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Wheelabrator Preservation Line: An environmentally-responsible solution to blasting and painting needs


In August 2006, the installation of a Wheelabrator Preservation Line complemented the new Delta Steel facility opening in Morgan City, Louisiana.

Company Profile

Delta Steel, Inc. owns and operates steel service centers that produce and supply a range of pre-processed steel products. The company offers plates, stainless steel plates, floor plates, hot rolled coils and sheets, cold rolled coils and sheets, and galvanized coils and sheets. 


Delta Steel was looking for ways to reduce shot media consumption and improve their preventative maintenance program for their Autoblast Preservation Line.

They turned to Wheelabrator Plus for help and signed a Wheelabrator service contract in 2007.

“After the initial year of having this service, we realized the importance of renewing and sustaining the contract that has helped us significantly reduce our maintenance time and abrasive costs,” proudly confirms Red Wallace, General Manager for the Morgan City facility.


As a provider of components for oil rig platform applications and large sheets of steel for the shipbuilding industry, Delta Steel uses the Wheelabrator Preservation Line blast and paint systems. This is used for on plate and structural shapes for rust and scale removal and surface profiling.

In addition, a weldable zinc-based primer coat of paint is applied for corrosion protection prior to storage or subsequent manufacturing operations. Steel surfaces are first dried, pre-heated, and then shot blasted and painted automatically before being dried in a hot-air tunnel.

The steel enters the Wheelabrator system on a roller conveyor that moves the steel through a station where it is pre-heated by a direct flame to remove water or moisture prior to blasting. The steel continues on the conveyor through the shot blast machine where it is exposed to the abrasive blast from 12-bladed TargetLok® direct drive wheels for even distribution of abrasive over the entire width of the plate and around structural profiles.

After shot blasting is completed, the steel enters an automatic paint booth where a dual filtering system paints the steel with HVLP guns for water-base paint or airless guns for solvent base primers. To ensure consistent paint spray application, while keeping paint transfer as efficient as possible, Wheelabrator paint systems utilize product sensors to monitor and control the paint spray gun operation.

Pre-blasting the steel reduces wear on cutting tools including bandsaws and drill bits; reducing overall production costs. When painting is completed, the steel leaves the paint booth and enters a drying tunnel before exiting the Autoblast® Preservation Line on a conveyor.

The paint booth features a dual filtering system – a reverse pulse paint filtration unit that removes paint particulates from the air followed by a thermal oxidizer that cleans volatile organic compounds from the air. The filtration system prevents harmful paint fumes and particles from entering the facility or the outside environment; resulting in significant waste reduction in the overall process.


The Preservation Line allows Delta Steel to clean and paint stocked materials per each customer’s requirements while also distributing steel products to customers in a time-sensitive manner, often within hours of placing an order.

The machine is designed to blast steel plates up to 160” wide, 2” thick and 60’ feet long. It can also blast and paint 42” I-beams, with process times typical between 5 to 10 FPM.

With a second consecutive annual quarterly service contract in place, certified Wheelabrator personnel inspect and install parts and follow up on previous inspections to ensure the smooth operation of the system.

With this Wheelabrator system and Wheelabrator Plus service support, Delta Steel has increased its productivity levels by choosing an environmentally-responsible solution to accommodate its broad range of automated blasting and painting needs. Wheelabrator continues to lead the U.S. shipbuilding industry by providing efficient shot blast and painting solutions.