial painting, we are usually talking about facilities that are a step removed from the public, such as warehouses or manufacturing plants. The needs of these types of facilities are a little different, but the techniques are similar.

A warehouse or factory with chipping paint can not only be a safety issue, but it can also create a negative impression to potential partners, vendors or even customers who might happen to come by. Even if you’re not worried about such visitors on a daily basis, giving your warehouse or factory a good cleaning and painting can tell your workers you care about them and about the products that move through the facility.

Alpine Painting and Restoration for Commercial Painting in PA and NJ

At Alpine Painting and Restoration, we have the personnel and equipment to thoroughly clean and prepare all surfaces that require painting, and perform a clean, accurate paint job that will have your facility looking great. We have painted retail stores, hotels, restaurants, factories and warehouses, and we have countless testimonials from satisfied businesses backing up our claims regarding the high quality of our work. Exterior or interior commercial paint jobs, big projects or small, we do it all with professionalism and precision. We’re not satisfied until we know you’re satisfied.

If you have a business in Pennsylvania or New Jersey that needs painting, what are you waiting for? We’re ready to make your business look the best it’s ever been. Contact Alpine Painting and Restoration today for more information on complete painting services for your business.

Common Epoxy Floor Problems

epoxy floor problems

Epoxy Floor Problems

Epoxy is one of the best floor finishes for commercial and industrial applications available today. Because epoxy is so durable as well highly attractive, epoxy floor finishes are in high demand. Epoxy is also affordable considering the long-term performance it offers. But epoxy floor problems do happen, especially when improperly applied.

epoxy flooring appearance

Epoxy finishes usually appear on concrete floors where high traffic volume, clean conditions and excellent appearance are necessary. Many facilities that benefit from epoxy floors include automobile showrooms, pharmaceutical manufacturers, laboratories, food and beverage processors, aeronautic maintenance and even general purpose warehouses. The cost per coverage return on epoxy makes it the ideal floor choice for low maintenance and easy cleaning.

Many people make the mistake of thinking epoxy is just a type of paint. It’s not. While epoxy is a coating that goes over an existing flooring subsurface, it’s actually a blend of components that chemically react to produce a unique product with strength and durability properties that are nearly impossible to match.

It’s misleading for suppliers to brand products as “epoxy paint.” This is where do-it-yourselfers get in trouble. Epoxy floor coverings are tricky to work with and best left to professional applicators. Otherwise, there’s bound to be trouble such as bubbles in the epoxy floor coating and epoxy floor blistering.

People often ask how to repair epoxy floor coating and “can I epoxy over epoxy?” The truth is it’s just not that easy. The key to having a successful epoxy floor application doesn’t lie in one simple trick. It’s a highly variable combination of techniques and conditions that professional epoxy floor coaters have perfected. To understand how to work with epoxy, the first thing you need to know is what exactly it is.

What is Epoxy Floor Coating?

Epoxy is a two-part, thermosetting product composed of epoxide resin and a polyamine hardener. The resin gives an epoxy finish its depth and color character. The hardener component acts as a catalyst, giving it strength. When carefully mixed at precisely the right ratio, a chemical reaction occurs.

Epoxy doesn’t dry like paint. It cures. The curing process creates polymer structures that closely cross-link during an exothermic process to give an epoxy floor finish superior durability and strength. The final product is unique. Epoxy is like no other as long as it’s properly prepared and applied.

Epoxy chemical knowledge and excellent commercial products have been around for years. Since the internet and the explosion of renovation shows, however, epoxy finish problems have become more common. True epoxy finishes are two-part procedures, except in certain cases in which a third aggregate component provides additional grit for improved traction.

“Epoxy paint” is a marketing term that manufacturers and suppliers invented to satisfy a high demand for DIY and home epoxy floor treatments. These one-part paints do contain some epoxy resin but don’t have anywhere near the amount of solid content that commercial two-part epoxy products have. Solids give epoxy finishes their thickness.

Top quality epoxy resin products contain a high percentage of solids that stay on the floor after application. A rating of 100% solids means that all of it remains in the finish after curing. That creates a thick, sturdy and durable base. 50% solid ratings found in inferior products result in half of the product being a solvent that evaporates leaving the floor finish half as thick as professional materials.

roller applied epoxy flooring

For example, roller-applied epoxy containing 100% solids leaves a wet film thickness (WFT) of approximately 10 millimeters. When it cures, that thickness stays at 10 millimeters. The same roller-applied technique with 50% solid resin goes on at 10 millimeters but cures to a final finish of only 5 millimeters. That is a lot of finish lost due to lack of product knowledge likely misguided by an attempt to economize.

Like any other product, you get what you pay for with epoxy floor finishes. This applies to hiring an applicator and their level of care in subsurface preparation, product mixing and application procedure. Correctly applied, epoxy finishes have tremendous benefits.

  • Durability is a primary advantage. Epoxy floors are sturdy, and they last for ages.
  • Strength is an extenuation of durability. Epoxy is extremely resistant to damage.
  • Because epoxy material is tight and non-porous, it’s easy to clean, making maintenance a breeze.
  • The aesthetics of epoxy are excellent. Epoxy finishes come in a wide range of color and sheen.
  • Epoxy comes in a variety of different types. Additives include metal flaking and clear coating.
  • Safety is a top benefit of epoxy floors, which can create non-skid and non-slip surfaces.
  • Using a high-gloss finish in your epoxy flooring systems will yield exponential increases of LRV values ( light reflectance) which thereby will reduce overall energy usage from overhead lighting fixtures and also will increase productivity.
  • Epoxy is fast-curing and quick to apply, which means that the shutdown required to install it is minimal.
  • Cost-effectiveness is another huge benefit. Epoxy lasts for years and provides an excellent return on investment.
  • Chemical resistance is a vital aspect of surfaces at industrial sites. Epoxy is the perfect choice for places that use chemicals, which might spill on the floor.

With so many benefits streaming from epoxy floor coats, it’s unfortunate that they can come with problems. But they don’t have to. Epoxy floor coatings that are professionally applied are problem-free, provided the applicator knows what they’re doing.

Common Epoxy Floor Problems

Virtually all problems with epoxy floor coating originate from one source – the applicator. Unqualified epoxy floor applicators fail to accurately assess site specifics like temperature, moisture and airflow. They often fail to prepare the subsurface to make sure the epoxy coat will bond and to blend the exact ratio of resin and hardener, which is critical to success. They might also neglect to mix the two-part epoxy products to ensure correct air entrainment. And unknowledgeable applicators fail to follow time-critical steps that result in a professional, long-lasting finish.

The harsh reality of epoxy floor finishes is that botched jobs are almost impossible to touch up. In most cases, there’s no alternative to stripping the faulty finish and starting over. That’s a lot of money wasted on time and materials that could’ve been saved if only the applicator knew their stuff.

Professional epoxy floor finishers are often called to assess a newly-placed floor showing problems. Most experienced floor finishers who regularly work with or specialize in epoxy see the same issues time and time again. Here are the most common epoxy floor problems and the diagnosis of their causes:

Bubble formations are by far the most common problem with epoxy floors. Usually, bubbles are only pinhead-sized and appear in clusters called honeycombs. Mistakes mixing the correct ratio of resin to hardener can lead to air entrapment or entrainment, which causes epoxy floor bubbles.

Excessive mixing such as using a power drill and a spiral paddle at high speeds also produces bubbles. You can easily avoid this by using a wide mixing blade set at a low 300-500 rpm rate and slowly circling the mix in a large container. Once air-entrained bubbles are set in an epoxy mix, they’re next to impossible to remove. You’ll have to discard the mix because if you use it on the floor, bubbles will appear.

Another source of epoxy bubbles is temperature differences. The substrate, like a concrete surface, needs to be at a temperature that’s compatible with the epoxy mix. The same goes for resin and hardener temperatures. Excessive temperature variation leads to trapped air that tries to equalize. This results in very visible bubbling and rejected work.

Blisters and craters are the second most common epoxy trouble. Blisters are large bubbles that contain trapped air. Craters are the opposite. They occur when bubbles pop and leave an indentation in the epoxy surface. Improperly prepared concrete that’s porous and contains air can lead to outgassing from the subsurface, which, in turn, causes large blisters and craters.

Air trapped in concrete voids reacts when the freshly covered epoxy begins its curing or exothermal action. The chemical reaction creates heat. This releases moisture in an air pocket making it expand. This forces air to the surface where it forms either a blister or a popped crater.

Film and flow appearance Film and flow appearance stand right out in a bad epoxy floor job. The finish appearance is dull and uneven. This happens when the epoxy coat is applied too cold or too hot. It also occurs when excessive airflow blows over a curing surface.

how temperature affect epoxy flooring

Preventing film problems is easy. Epoxy is highly temperature sensitive, so you can apply it when both the mix and the subsurface are between 60°F and 85°F. Temperatures above and below those are sure to cause a dull film to appear on the outer surface.

Flow is another easy problem to prevent. Flow problems appear as wavy irregularities on the epoxy surface and are very noticeable under certain light conditions. The usual culprit is a ventilation fan set in place to control hardener fumes or a large opening allowing wind to blow across the curing surface.

Poor adhesion and peeling can have many causes. This fatal flaw is always due to an inexperienced or careless applicator. Peeling and poor adhesion come from:

  • Poor subsurface preparation
  • Contaminated materials like grease, oil and solvent not being removed
  • Incorrect mixing ratio of resin and hardener
  • Improper mixing techniques
  • Wide temperature variations
  • Moisture trapped in the subsurface

Other Common Epoxy Floor Problems

Not all epoxy floor problems are as noticeable as peeling and blistering. Other common problems regularly occur from lack of applicator detail and precautionary steps. Experienced epoxy floor workers know how to prevent these other common issues.

  • Tacky surfaces and soft areas result from improper mixing and temperature variation. The primary cause is the lack of a catalyst occurred during curing leaving a weak, uncured and tacky surface. The solution is to make sure to use exactly the right ratio of resin to hardener.
  • Surface blushing shows as high and low sheens in the finished product. When amine chemically reacts in the blended resin, surface blushing may occur. Excessive air moisture is another common culprit. It can also come from application in an ambient temperature that’s too low. You can correct this by using heaters or dehumidifiers.
  • Lack of uniformity comes from applicator technique rather than from bad mixes or conditions. Epoxy floor finishes are finicky to apply due to temperature, time and resin viscosity. An inexperienced or careless applicator can leave streaks, dry edges and highly-noticeable roller marks.
  • Fish eyes are imperfections usually caused by residual silicone or oil that wasn’t thoroughly removed during surface preparation. They can occur due to placing a top coat over primer that hasn’t yet cured. Proper and careful prep can prevent fish eyes.
  • Lumps, globs and bumps in the top coat come from poor mixing, improper subsurface cleaning or using application equipment that leaves lint behind. Once these imperfections set in, the only solution is removing the epoxy finish and starting over.

dull epoxy flooring

  • Dullness usually results from excessive humidity, which is anything over 60%. Dull, lusterless floors can also result from condensation covering the floor before it properly cures. This is a common problem during rainy weather or highly humid periods.

How to Avoid Epoxy Floor Problems

When so many things can go wrong with an epoxy floor finish, it’s a wonder any inexperienced person would try this on their own. Epoxy floors are cost-effective over years of trouble-free service — provided a skilled applicator who is aware of common problems and makes sure to correctly prepare the surface applies them properly. But epoxy floors can be very expensive when an unskilled applicator leaves a finished product in a mess.

The simplest way to prevent problems with an epoxy floor coating is to hire a professional who has the experience and knowledge to apply your epoxy finish, so it’s problem-free for its entire life. Professional epoxy floor applicators have the training and tools to do it right the first time. They know how to assess your site conditions and how to prepare all types of subsurface properly.

Professional applicators know exactly how to mix the correct resin/hardener ratio, and they know the precise mixing methods needed to prevent air entrapment and lumps. They anticipate and control temperature and humidity conditions to avoid dull, tacky and blistery finishes. And epoxy floor professionals have advanced and skillful application techniques that leave the finished floor streak-free.

Why risk ruining an expensive epoxy floor finish by leaving it to an amateur or attempting a do-it-yourself project? The simple solution for success is to call Alpine Painting and Restoration. We’re professionals with 27 years of epoxy floor finish experience in commercial and industrial applications.

We’re committed to quality results with a high emphasis on long-term preservation. We serve the tri-state area with a wide variety of epoxy floor finish services and are highly familiar with the latest epoxy products and application procedures.

Don’t leave your epoxy floor work to an amateur. For guaranteed professional results, call Alpine Painting and Restoration today at 215 348-4410 or contact us online.

Adventure Aquarium Project

Back in May our firm was contacted by Herschend Entertainment, the management company of the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ, for the execution of high-performance coatings that were immersible for the newly fabricated and refreshed penguin exhibit.

This presented unique challenges because we had to install high-performance coatings that gave the illusion of being natural rock face and cluster that mimicked the penguin’s natural environment. After consultation with Tnemec Coatings Company, it was determined that we should use their water based immersion grade high performance 100% solids epoxy coating system ( Product Designations 27WB) in a multiple of ten different colors that had to be overlaid on each other to bring about the natural look of the fabricated rock faces.

The accompanying pictures will illustrate the gunite fabrication of the boulders and shore line rock formations. Preparation methodology was hydro blasting with mild acidic solution, neutralization with sodium hydroxide based detergent, installation of polyamytal-amine epoxy solvent based base coat to provide maximum adhesion to substrate (Tnemec Product Designation N69) and two 6 mil top coats of the 27WB product to provide a solid basilar background color and final top coat installation of various color multiples and optics to provide the final finished look prior to the filing of the penguin pool.

We are happy to say that the project came off without a hitch or any delays which was very challenging due to an extraordinarily wet spring and the aquarium was able to meet the grand opening date of the newly refreshed penguin exhibit. Please feel free to review the following images.

Project Images

penguin project special coatings penguin aquarium project      

Dejana Truck & Utility Equipment Restoration

Recently, our office received a phone call from a Project Manager for a high powered, light truck retro fit and parts manufacturing company and installer. He indicated to me that they just made settlement on a new building asset and space in the New Britain/Bucks county area to facilitate the company’s expansion focus; the former Skee-Ball manufacturing facility.

The facility had not seen any real attention either aesthetically, or from an asset preservation standpoint, in many, many years. To be quite honest, the facility was looking pretty haggard and tired. The Vice President of Operations of Dejana Truck & Utility Equipment asked me to visit the site and offer any pertinent suggestions, as well as provide a quote to transform the exterior of the building from the tired old girl that she was into a 21st century service facility that would accurately reflect the company colors, as well as the standard company visual that they are known for.

The accompanying images will illustrate the before, during and after images of the project. A capsule overview of the projects methodology is as follows:

  • Waterblast entire exterior with high strength caustic detergent to remove all oxidation and ancillary surface contaminants
  • Inspect all corrugated panel, and fasteners.  Replace and re-fasten all compromised fasteners
  • Spray apply one heavy bodied coat of rust inhibitive corrosion control epoxy primer
  • Spray apply ultra-high performance acrylic finish to all prime coated metal to accurately mimic a factory finish

1st-image 2nd-image

  • All split faced block was water blasted, patch pointed where necessary and re-caulked where necessary (failed expansion joints)
  • All block walls received one coat of 100% acrylic cinder block filler primer coating
  • All prime coated cinder block received two coats of Pearl Gray high performance acrylic masonry coating and finish

4th-image exterior-after

As illustrated above, you can see that the transformation of the asset was nothing less than dramatic.  The deep blue color, as well as the Pearl Gray, is Dejana Truck & Utility Equipment’s corporate colors which are universally applied through their many branches.

Industrial Flooring Remediation

Recently, our office received a phone call from a potential client that was extremely distraught about some recent work that was performed on his new facility expansion. The client is a local sign and graphics company that specializes in vehicle and banner advertising for a plethora of companies local to my firm. As their business was growing, there was a real need for additional space to accommodate their installs for their clients, as well as the growth of their company. The client scrimped and saved for the better part of 36 months to accommodate the cost of the 5,000 square foot expansion. In an effort to keep costs down, the client acted as his own construction manager. All was going well until the concrete contractor, that was hired to place and finish the concrete, performed substandard work. This caused great distress to the client, because in order to install the vinyl graphics on larger vehicles (box trucks, triaxles, etc.), his wife, as well as his staff, has to utilize electric scissor lifts to facilitate the installs. This was now at risk because the floor was drastically uneven and unlevel, so much so that using lift equipment would create a precariously dangerous situation posing great physical risk trying to do these installs.

Unfortunately, the client went back to the concrete contractor and tried to plead his position, but, as is so often the case, once the contractor was paid, the contractor had no intention whatsoever to remediate the situation. We were asked to come down and assess the situation and give our opinions on how to fix it. Upon visual inspection of the slab, I was appalled at the amateurish ineptitude of the install by the contractor. And I was quite concerned for the client and his wife because this is a small family business. They were inconsolably upset at the possibility that they may have lost a huge sum of money as part of this construction. I assured them that we would pursue whatever methods and methodology at our disposal to get the floor into a workable and safe condition

We developed the following plan to remediate this floor and make it safe:

  • Aggressive mechanical scarification of the concrete that was above the natural level line
  • Diamond grind entire floor with prep master equipment to smooth out scarified areas
  • Bring in temporary, three phase generator power to support and power up our grinding equipment
  • Repair all shrinkage cracks and spalls with epoxy mortar

Initial Scarification

Illustrates severity of the uneven floor

Typical scarified profile

Image illustrates clearly the ponding situation

  • Grind down repairs as necessary
  • Install penetrating epoxy primer to prepared floor
  • Install high solids epoxy intermediate coat to prime coated floor
  • Install high solids epoxy background color to intermediately coated floor

Portable 3 phase generator to support our grinding equipment

Diamond grinder to level out floor and provide proper surface profile

Properly prepared floor

Penetrating primer applied

 

  • Operator broadcasting multi-colored blended flake to entire freshly coated floor
  • Operator installing a clear urethane lock down coat to permanently seal flake into coating system
  • Final finish of completely remediated floor

Intermediate coat applied

color applied to prepare for flake broadcast

Close up of flake broadcast

Finished floor with clear coat installed

 

I am pleased to report the floor has been in service for the better part of 6 months with absolutely zero issues and has exhibited an easy to maintain flooring surface concerning housekeeping and preservation of aesthetic. And the new shop shows well on customer visits and new customer tours. Most importantly….SAFE to work on. To learn more about our commercial and industrial flooring services, click here.

Alpine_ClickHereQuote