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Blast Rooms - The Secret Behind Huge Paint Spray Jobs

Updated on October 6, 2010

You Wouldn't Get A Wind Turbine in This Blast Room!

A picture of an industrial blasting room from a UK blast room specialist.
A picture of an industrial blasting room from a UK blast room specialist.

So I'm driving down the road, when I think... on earth do they spray paint the big wind turbines?

It's just a mad thought that crossed my mind as I was driving through the countryside and spotted one of these huge windmills lazily turning on top of a ridge along the side of the road.

The reason I wondered this is that I've just waxed my car and was really impressed with the mirror finish of the panels. When you think about how big the car surface is, the fact that they spray these things and don't get little lumps of dirt and dust stuck underneath to spoil the finish is a bit of a miracle.

So for something with the aerodynamic needs of a wind turbine and facing up to really harsh weather every single day, plus the sheer size of the thing, how on earth do they manage to get a decent paint finish onto them?

Let alone the big ones that go in the sea with huge pillars deep underneath the salty sea water.

Well it turns out they're done using the same approach as fighter planes and civil aircraft - they're first put through a shot-blasting type process where fine particles of abrasive are blown at high speeds to clean the surface of dust, rust and anything else that might be on there, wearing it away in double-quick time.

Afterwards they're moved into a dust-free environment for spraying with the specialist paints. I heard somewhere that the paint for the leg of one of these wind turbines costs in the millions - don't know if it was for real or not, but wow!

Now just imagine for a moment the size of the blast rooms (that's the name of the purpose-made building that the shot-blasting takes place) to hold the base or even the blade for one of these giant windmills - it would be enormous.

Being the anorak that I am, I looked this up on the Internet and discovered that the buildings are normally custom made especially for the one project - unbelieveable.

So now, whenever I see something huge that's painted, I start wondering about how it was cleaned off and sprayed to get such a great finish. I do know, though, that it will have been through a blast room and one or two spray booths to produce the smooth finished article.

Hmm, now I'm wondering how the glass for these huge skyscrapers is made too - especially the shaped stuff. Maybe I need to start watching How It's Made on the Discovery Channel and keep an eye open for the topics they're explaining!


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