Surface preparation

What is surface preparation?

Surface preparation is defined as “the cleaning or preparing of the metal surface prior to the application of a coating.” In practice, surface preparation embraces many things, which fall under this term. For example, the removal of mill scale, rust, copper slag or other contaminants. The creation of a profile on the metal surface also falls under surface preparation. In this way a good adhesion layer is created between the object and the coating that is applied to it.

The importance of surface preparation

Surface preparation is necessary for applying a (new) coating to a surface. The preparation ensures that the new layer will adhere well, which improves the durability of the coating. To achieve this, old layers such as paint, mill scale, rust and other dirt need to be removed from the surface. Moreover, surface preparation not only removes dirt; it also creates a profile on the surface, which serves as an adhesion layer for the new coating.

The phases of surface preparation

Surface preparation has several phases. In order to achieve the best possible result, it is important – regardless of the technique used – that these phases follow each other closely and are carried out properly. In total, six steps can be distinguished:

Assessment of the condition

Before the surface preparation can be started, it is important to assess the current condition of the material. Based on this, it can then be determined what needs to be done and what technique will be used for the surface preparation. If this is not done or done carelessly, it can cause damage to the material later in the preparation process.

Coating removal

Once the current condition of the material has been determined, the old coating can be removed from the surface. If this is not done and the new coating is applied directly to the old coating, bubbles, flaking, and other damage will occur, causing the new coating to come off quickly. By thoroughly removing the old coating, the new coating will adhere nicely to the surface.

Removal of surface contaminants

Not only the old coating; other dirt that has developed on the surface must also be removed. Over time, for example, rust, mill scale and other dirt may develop on the surface. As with the removal of the old coating, it is also important to remove these contaminants from the surface. If this is not done properly, it can also lead to adhesion problems of the new coating.

Removal of loose dirt

Besides the fact that rust, mill scale and other adhesion problems can occur, a surface often also has to deal with loose dirt. This can include flaking or crumbling pieces of the old coating. These too must be removed during the surface preparation process in order to ensure proper adhesion of the new coating.

Apply adhesion profile to the surface

Once the old coating and all types of dirt have been removed, it is time to apply a profile on the surface. When a proper surface profile is applied, the new coating will adhere better than on a smooth surface.

Dry the surface

Once the adhesion profile has been applied to the surface, it is time for the sixth and final step of surface preparation: drying. New coatings will, in most cases, adhere better to a dry surface than to a wet surface. If the coating were applied to a wet surface, small grains will form in the material as it dries. To avoid this, it is necessary to dry the surface thoroughly first. If the six steps of surface preparation are performed accurately and carefully, the chances that the new coating will adhere nicely to the surface will be greatly increased.

Methods for surface preparation

Over the years, many surface preparation methods have been developed. In most cases, traditionally, surfaces are mostly prepared by blasting, but dry cleaning and fire blasting are also possibilities. But how do these methods actually work, and what exactly do they involve?

Abrasive blasting

One of the most common methods for surface preparation is abrasive blasting. The surface is prepared with a combination of air and an abrasive. Originally this was mostly done with sand, but this has been banned in many countries. Nowadays, blasting is also done with special abrasive grains or other materials. The grains have an abrasive effect on the surface, which removes rust and other dirt from the object. Blasting is not only used for the removal of dirt; the impact of the grains in the surface also creates an adhesion layer for the new coating.

Spray blasting

This technique is often used on the more vulnerable surfaces, but is in principle applicable to many materials. It works as follows: water is sprayed onto the surface with a rotating sprayer. This is not done under high pressure, but with mist jets, so that the spray slides over the object. Because of this low pressure with which the water is applied to the surface, this method of surface preparation is less efficient and also does not create a profile for the new adhesive layer.

Chemical cleaning

Other common ways of preparing surfaces is chemical cleaning, which involves removing the material by dissolving it in acid, grinding and polishing. However, the chemical method of surface preparation can be very harsh due to the use of acid, both to the material and to the environment and human health.

Flame blasting

Flame blasting involves holding a gas flame along the surface, which removes dirt and especially rust residue from the surface. However, this method of surface preparation is not very effective at removing all rust and often needs to be used alongside other techniques. In addition, improper use of the flame can quickly lead to surface damage.

Disadvantages of surface preparation

The above mentioned methods of surface preparation are all methods that have been performed for many years. Yet, over the years, many of the disadvantages and dangers of sandblasting and the various methods of surface preparation have come to light.

Disadvantages of sandblasting

As mentioned earlier, “sandblasting” is a widely used technique for preparing substrates. However, the sand – or other blasting grains – in many cases are too persistent for the surface. The force with which the grain comes into contact with the object is fierce, so damage can quickly and easily occur during blasting. Because some materials are more difficult to process than others, it is recommended that this is always carried out by a professional. An intensive job, which also requires the necessary preparation, which makes sandblasting a relatively expensive way of surface preparation. But that’s not all.

Sandblasting can be very harmful to the health of people and the environment. This danger lies mainly in the grains used in this process. Due to the high pressure involved in the blasting process, these grains break down into small particles. When inhaled, these particles can cause various health problems. The risks involved in sandblasting have caused this method of surface preparation to be banned in many countries.

Disadvantages of chemical cleaning

With the chemical method of surface preparation, the danger lies in the acid that is used. This usually involves hydrochloric acid; a very aggressive agent, which can cause the necessary problems if it comes into contact with humans. In addition, when working with hydrochloric acid, a vapor is created that can be very dangerous for humans, animals, and the nearby environment.

The solution: surface preparation tools from MontiPower

MontiPower power tools are the solution to all your surface preparation problems. The tools of MontiPower do the same job as the usual techniques for surface preparation, but better, more effective and without all the additional disadvantages. Our specially designed technology with portable, semi-automatic machines not only ensures that the surface is cleaned, but also creates the roughness for the perfect adhesion layer for the new coating. It makes MontiPower’s power tools the perfect alternative to ‘sandblasting‘.

We offer highly effective solutions for preparing surfaces with our Bristle Blaster®. Rust, paint, mill scale; removing the various types of dirt has never been easier. Moreover, with the use of MontiPower’s surface preparation tools, you are no longer dependent on external parties; from now on, you will be preparing surfaces all by yourself. With our wide range of rotating, patented brushes, you will always find a solution for your own specific situation at MontiPower. It makes an investment in MontiPower’s power tools the perfect investment that will save you both time and money in the short term.

How do MontiPower’s surface preparation tools work?

The Bristle Blaster® is characterized by a rotating brush, which features specially designed, patented curved tips. With these tips, the power tools, which are also easy to operate in one hand, ensure that different types of surfaces can be prepared in a quick and easy manner. It works as follows: the brush of the Bristle Blaster® and MBX® rotates at high speed. The curved tips of the brush are held back by a so-called accelerator bar. Because of the high speed of the brush rotation, the brush tips are shot out of the accelerator bar with high force. Due to this force, the points of the brush immediately withdraw from the surface to be treated. It not only ensures effective removal of rust or dirt, but also creates a microstructure, which provides the perfect adhesion layer for any new coating.

Easy surface preparation in various sectors

Their convenience and effectiveness make the Bristle Blaster® a widely used surface preparation tool in various markets. Consider, for example, the production and maintenance of bridges, tracks and highways. Infrastructure is a sector in which it is important that maintenance is not only done very well, but also safely and quickly. Where traditional methods for surface preparation can be very labor intensive and unsafe, MontiPower’s power tools actually contribute to a significant effect on health, safety and the economy. The same applies, for example, to surface preparation in the industrial sector, where gas and oil can be handled a lot, the marine sector, where the environment plays a major role or the welding industry, where it is very important both before and after the welding process to prepare and clean the steel properly for the durability of the object. It makes MontiPower’s power tools the solution for effective surface preparation in many situations.

author frits doddema

Frits Doddema

Author of MontiPower®

Leadership | Sales | Marketing | Development

Frits is passionate about game-changing alternate products which contribute to a more sustainable world. Passively he invest in various concepts ranging from fashion glasses, hotelsahead, real estate, corrosion-resistant packaging, and in a social network software firm, and actively he devote his days to proteft steel against corrosion. He does have a 20 years trackrecord in sales, marketing, development and manufacturing of problem solving corrosion problems ranging from start-ups, scale-ups and for stockquoted corporations as CEO. The area is pipe welding, surface preparation, coating, sealing, rust passivation, insulation, inspection, testing and corrosion monitoring is my place. Fearless, as a team he enjoys changing smaller operations into larger professional companies.


During his life he has been fortunate to work with and learn from self-made entrepreneurs like Mr. Van Riemsdijk of Asito, or Frans Nooren of Stopaq, John Rich of Berry Plastics. All what is takes is to make the impossible possible. For this, a vision, mission and the right approach is needed in order to stand out versus competition. Without competition you can't win. Focus, discipline and teamwork creates our succes and joy. It binds us and makes us proudly different.


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