The 4 toughest
challenges in
Surface Prep and Painting

Square the safety/efficiency circle
in aerospace OEM and MRO

Aircraft painting
is one of the toughest
processes in aerospace.


  • Costly and physically demanding
  • Large-scale, with little automation
  • Always urgent, and yet requires perfection

It's impossible to get the paint process
right without

  • Skilled people
  • The right training
  • And the right tools.

This is about the challenges that people doing surface prep & paint face every day – and some things that can be done to make their workplace safer and more efficient.

Challenge 1: Safety vs. Comfort

Paint hangars
are tough

Sealed To prevent contamination

Regulated For proper paint adhesion

Workers wear:

A full-body suit
Respirators & face shields
Wearing all of this PPE can be:
  • Hot
  • Uncomfortable
  • Restrictive
  • Tiring

Workers may be tempted to compromise their PPE.

That’s unacceptable. The average workplace injury costs £10,000 in medical expense and lost productivity. And it can have devastating, long-term consequences for the injured worker.

Help people be safe, comfortable and efficient. Review all of your PPE.
Is it specifically designed for aerospace processes? For example:

Is it

  • Durable
  • Breathable
  • Silicone-free
  • Isocyanate and chromate resistant
  • Anti-static

Properly designed equipment can make a huge difference in:

  • Safety
  • Compliance
  • Productivity
  • Comfort

Challenge 2: Quality vs. Time

Surface prep and painting is:

Yet perfection is crucial.

Even a bit of lint can cause defects.

For instance...


Meticulous cleaning with harsh solvents is necessary to:

  • Avoid paint defects
  • Achieve delivery milestones




Properly designed supplies can help.
Cleaning tools that are:

  • Contaminant-free
  • Durable
  • Usable on rough, uneven surfaces
  • Adjustable for longer reach
  • Able to absorb and release chemicals efficiently
  • Compliant with BMS and QPL standards

With the right tools, manual-cleaning time can be reduced by 50%.


People can spend hundreds of hours every year retrieving and refilling supplies – a massive waste of motion. And with each, a potential trip or fall.

Consider simple changes like portable containers that are:

  • Available at point-of-use
  • Attachable to the work bench or lift
  • With controlled dispensing
    (to prevent waste)
  • Designed to minimise contamination

Save hours of walking and re-work – and reduce trips and falls.

Challenge 3: Time vs. Cost

Chemical stripping:

Workers pressure-wash or wipe down surfaces.
Using tons of solvent, to speed up the process.

A huge safety hazard with chemical exposure...
AND a source of waste,
with continuous costs running down the drain.

Using application tools that can control solvent use will:

  • Reduce costs
  • Decrease exposure
  • Lessen VOCs

Chemical dispensers designed for Aerospace can reduce solvent usage by 20% or more.

Challenge 4: Perfection vs. Delivery


requires experience and skill.
For instance:

Judging proper drying time:

  • Long enough
    To avoid pinholes and blushing
  • But not too long
    Paint won’t bond

Spray-painting at the right:

  • Temperature
  • Angle
  • Pressure
    To avoid runs, sags, and orange peel effects

Perfection is hard to deliver, in the best of circumstances. Any glitch at this late stage can mean re-work – possibly sending the plane back for complete strip & prep again.

The consequences:

  • Lost profitability & increased costs
  • Missed delivery date
  • Production delays

People get the job done.

Your team uses their skills under extreme conditions so you can deliver perfect product, on time and within budget.

It’s hard work.
They deserve the best PPE and supplies available.

After all, the deadline doesn’t change if someone gets injured.
Or a defect is discovered.

Protect your most important asset.
Giving them the best tools available is critical to your success.

More opportunities may be hidden on your shop floor. Let us be your second set of eyes in discovering them. Book a free Waste & Hazard Walk.

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