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There are some decisions in life that you must definitely think through because of the investment they represent. Sometimes we are blinded just by the cost and we do not take into account the positive outcomes. If you are looking to make this big step for your business and include some professional surface treatment solutions, we would like to share our experience and help you decide on whether you need a spray booth or not.
Spray booths. Why are they necessary?
Spray paint booths represent one of the greatest strides made toward cost-effective productivity in modern manufacturing. They have been designed to accommodate almost any manufactured item, from the smallest plastic components and intricate furniture to the largest semi trucks and assembly lines.
In addition to streamlining production, they also provide critical safety for workers and the surrounding environment, controlling hazardous materials to prevent spills, contamination, and many health-related issues.
It must be also taken into account that during the last decades, most of the needs in the refinishing sector have changed. The following table can compare the main changes between those different eras that we are going to analyze in this article:
Hazards of DIY painting
There are lots of laws and guidelines to ensure safety for people and the environment when speaking of working with paints. This is due to the level of toxicity and flammability that sprays, adhesives, etc.produce within a spray operation. In the same way, explosions can occur when fumes build up near an open flame.
A good installation and ventilation are critical to prevent health issues and other possible problems.
Quality of the result
A wide range of imperfections may occur if not treated well inside a spray booth. With this document we will try to list the most important of them:
MOST OF THESE QUALITY PROBLEMS COULD BE SOLVED THROUGH A SPRAY BOOTH. WHY?
- Spray booths provide a clean environment for the vehicle/piece, protected from dust or particles originated in the working área
- Spray booths provide a uniform airflow and a zero turbulence environment. This is important because even if some particles reaches the inside (mostly through workers), the vehicle will be protected by a thick air layer.
- The air reaching the spray booth goes through a set of filters to avoid any posible particle from the outside
- Temperature (drying) & humidity control through humidifiers and burners enables to achieve optimal results given a specific type of Paint
- Moreover, lots of imperfection could be seen instantly thanks to hight brightness LED panels installed inside the booth. This is very important to match paint shades also.
Savings of material and consumables
Given the optimal environment that creates a spray booth, there could be considerable savings thanks to:
- Reduced Paint layer thickness (optimal temperature and humidity)
- More uniform Paint layers (optimal temperature and constant airflow)
- Better Paint transfer level (zero turbulence environment and constant airflow)
- Avoiding imperfections and repaintings (clean dust-free environment)
Cycle runtimes with and without spray booth
The most important time saving action is performed during the drying stage of the vehicle/piece. We offer different drying options that includes IR and UV dryers for smaller pieces.
There will be also a significant time saving during the application process, because the vehicle surface has a better temperature and retains the paint perfectly.
Painter health improvement
This is a very important point for most spray booths and one of the main reasons they exist. Most coutries have dedicated laws that forces companies that work with hazardous VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), to install booths with severe specifications in order to prevent health issues on the workers.
Specifications may vary, but they usually focus on the airflow intensity, lighting, filtration system, etc.
When the painter starts spraying paint towards the vehicle/piece a cloud of hazardous compounds is released in the air and a simple mask is generally not enough to avoid inhaling this substances. Even the simple contact with the skin may result in severe health conditions after prolonged use.
This is why the spray booth through its permanent airflow obtains two different results:
On one hand it creates an air layer that avoids dust particles to reach the treated aurface and on the on the other hand it neutralizes the VOC cloud and pulls it out through the pit of the booth, avoiding a direct and prolonged exposure on the worker. Normally higher rates of airflow (measured in m3 per hour), means a safer work environment because it translates to more power to neutralize VOCs.
The mentioned risk could also be applyed by just mixing paint and not only spraying. Chemical hazardous reactions are pretty common when performing this job and it is highly advisable to do it inside the spray booth or even better on a dedicated Paint mixing room.
Fire hazard is also reduced thanks to spray booths. It must be know that most paints and solvents are highly flammable and as a result the area where they are used is normally marked ad dangerous for fire hazard.
Even a spray booth won’t neutralize this hazard, but with a correct maintenance it’s a total safe zone to work in. Just change filters when saturated and keep the interior clean.
The potential emissions to atmosphere from spray painting operations are:
- evaporated solvents (as VOCs) from drying of coating formulations, thinners and cleaners
- odours, caused by odorous solvents and VOCs
- toxic compounds, to the extent that solvents, thinners and cleaners are toxic
- coating overspray or ‘carryover’, and
- sanding and blasting dust arising from surface preparation in some activities, such as smash repairing or timber painting.
Efficient capture in a spray booth at the point of evaporation could prevent emission of solvents, odours and other toxic compounds
The filtration system installed in the spray booth, as well as the active carbon layers (optional) may reduce to acceptable levels the emissions to the atmosphere.
Equipos Lagos has also contributed to develop a PCR (product category rule) that is is part of an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) wich is a multi-criteria measurement standard of the environmental performance developed by ENVIRONDEC (Swedish Environmental Research Institute), related to goods and services from a life cycle perspective.
The final objective of an EPD is to reduce the environmental impact associated with the manufacturing activity throughout the supply chain, use phase and the disposal of the product.
The PCR could be found here: Product Category Rule for Spray Booth Equipment
As you may see, investing on a Spray Booth is not only advisable for the cycle time & quality finishing improvement of your business, but also for better health and environmental care. It’s an all-in-one equipment that may help you to develop and be more competitive in the global market.
It you still can’t decide or if you have other questions about spray booths and surface treatment, contact us and we will help you solve them quickly.