Consumers today have become more discerning of the product they buy that is why spray painting became the option for intricate and decorative surface coating. Spray painting used to be associated with the car industry but now it is used for different applications in businesses and manufacturing operations. Spray painting is mostly undertaken through paint booths because emissions can impact on air quality. Paint Booths recommendations for manufacturers are for the purposes of managing operations to minimize negative environmental impact.
The process of spray painting
Spray painting is the process wherein paint solvent mix is atomized to form a mist of fine liquid aerosol paint droplets that are about 10-15µm (micrometers) in diameter in a spray gun that is under pressure. Air powered sprayer units’ work by blowing a stream of compressed air at high pressure through the nozzle of the gun where the paint solvent mix is atomized and deposited on the surface. The sprayed surfaces are allowed to “tack off” when the VOCs evaporate leaving a uniform surface finish. Typical drying and curing processes are done through curing ovens. In order to control the release of harmful pollutants that include odors, VOCs, toxic compounds and overspray, spray painting is done inside paint booths.
How to mitigate the impact of spray painting
In order to capture and contain emissions at the source, filtration or scrubbing is important to remove particles and droplets of resin. Dispersion of evaporated solvents can control odor and exposure to toxic elements. To ensure efficiency in spray painting, it must be done in a properly designed and well maintained paint booth to the maximum extent possible. Other measures to mitigate the impact of spray painting are good housekeeping and efficient application of coatings during the spraying operation. Significant reductions in hazardous emissions can also be achieved through proper disposal of solvents and thinners. In some situations, paint that has a particularly strong odor can be replaced with a new type of coating or painting formulation. There are paints have zero or low emissions and even if they are relatively more expensive, they are environmentally friendly. In large manufacturing plants with production line applications, air pollution control equipment may be warranted.
How to ensure the safety of paint booths
Spray booths are constructed from materials like steel, concrete, masonry or non-combustible materials. The structure must be adequately supported to ensure stability and should be designed in a manner that sweeps air currents towards exhaust outlets. In many instances, paint booths have protection through an automatic sprinkler system.
Ventilation is important in all spraying areas. Mechanical ventilation must be adequate enough to remove flammable vapors, mists or powder and should operate during the entire spraying process and afterwards until the vapors are removed. Exhaust should always be directed to the outside of a building into areas where it will not create fire hazards or accumulate into pockets. Fans that will be used for ventilation should reduce the potential for friction fires by using non-ferrous or non-sparking material at friction points. Fans motors should be mounted outside booths and protected with a cage or another device to prevent damage to operations.