Spray Booth Selection
There are many different styles of spray booths, but their purpose is always the same: to create a controlled, dust-free, well-ventilated and well-lighted area for finishing operations. State-of-the-art booths, such as those Global Finishing Solutions manufactures, provide a clean, well-lighted, well-ventilated enclosed area for spray painting the highest quality finishes, as well as accelerating drying and curing of the wet paint by raising the temperature within the booth to as much as 175 degrees F. This allows the vehicle to be handled within 20 to 30 minutes after it’s painted, without damage to the new finish. Spray booths permit paint and cure on a production-line basis.
Knowing your production goals is important when choosing the proper spray booth for your facility. As the chart below shows, a spray booth equipped with SmartCure™ can produce 10 to 14 cars per 8 hour shift compared to, for example, a forced dry booth producing 5 to 7 cars per 8 hour shift.
Downdraft Spray Booths are available in many models. Pit and raised platform models allow most any shop the opportunity to utilize the benefits of a downdraft spray booth. A drawback to a raised platform booth is that it typically increases the ceiling height required to install the spray booth, and the entrance ramps extend 6 to 7 feet from the product doors. Pit-style downdraft booths require excavation and additional concrete work. Many spray booth manufacturers offer downdraft spray booths in single skin and dual skin insulated models. A single skin model is usually at a lower price point, so it may be worth considering if you are on a tight budget.
Curing the paint in a downdraft booth is accomplished in different ways. A “forced dry” system reduces the air speed in the “cure” mode to achieve a higher temperature rise. A re-circulating cure system will re-circulate the heated air from the cabin, back through the air replacement unit and back into the spray booth. A re-circulating cure system offers several advantages over a forced dry system:
- Reduced operating costs
- Quicker temperature rise
- Higher temperature rise in colder climates
- Improved airflow while curing
- Quicker curing of vehicles
Some spray booth manufacturers offer accelerated curing options on their downdraft spray booths. SmartCure™ by Global Finishing Solutions can cure basecoat / clearcoat paint in 8 minutes. Collision shops are able to deliver vehicles in 30 minutes after the paint operation is completed.
There are many options available from spray booth manufacturers worth consideration:
- Drive-thru models
- VOC abatement
- Extended length
- Additional lighting
- Waterborne paint curing
- Location of air replacement units
Semi-Downdraft / Downdraft Side Exhaust Spray Booths represent a compromise between the traditional, but hard-to-get-clean-paint-jobs crossdraft booths, and the downdraft booth. In the semi-downdraft booth, air enters through the filters in the plenum located on the roof of the spray booth, 10 feet above the floor. The air enters the spraying area in a downward flow over the top of the vehicle, and is exhausted through a set of filters located at the opposite end of the spray booth.
The downdraft side exhaust spray booth brings air into the booth in the same same way as the semi-downdraft, but the air is exhausted on both sides of the spray booth.
The advantage of these two models of spray booths is reduced costs, as no concrete work or raised platform is required. These booths can usually be purchased as heated or non-heat models. The heated model is usually available with a forced dry option. Additional options available are:
- Drive thru
- Extended length
- Lighting upgrade
Some shops also use them for painting components like hoods, decks and doors, reserving their larger downdraft booths for complete paint jobs. Many manufacturers can upgrade the non-heated versions of these spray booths at a later date if your production needs require more vehicles later. Again, knowing your production requirements will help you choose the proper equipment.
Crossdraft Spray Booths are the oldest booth style still being produced. They’ve been around for decades. The crossdraft booth moves air horizontally from one end of the booth to the other. While these booths can give you a ventilated and well-lit workplace, they don’t do as well when it comes to keeping dust and dirt out of new paint jobs.