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Railcar Repair and Manufacturing

If your rail-car blasting and coating facility struggles with low efficiency, low output, or safety issues, BlastOne can help you modify or install blast rooms and paint booths that increase productivity, reduce operating costs, and improve your safety record.

Industrial Railcar Repair & Manufacturing Blast & Paint Facilities

BlastOne has a long history of working with railcar manufacturers helping them get on track and stay there. Each job has unique challenges and we collaborate with you to find the fastest, safest and cleanest solution for your desired outcomes.

A protective coating system has a distinct service life. No coating lasts for ever – particularly not in a harsh environment. Extending that service life is possible with quality coatings, applied with quality coating equipment, applied over a substrate which has been prepared to a high quality standard using high quality blasting equipment and high quality abrasive. BlastOne has extensive experience to help you maximize coating life and reduce corrosion.

Industry Challenges

All railcars, whether it is a closed top hopper car, box car, tanker car or auto-rack, can fall victim to coating failure.  Some of the common issues we’ve found from working with the industry include:

  • Confined spaces and working at heights

    Working inside or outside a rail or tank car can be hazardous. While blasting the interior of the car, the space is extremely cramped and difficult to move in. Added to this are the all hazards of a confined space – toxic substances, flammable gases, lack of oxygen, difficulty of evacuation/extraction.  While blasting the exterior, the operator is often working at precarious heights. This decreases maneuverability and at the same time creates a fall risk.
  • Unable to meet project deadlines

    Variations in coating types between cars means production can be greatly impacted,  leading to scheduling delays.

    Additionally, areas of the cars may need to be repaired before blasting can began. Depending on the extent of damage, this can disrupt the project workflow.

  • Strict quality control and regulations

    The variety of coatings used on each railcar results in major variation in surface profile requirements. This makes quality control a challenging task. Consequently, a rail car facility needs to have a suitably qualified coating inspector onsite, checking quality standards compliance constantly.
  • Safety concerns

    The range of hazards in a rail car blast and paint facility is extensive – some general hazards found in most engineering facilitates, some specific to blasting and painting.

    BlastOne is able to supply both corrosion control industry specific PPE and general PPE.

Why Blast?

The causes for corrosion in railcars are many and varied. Hopper cars, known for carrying road salt, are highly susceptible to corrosion. Tank cars also transport high chloride containing content such as saltwater in crude oil, which can lead to heavy corrosion of unlined cars. Highly caustic material is also carried and can lead to premature coating failure and corrosion. Salt has a significant effect on coating life time and can significantly damage the coating to substrate bond. 

This creates the need for a durable and resistant barrier to protect the steel from corrosion. These assets are expensive to build and when in service they earn significant income. When railcars are out of service, they cause losses in production and opportunity which ultimately leads to a loss of profits.

High quality abrasive blasting ensures the surface is ready for coating application and lengthens the life of the coating. 

The Best Blasting Equipment

The scale of equipment relevant to blasting railcars ranges from a single hand-held nozzle to a fully robotic automatic blasting system.  The type of equipment specified depends on the output of the plant. If the plant has a low output, (>1 painted car output per day), or primarily tank car internals, manual handheld blasting is the usual systems type. If there is a goal to increase the output of the department, if blaster employee turnover is high because of objections to manual blasting, or safety records are poor, automated surface preparation is a solution to the challenge. This can be accomplished by either robotic manipulator arm style of blasting with conventional equipment or a pass-through centrifugal wheel style machine.

When air blasting, it is always recommended to utilize a system that can provide 150PSI compressed air output. This will maximize production.

Tank Car Blasting

The Best Abrasives

For cars that are 100% ferrous metals, steel grit is often used. For cars that incorporate any non-ferrous metals as part of the construction, ToughBlast Garnet or other mineral abrasives are often used.

The biggest factor is the facility the cars are being processed in. If the plant can keep the area the blasting is occurring in completely dry (with a blast booth for instance) steel grit may be the preferred choice. If getting water into the area is ever a possibility, an expendable material like the garnet is a more cost-effective choice.

If there is a risk of water ingress, steel grit is not suitable for use in a blast room. This is because, once wet, the grit particles bind together into one mass, making removal extremely difficult. In this instance, a garnet abrasive must be used.

Blast Booths / Rooms






Garnet Blasting Creates Productivity Boost for Twin Barge Project


Coating Types and Equipment

Protecting the railcar surface is critical, especially after removing  rust and other surface damage. Applying the right coating can add years to the service life of the equipment, maximize your investment and eliminate cross contamination between cargo types.

Typically, railcars are lined with high-build, 100% solid epoxies, while exteriors are more commonly coating in a thin film waterborne material.

Often, the coating equipment selected is a plural component system with the ability to change ratios quickly, allowing for greater flexibility in coating choice and guaranteed on-ratio mixing.

Standard coating inspection instruments that are used: wet and dry film thickness gauge, environmental monitoring, and holiday detection.

Blast and Paint Halls


BlastOne is a supplier of turnkey abrasive blasting and coating systems.

Large enclosed halls can be designed and engineered to provide ventilation and visibility for both painting and grit blasting. The abrasive recycling systems and high performance vacuums provide work efficiency, while humidity controlled air helps prevent oxidation and flash rusting of the steel between the blasting and coating processes.

The configuration of the rooms can be designed around the rail cars to be coated. Ventilation systems are designed for end draft or downdraft configurations.

Normally, because of the size of the rooms, a separate structure is required for the booth and the building housing it.

Case Studies

Training & Support

25 Important Considerations when Building a Blast Facility

If you are purchasing a turnkey blast room for building it yourself, there are 25 subjects you need to be well versed in. BlastOne has compiled a detailed report containing an in-depth guide on all the critical components of a blast room: design considerations, abrasive education, and production techniques.

Blastman Robotics LTD: The Reliable Blast Cleaning Solutiony

Typical industrial sandblasting automated & robotic blasting equipment require fixed, purpose-built infrastructure to operate. BlastOne specializes in designing, building, and commissioning robotic sandblasting facilities to provide custom solutions for our customer’s corrosion control needs.

Knowledge & Learning

Videos from the Experts

How to | Primed Insights | Safety Tips

Surface Testing

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Blast Room Maintenance

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Tank Car Robotic Automation

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