Air Assist Airless Paint Sprayers the Pros and Cons
Air assist airless is a unique application for spraying. When used correctly you can achieve transfer efficiency similar to HVLP Spray outfits, production similar to airless units, and finish quality that is close to an HVLP gun.
Air assist airless can be upwards of 65% transfer efficient. To achieve this there you have a limit on the PSI of air that can be supplied to the atomization air for the unit. The overall atomization air pressure is usually pretty low, about 10 psi. So while they can be highly transfer efficient the key is this is usually only true with very thin coatings. With a thicker coating you can still atomize it well but it will be about as efficient as an airless unit because you have to use higher atomization air pressures to break the coating apart. This is one area where air assist airless is limited, if you wish to use the assist air to atomize your material and achieve strong transfer efficiency you need to be using thin to medium viscosity coatings.
Finish quality is another area where Air Assist Airless can really shine. By allowing for better break up of paint compared to an Airless sprayer, Air Assist Airless units will allow for a high quality finish to be achieved.
The final area where Air Assist Airless can be similar to an airless unit is production. Airless will always be the king of speed, but an Air Assist Airless unit is not far behind. The main difference in production is that typically an Air Assist Airless will be operating at lower pressures and as a result have slower fluid delivery compared to an airless operating at maximum pressure. An additional potential downside to Air Assist Airless is their price. Compared to an Airless unit an Air Assist Airless will be more expensive. A final consideration is an Air Assist Airless cannot move fluid through long hose due to lower pressure than Airless units, which can often be important for environments that Airless are used like bridge painting.
By understanding the benefits and drawbacks of Air Assisted Airless spray outfits you can best evaluate whether they will work well for your companies application. If you have questions about Air Assist vs Airless please comment.