The Basic Differences between Conventional and Airless Asphalt Striping Machines

In the world of asphalt pavement, there are two primary types of striping machines used to create those white and yellow lines in the road we see and depend on every single day. These two striping machines are separated from one other based on the use of air. One option is called a conventional paint striping machine, and the other is called an airless paint striping machine. There are some basic, but notable, differences between the two most commonly used striping machines in the pavement industry.

Continue reading to learn these differences, and a little more about the devices behind the stripes, lines, and commands on the roads and parking lots in your town.

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Conventional Paint Striping

A conventional striping device uses air and comes equipped with a 7-gallon paint pot that seals and opens, as well as, a small engine and air compressor. The air compressor is an important component that plays a major role in the machines function. In fact, it feeds air to 4 different places: the sealed paint pot, the gun, a small can that holds a paint thinner, and 2 hoses that connect to the rear of the machine. Let’s take a closer look at these four areas.

When air is fed to the paint pot, it forces the paint to travel downward and out of the can, and then into a hose that leads to the primary spray gun. As air is fed into the primary gun, it transforms the paint into a spray, allowing large-scale, uniform application. If air is not introduced to the paint, it would simply drip or squirt out of the gun.

Air is also introduced to a small container that primarily holds paint thinner, but can also house water instead, depending on the type of paint (latex or oil-based) you are using. This is used to clean the gun tip during the application process. After spraying for an extended period of time, you can open the valve for a second or two to send the paint thinner (or water) through a separate hose and directly to the gun tip. This, of course, prevents build-up and blockages.

As mentioned before, the fourth area that air is fed to inside a pavement striping machine are the two hoses that attach to the back. One hose is for paint, while the other is for air. The hose that carries the paint does not supply the primary gun, but rather, a second gun used for stenciling and other paint applications. The air in the other hose allows the paint to spray properly. When it comes to conventional striping machines, it is important to know they require two separate spray guns: one for oil-based paint and one for latex paint.

Airless Striping Machines

Unlike the conventional machines, airless paint striping machines do not use air. Instead, they come equipped with openings in the gun tips that are specially-designed to promote a “spray-like” dispersion. You can get a better idea of this concept by thinking about a garden hose. When a hose is on, you can place your fingers on top of the opening to change the way the water comes out. By simply reducing the size of the hose’s opening, you can alter the speed, force, and spread of the water.

The same idea apples to the openings on airless striping machines. The holes, or openings, in the tip of the paint gun are designed to be very tiny and uniquely shaped in order to achieve spray-like paint dispersal and application. Since these machines do not come with a paint pot, they are much lighter in weight. Many people prefer the airless machines since they simply come with one hose, one motor, one engine, and one pump.

Indianapolis Line Striping Road Marking Services

Call ACI Asphalt and Concrete at 317-549-1833 for professional line striping and road marking services in Indianapolis, Indiana. Our licensed road construction contractors provide a wide range of asphalt and concrete work for commercial and industrial properties, including inspections, installation, replacement, repair, and more. We also offer free estimates and consultations, flexible scheduling, references upon request, and more. Best of all, our work is backed by our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, so you can rest assure that your investment is sound. Request a free quote, today.