Operating an Industrial Paint Booth can be a difficult job, but it doesn't have to be. All operators are looking to improve transfer efficiency, coat more parts in less time, and have as close to Zero defect rate as possible. However, a simple way of improving all of these metics is often overlooked.
Filtration, and optimizing your paint booth filters for better airflow and higher capture percentages you spray booth filters can actually help you acive the big four objectives of any booth operator:
1. Improve Transfer Efficiency
Paint booth intake filters are resposible for providing clean supply air to your booth, however most booth operators use low-efficiency filters here and it is hurting transfer efficiency. If particles in the air mix with the atomized coating the paint will stick to the particles instead of what you are trying to coat - which then requires more of the coating to be applied to ensure proper coverage. By using a higher efficiency filter (like a MERV-13 or ePM1 50%) will remove 50% or more of all particles in the air, more common MERV-8 filters remove less than 1% of all particles in the air. There are many different styles of high efficiency paint booth intake filters, making it easy to increase the filter efficiency without reuiring modifications to the booth.
2. Coat More Parts
Anytime the booth stops spraying, it hurts the revenue generation of that booth. Most paint booth exhaust filters are focused on getting you the lowest initial price that meets your capture (i.e. MACT, GACT, 40 CFR, etc.) requirements. This usually means the exhaust filter manufacturer is more focused on capture percentages and cost reduction than filter life. By only looking at capture efficiency and inital cost of your paint booth exhaust filters you are certianly using a product that is requiring more frequent change-outs than others. If you are looking closer at your paint booth filter system and relying on manufacturer supplied test reports you could be mislead into buying more expensive filters that don't work with your coating. It is suggested that you have your coating tested against different filter options under your operating conditions - this is the only way to get usable information that will not only result in you getting a long lasting product, but also provide you with documentation of what you are exhausting. (We do this testing and evaluation for free by the way - contact us about it here)
3. Reduce Defect/Imperfect Coatings
How air flows through your booth will effect the path of atomized paint from the nozzle of the gun to the part being coated, so being able to better control that airflow pattern will create higher quality finishes. When fewer particles enter the booth through the use of high efficiency filters on the supply air, then there will be fewer particles interacting with the atomized paint. It also means that fewer particles will be caught in the exhaust filters - which will not only increase the life of the exhaust filters but also keep air moving through them easier. Easier air movement through your paint booth filters means more consistent airflow in the booth itself, resulting in higher wuality finishes.
4. Comply With Paint Booth Exhaust Regulations
Depending on where you operate your booth, different regulatory agencies will be involved in determining the exhaust air requirements of your booth. If you have to comply with Aerospace, GACT, or MACT NESHAP regulations you will be under more scrutinty than if you only have to comply with the much easier EPA rule 40 CFR PART 63 HHHHHH. In any event, you do not want to get on the wrong side of any of these regulatory agencies. Most manufacturers will have documentation of Test Method 319 results, but you can offer yourself some additional protection by testing your most common coating or coatings against the filter you are using in the conditions to which you are painting.
Most often paint booth filters are regulated to the overpray filters only and then they are only cared about if you need to meet Aerospace NESHAP, 40 CFR PART 63HHHHHH, GACT NESHAP, or MACT NESHAP exhaust air regulations. By limiting your focus of paint booth filters to just the overpray filters can lead to you missing the opportunity to use filtration to your advantage to make your booth operate better.