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What is steel preparation?

Steel is used in various industries for numerous reasons. In order to keep the quality of the steel as high as possible, it is necessary to clean and prepare steel products regularly. Moreover, the preparation of steel is essential before applying any new paint or other type of coating. Before this can be done properly and accurately, you must first remove any mill scale and thoroughly clean and prepare the current steel surface. In this way, the steel object is not only cleaned of rust and other dirt, but an adhesion layer for the new paint or coating is created. This steel preparation can have a major impact on the durability and condition of the steel surface.

Ways to prepare steel

Preparing and cleaning steel consists of several elements. First, steel preparation involves removing rust, mill scale and other dirt that may have developed. Not only dirt, but also any previously applied coating can be removed when preparing steel. There are different methods to achieve this result, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. The best known way of preparing steel is through blasting. This blasting is done with a combination of an abrasive and air under high pressure. The best known form of blasting is sandblasting, where sand is used as an abrasive, but over the years many other ways of grit blasting have been developed. You can think of blasting with glass or corundum, but also wet blasting by means of water. All methods of grit blasting have essentially the same effect. By applying a combination of air and the abrasive with great force on the steel object, an abrasive effect is created on the surface. The high force with which this happens not only removes the coating, mill scale, rust and other dirt from the steel, but also creates a profile on the surface, which serves as an adhesion layer for a new coating.

Disadvantages of steel preparation

Preparing and cleaning steel has been performed in the same ways for quite some time. Despite the fact that this has been done for many years, over the years more and more disadvantages have been encountered with the preparation of steel surfaces. These disadvantages are found in a number of factors. First, cleaning steel with grit blasting could be very damaging. This makes this method of cleaning unsuitable for more vulnerable surfaces. Partly for this reason, grit blasting is not easy to perform as an individual. The advice is to always let a professional do the preparation and cleaning of steel, to be guaranteed of a good result. However, this makes grit blasting a relatively time-consuming and also very expensive job.

Another disadvantage of grit blasting, is that it is not only hard on the steel surface, but also on the health of humans and animals. This is especially true of blasting with sand as the abrasive. As mentioned earlier, the abrasive is applied to the steel with great force. Because this is done with such force, the sand grains disintegrate into small particles. These particles can easily be inhaled by people and animals, causing unpleasant health and respiratory complaints. Partly because of this, blasting with sand has been prohibited in many countries for decades.

Preparing steel with the power tools MontiPower

With the arrival of MontiPower power tools, an alternative to sandblasting and other methods of cleaning and preparing steel is finally on the market. The Bristle Blaster® and MBX®, with their specially developed technology, provide a clean steel surface with also roughness profile comparable to the surface created after grit blasting. In this way, the power tools from MontiPower offer all the advantages of the traditional techniques for the preparation of steel, excluding all the previously mentioned disadvantages that they entail. For example, the manually operated Bristle Blaster® and MBX® are easy to use yourself, so you are not dependent on external parties. Moreover, the operation of the power tools is highly effective and precise, saving you not only money, but also time.

How do the Bristle Blaster® and MBX® work?

Powertools Bristle Blaster® and MBX® work through a patented technology. The power tools are equipped with a rotating brush, which in turn are equipped with specially designed curved brush tips. Through these curved points, the steel is prepared and cleaned with the same effect as with traditional techniques. This works as follows: during the rapid rotation of the brush, the curved brush tips are obstructed by a so-called ‘accelerator bar’. Because of this obstruction, the points are released with an extra large force behind the bar. Due to the great force involved in this process, the steel is accurately and quickly stripped of mill scale, rust, paint and other dirt. In addition, the heavy impact of the bent brush tips creates a new adhesive layer for a new coating.

Cleaning steel before painting

Before a new coat of paint can be applied to a steel surface, it must first be stripped of the old coat of paint. In addition, over time rust and other dirt may have formed on the steel, which will also have to be removed. The question then becomes: with what and how should rusty steel be cleaned before painting? The answer to this question has become a lot simpler with the MontiPower power tools. The Bristle Blaster® and MBX® are the tools for cleaning steel before applying paint, since they create the prefect adhesion layer for a new coating.

Preparing stainless steel before painting

Due to the many advantages that it brings, stainless steel is increasingly being chosen in many industries. A characteristic of stainless steel is that it often has a smoother structure than in comparison with regular steel surfaces. Before applying a (new) coat of paint, it is therefore of great importance to prepare the stainless steel, to allow the new coating to adhere as well as possible. This is where MontiPower comes into play. Stainless steel surfaces can easily be prepared to achieve a surface roughness of at least 50 microns and a minimum cleanliness of grade 2, in accordance with BS 7079:Part 1A. MBX® offers a finer roughness Ra of approximately 10-30 microns. In this way, the stainless steel is easily and quickly prepared for the new coat of paint and also made ready for welding.

Preparing galvanized steel for painting

Galvanized steel is steel that has a layer of metal on the outside. In most cases, zinc, nickel or chromium is used to protect the steel from corrosion and to improve its appearance. Galvanized also needs to be prepared before painting, because the new coat of paint will most likely come off over time. As with regular steel and stainless steel, MontiPower’s power tools offer a solution here as well. Preparing the galvanized steel with the Bristle Blaster® and MBX® effectively prepares the surface for a new coating or paint.

Frits Doddema

Frits Doddema

Author of MontiPower®

Leadership | Sales | Marketing | Development

Our CEO Frits Doddema, born in 1970, has a background in Industrial Coatings since 1998. He worked for Sigma Marine Coatings The Netherlands, Carboline Coatings for Germany/Central Europe, STOPAQ BV from the Netherlands, and SealforLife Industries before he joined MONTI - Werkzeuge GmbH in 2018. Since 2008 he works as the CEO/Partner.

He is passionate about alternating solutions which make a true difference. Nothing is impossible is his credo. To make the impossible possible, Frits and the management believe in just one idea to make it happen and to turn the company in a great firm. The innovative approach for game-changing blasting and paint solutions is hands-on keeping in mind the difficult field circumstances for operators, respecting nature and long term costs. The mission is to avoid any disagreement over quality of prep work and coating. Frits and his team push for non-hazardous long term corrosion prevention solutions to overcome any hassle out of a coating job ensuring the best possible bond. The world’s best coatings deserve the world’s best surface preparation. Like in daily life, preparation is everything. From different perspectives like Safety, Health, Ergonomics, Productivity, Recyclability, Co2 neutrality of the plant and the coating process, Substrate Compatibility, Corrosion Resistance, Frits and team are driven to come with improved unique contribution solutions to existing and new end markets.


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