Optimized Paint Booth Filters

Optimized Paint Booth Filters

Optimized is a difficult word because so many companies have burned bridges by offering “optimized” solution that only seem to optimize their own profits, but this post will discuss the traditional meaning and how you could self-test or at least self-audit someone claiming to optimize your paint booth filters so you’re not lead down a path to increasing some suppliers bottom line while yours suffers.  More specifically in this post we will focus on the air exit/paint overspray side.


Most importantly in paint booth exhaust filters is they capture particulate, and prevent it from entering your exhaust stack, coat your fan blades, or get spewed into the atmosphere (which could get you a fine and other legal trouble).  However, not every supplier feels the need to make sure your overspray filters are catching particles and we’ve run into situations where suppliers have sacraficed capture efficiency to give longer filter life.  Making sure you get a copy of either a Method 319 or 52.2 test report is important.  Those reports will tell you the efficiency of the filter at different particle sizes, and the 319 report will give you both a dry and oil challenge aerosol.  Decreasing capture efficiency will usually equal longer life, but it is a risky method.


Case Studies vs Individual Testing

In much the same way the word “optimized” makes most of us skeptical, so does a case study of how a supplier “helped someone just like you.”  The reason for this is again because we’ve all been burned by the slick salesperson with a great looking case study and then the product doesn’t perform and the salesperson has alrady moved on to leave you to figure it out for yourself.  This is unfortunate because a well doen case study is very useful, but because most case studies are written by sales and marketing folks they tend to leave out the important variables that will help further explain why it worked for the case study participant and caution as to why it may not work for you.  These variables – especially when it comes to paint booth filters – are almost too numerous to make a case study valuable.  You can get around this by doing individual testing of your specific coating, at your specific running conditions, that will produce meaningful data that will correlate with how the paint booth filters will work in your booth.

Weighing The Options

With so many manufactuers making paint booth exhaust filters, you have a nearly endless supply of styles to choose from.  Some are very well produced with cool mascots, marketing videos, or testimonials while some are just a few folks trying to make a living.  What makes a supplier have high value for you is one that can test your speficic coating with a series of different options, and one that innovates and creates new product routinly.  These innovators, like the world’s largest Columbus Industries, typically don’t spend a lot on the feel-good stuff like websites and mascots but instead re-invest their profits in creating new products that move the industry forward.  If you see a supplier that is still selling the same thing from 20 years ago it shows a lack of concern of the customer because regulations around paint booth exhaust and the regulations on what liquid coating can be made from are changing and suppliers that are wired in and creating products that adapt to these changes should be a requirement.  Again, having individual testing that uses your coating will produce useful documentation to prove compliance and make you able to compare different options.

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