9. If you are applying glass beads with a bead dispenser, measure bead door settings. Little can be more frustrating than having to remeasure settings each time you get on a job, and settings for doors on bead dispensers can be touchy. When you finally lock into an ideal door setting that delivers the proper amount of beads, measure it so that you can repeat or duplicate the same performance down the road. McGowan recommends using coins as a measuring device because they are effective and readily available to ensure repeatability from you or your crew.
10. Flush and store your machine properly — even just overnight. "Too many contractors store their machines improperly," says Paul Wood, export manager for Airlessco. "Leaving plain water in the machine, or worse, leaving it empty so that air is in the system can damage the packing and metal components." Wood suggests that contractors who primarily use waterborne paints should flush the system with clean water and then circulate either an environmentally safe antifreeze solution or a petroleum-based product like paint thinner or kerosene through the system. Products that mix with water and protect the interior of the paint system also are available.
"Some contractors ask if it is best to store your machine with solvent and under pressure," says Graco's McGowan. He recommends loading the machine with mineral spirits, circulating the mineral spirits to all points at low pressure, then shutting the pump off. Then open the prime valve to relieve all pressure.
"Never store your machine under pressure," he says. "Once pressure has been relieved, close the prime valve. Your wetted parts will be ready to work when you are with no surprises."
In fact, McGowan says, you should never leave a striping machine unattended while under pressure. "There is no gain in doing this," he says. "I believe this is still a throwback to the 'very old' days of all-leather packings to assure that they do not dry out. With today's packing designs this is not necessary."
It's a rule at Robert Liles Parking Lot Service that you never leave a machine unattended, even for a few minutes, with pressure on it. Someone could inadvertently bump the handle or gun and make a mess, or worse, it could be dangerous.
Robert Liles is owner of Robert Liles Parking Lot Service, a member of the Pavement Advisory Board, and a regular speaker at National Pavement Expo and National Pavement Expo West.