Fall Protection & Budget Costing

Access and Fall Protection

Access to painting of the aircraft is possible using floor supported devices. While the use of floor supported devices is not feasible for a blast media booth due to buildup of media on the floor, this is not true of a paint booth. If the use of overhead access devices is necessary, the structure of the booth is adequate to support these devices. In addition, since the devices are closer to the painted surface, they are shorter and necessarily stiff, reducing wiggling and accidental nicks in the plane surface. The structural strength of this paint booth allows the easy installation of fall protection devices. The cables or channels used in fall protection designs can be easily attached to the steel beams supporting the roof panels. The booth structure is designed to handle these sometimes-severe loads and shocks.

Budget Costing

Here are budget prices for two large aircraft inserts. These sizes can be used to paint many airframes and their overall sizes will be listed.
Included in the pricing estimates are:

Air handling for a 70°F temperature rise but no humidity control.
All ductwork and seals. Intake ductwork to a rooftop mounted cupola (FBO).
Access platforms and walkways for the mechanical equipment.
Lighting in the booth ceiling and walls.
Plenum doors and drives.
Electrical control system with PLC controls.
Structural steel and sheet metal to completely enclose the booth.
3-stage air filtration (Method 319) per NESHAP with exhaust fans and stacks.
Complete mechanical and electrical erection of the booth.

It is not unusual to build paint barn projects for $22-25 million. Of course that figure includes site work, lockers, offices, and a weather-tight envelope, but the overall cost of a paint project should be much less with an insert than with a paint barn.

It is also possible to imagine other scenarios that will reduce the overall project cost, yet give the same strong advantages as a paint booth insert. The structural steel that is so much a backbone of this concept can be clad with metal building panels and insulation to form a stand-alone paint hangar at very little additional cost.

Conclusion

The use of a paint booth insert for painting large aircraft will meet all of the tests for an effective paint booth (safety, health and quality) enabling a good paint job. The use of paint barns will achieve two of the three objectives, but rarely provides the control of the painter’s environment that is so essential to getting a good paint job. The facts show that inserts are a practical method of achieving all of the objectives of a paint facility. In large aircraft painting, airflow is lower, energy and life cycle costs are lower, and lighting is better than in a comparable paint barn. In addition, the paint booth insert is environmentally friendly and has a much lower investment cost.