The Difference Between a Polyurea Spray Machine and a Spray Foam Machine

PMC Machines inside rig

Choosing the right equipment is vital to a business that operates in spraying material for insulation and coating projects. The ability to perform a job effectively often hinges on the equipment or tool it is performed with, so it is important to understand the different types of spray machinery in order to adequately perform a job. 

Coating equipment and spray machines are not equal in their ability to operate with certain materials, as they necessitate varying pressure to apply. Most high-pressure rated equipment could be interchangeable regardless of whether it is used for spraying polyurea or foam, but lower pressure machines are commonly only used for spray foam. The proper material distribution for coatings needs to be at or above 1850 – 3500 psi, while foam application is able to be performed by machines in the ranges of 800 to 2000 psi. The caveat here is that lower pressure machines are suitable for spray foam only under the condition of not using long hoses, as those require higher pressure to effectively distribute the material.  

Pneumatic and Air-Driven Machines 

Air-driven or pneumatic equipment has been in use for over 60 years, though the technology has come a long way in terms of its overall effectiveness. The technology behind these types of machines is based on a basic two-component combination: two pumps operated by an air motor operating within a particular pressure ratio. The psi rating of a machine correlates to how much material it can distribute in terms of fluid pressure. So if the pressure ratio is 25:1, the machine can deliver 25 psi of fluid pressure for every pound of air pressure applied. 

As long as the host is large enough in diameter to dispense the necessary material, pneumatic systems will distribute the application consistently. It is not a surprise then, that this technology has been around for decades and is highly reliable, but the clear drawback is that it does not permit the pressure to be adequately monitored, burdening the operator with the task of watching the foam for correct distribution and application. 

For businesses just starting out, pneumatic equipment is often the go-to choice due to its relative simplicity and lower price point. However, as business picks up and bigger jobs begin to require higher output machinery.  

Hydraulic Machines 


Introduced in the 1970s, hydraulic equipment uses hydraulic power to operate chemical proportioning pumps and is commonly used for the application of polyurea coatings and dual-component foam. Some of the systems even include a valve that allows the direction of the sprayer to change. The fast pump changeover is the machine’s most appealing attribute, resulting in very minimal pressure loss when the direction changeover occurs.  

As the chemicals used in spray foam need to mix before application, the hydraulic application allows for better monitoring methods to assure that the mixture of chemicals is consistent and proportional during application. If the system detects improper operation of bad mixing, it shuts down automatically to prevent bad product distribution, allowing the operator to address the issue rather than apply poor product.  

Polyurea and foam chemicals require a heating point of anywhere between 100 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Primary heaters heat the chemicals to necessary temperatures, and heated hoses retain the temperature set point to guarantee that good quality foam is added via these higher-quality hydraulic systems. 

When it comes to large-area applications, such as coating wide rooftops, using a hydraulic machine to spray foam has been found to be especially effective allowing for great heat performance and maximum output.  

Electric Machines 

When high throughput is required for a coating or spray foam application job, electric spray systems offer a great performance value, making them ideal for contractors looking for polyurea equipment for sale.  

Electric machines are advantageous in their ability to maintain a consistent pressure as the spray or coating applicator is activated, as well as maintaining appropriate stall pressure levels when the machine is on, but not operational.  

Motor control tech assures that the two mixing pumps maintain the same amount of fluid pressure and that controls the motor’s electrical current. The pumps and applicator orifices are similar in size so the two pump pressures must be close to the same for the proportioner to achieve a 1:1 chemical ratio. Modern equipment will immediately shut down if the pump pressures start to fall out of sync and lose balance, stopping the user from spraying bad foam or coating, with an error informing the user as to the cause of the shutdown.  

The heating aspect of electric machines is also highly beneficial. In order to be viable, electric spray foam systems heat the chemicals to their necessary heating point with large primary heaters. While most contractors rely on hoses to maintain the heated temperature of the product as it is being sprayed, colder temperatures can cool down insulated hoses, causing them to need to be warmed up before actually actively having the retention ability. If the machines have been off for an extended period of time, by the time the hoses are at a point where they can retain the necessary heat temperatures, a significant amount of time would have been wasted. 

Electric systems are not only reliable but with proper maintenance can have fantastic longevity. They are an investment, and their maintenance will incur additional costs, but it will be better than buying a brand new piece of equipment. Such systems have been known to last anywhere from 15 to 25 years. 


If you are looking for a polyurea spray machine for sale, consider exploring the PMC polyurea machine and Graco polyurea machine. For spray foam insulation, consider the Graco foam machine or PMC foam machine. Whether you are looking for new or used polyurea spray equipment for sale, you can find many options suitable for all types of jobs here.

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John Davidson is the VP of Operations at SprayWorks Equipment Group and is an SPFA PCP Certified Roofing and Insulation Installer, Roofing and Insulation Project Manager, and Supplier Rep. With over 30 years of experience in the spray foam and polyurea industry, John brings a wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience. He has worked on commercial and residential buildings, bridges and infrastructure.

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