The aerospace training section of Finishing Academy focuses on the key factors to consider in the design, layout, and operation of an aerospace finishing facility. You will find that there are many different options available for engineering a suitable environment for painting aircraft, and each has unique advantages in specific situations.
Crossdraft vs. Downdraft
There is no disputing that the most critical element of a professional finishing program is the painters themselves. Their skill, touch and precision are often the difference between an ordinary paint job and an extraordinary paint job.
Even among the world’s best painters, there is still debate: Is crossdraft or downdraft the ideal airflow pattern in a aircraft paint booth?
It is not easy designing a paint booth for an airplane. The natural shape and function of a plane causes disruptions in airflow. When trucks and buses are painted in paint booths, they possess enough volume that they significantly affect the remaining volume of the booth. However, that is not the case with airplanes.
Inserts for Painting Aircraft
The use of inserts for painting fighter aircraft in the military has a long-established and proven record of success. It achieves all of the main objectives of a paint booth — protects against fires, contains the VOCs and provides the proper environment.
Inserts have been used in civil and military facilities. The U.S. Air Force has over 25 inserts and the painters know what paint finish quality means. Wherever inserts have been used, paint rework is decreased, giving painters control over the painting environment they need to do a professional job.
When compared with a paint barn, they feature clean, smooth and easily cleanable interior walls and surfaces, excellent lighting, controllable and laminar airflows, and reduced paint rework.
Much thought has been given to paint booth pressures. Usually this discussion centers on whether the booth is under a negative or positive pressure. Some discussions insist that the booth be held at a positive pressure relative to the outside so that dirt and debris cannot enter the painting chamber and soil the object being painted. This is a serious consideration in booth design and is generally solved by having very good seals on the doors and completely caulking the panels. Others insist the booth be at a negative pressure relative to the outside. This prevents emissions and VOCs from entering the room adjacent to the spraying chamber. Once again, having very good seals on the doors and caulking the panels help solve this problem.