Electrostatic Spraying Guide

What is Electrostatic Spraying?

Electrostatic paint spraying Is a method of paint application designed to cut down on overspray and increase transfer efficiency. Atomization is achieved by a rotating spinning bell.

Brief History

Electrostatic spraying was invented by Harold Ransburg in the 1930s. The clever young man was tasked with spraying a cookie jar with limited overspray and the least material possible. The first machines capable of charging particles of paint and then getting attracted to metal were called the no 1 process.

During the Second World War, the no 1 process machines were tasked with spraying Bazookas and ammo boxes.

During 1948 Ransburg improved his original invention and this process was called, yes you guessed it, the No. 2 process. In the 1950s and 1960s, the machines became more mainstream. Still today the No 2 Electrostatic machine is regarded as the best on-site finishing machine and hasn’t been improved upon since Harold Ransburg tinkered with them.

How Does Electrostatic Spraying Work?

Physics lessons ahead! Electrostatic paint spraying works by using positively charged paint particles which are attracted to a grounded, negatively charged metal surface (or the operator, if they aren’t careful!)

A rotating bell at the head of the spray gun atomizes the paint particles and these particles are applied to the metal surface in an evenly distributed coating.

The method of charging the paint and the attraction that is achieved really is an amazing discovery. Thank you, Mr. Ransburg.

The attraction of the paint to the metal surface results in over 97% of the paint being transferred. When you compare this to the transfer efficiency of HVLP and Airless spray equipment, it’s like comparing chalk and cheese!

What are the benefits?

  • Very High percentage of transfer efficiency-often 97-99%
  • Less material needed
  • Better for the environment than other spraying methods
  • High quality of finish
  • Paint wraps around items
  • Even the coating of paint film thickness

What are the drawbacks?

  • Requires a lot of usage and training to master the technique
  • Can be heavy to transport the equipment
  • Expensive to purchase. You are looking at a minimum of $5000
  • Forgetting the ground properly and getting covered in Paint!

Models of Electrostatic Spraying Machine

Ransburg No. 2- A pure electrostatic machine with over 97% transfer efficiency.

Who uses Electrostatic Spraying Equipment?

Trained paint sprayers- it has a unique way of applying the paint. Some applicators love this method of application and some are not so keen but once mastered the finish is second to none.

Items that can be sprayed Electrostatically:

  • Wrought Iron and metal products
  • Balustrade and Metal Handrails
  • Metal Fences and Gates, Railings
  • Intricate architectural metal parts
  • Filing cabinets and other metal office furniture
  • Wire Mesh Products
  • Elevator doors
  • Metal entrance doors, fixtures, and fittings
  • Areas that require little overspray-plant and machinery
  • Park fences and play area equipment.


For the best finish on-site for intricate pieces of metalwork, look no further than an electrostatic machine. Beware though you will have to pay top dollar unless you are lucky to acquire one-second hand.

Further Reading