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Cranes and Paint Booths – A Guide

Overhead and gantry cranes are often needed when you have heavy components you manufacture or paint. However they also create unique considerations when trying to incorporate a paint booth and still maintain the use of your overhead crane.This guide will cover what you should know about cranes and paint booths, how they can be used together, and options you have when considering a paint booth that will operate well with your crane.

Options for cranes and paint booths

When it comes to using your overhead crane with a paint booth you have a few options to evaluate. First is using a true paint booth but not having a slot for the crane cable to be able to be moved inside of the paint booth walls. This option usually only makes sense when your products are moved via an alternative method like a fork lift or gantry crane that is not to tall on the floor. This is a less common option as most of the time if you have an overhead crane your equipment will be to heavy or large to handle on the ground. The benefit of this route is that it will give you a true paint booth, meaning you will meet all code requirements set forth in NFPA 33, and it will be more cost effective than a paint booth with a slot for your crane engineered into the booths design.

A second route you can consider is a paint booth with a pre engineered slot built into the paint booth that you can use with your overhead crane and move your products into and out of your paint booth. This solution is one of the most common options that companies working with over head cranes and needing a paint booth decide on. With this option you can consider a completely enclosed paint booth with or without an air make up unit, if you choose an air make up unit you can bake and cure your paints, which can significantly improve production with most solvent based paints. You can also consider a paint booth with the face completely open rather than enclosed with a crane slot and optional air make up unit. The completely open face booth option will be slightly less expensive than an enclosed crane slot booth typically. The benefits of going with a full paint booth with a pre engineered slot built into it include the ability to continue to use your crane and being completely code compliant. The main drawbacks include that you have to be able to route your duct to avoid any potential contact with the overhead crane and increased costs that occur as the paint booth is typically engineered with additional steel to create proper support.

A third option you can consider to enable you to use your crane and still paint is an exhaust chamber. An exhaust chamber consists of only a filter wall and the proper sized fan based on the wall size. The disadvantage to this option is that it is not considered a full paint booth and will not meet the complete requirements for a spray booth in NFPA 33. It is also requires a lot more attention to safety as the area where the chamber and crane are will be considered a class 1 division 1 area, requiring any electrical equipment in the spray area to be explosion proof. For best results with an exhaust chamber, you typically want to consider an air make up unit, which helps push air toward an exhaust chamber to help improve air movement. For more information see can a room become a spray booth.

When it comes to deciding between these three options below are a few additional tips to help you decide.

Tips to choose between the Three Options for Cranes and Paint Booths and practical tips on where to place the paint booth

  1. If your parts are heavy to move you will typically need to consider a booth with a pre-engineered slot or an exhaust chamber, the true booth will be the best option from a safety and air flow stand point though.
  2. If you select a booth with a slot pre engineered into it, generally speaking the booths costs will increase the larger the width and depth of the slot. Usually a slot of 18 inches or less is able to not require pneumatic doors which makes it a more cost effective option when a crane slot exceeds 18 inches in width a pneumatic door can often be required to properly seal the slot which adds much cost.
  3. Consider how exhaust and intake duct (if applicable) will be run. Remember paint booths have an exhaust duct and fan that have to be run outside of your building whether an exterior wall or past the roof line. You want to be sure that you place the paint booth in your building in an area that will make it relatively easy to run the paint booth duct outside and up past the roof line.
  4. A final tip before choosing between which style paint booth you will use with your crane is to verify your plans with the local authority having jurisdiction, this can often include the building inspector and fire marshal. They are responsible for enforcing safety codes like NFPA 33 and so you will want to be sure that they review your plan prior to making a final decision.

Ultimately when it comes to cranes and paint booths you have 3 primary design choices:  one being just an exhaust chamber, another being a booth with a crane slot engineered into it, and the third being a standard open face paint booth with alternative ways of moving product in and out. By considering the weight of your products, the duct runs for your potential paint booth, and involving the proper code enforcement people you can ensure you choose the best paint booth to work with your over head crane.

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