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Electrostatic Spray Gun Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS

You may be considering an electrostatic spray gun as you have heard it has a variety of benefits. This article will cover frequently asked questions that people have about electrostatic spray guns and electrostatic painting. You can also review the pros and cons of electrostatic spray guns here.

Question 1 about Electrostatic Spray Guns – How Electrostatic Spray Guns Work

Electrostatic painting works by applying a negative charge to paint. The negatively charged paint is then sprayed at a grounded part and the negatively charged paint will then seek the closest ground (in this case the product) which will reduce the amount of overspray that is created. Reducing overspray helps reduce the amount of paint you use in your manufacturing or painting work.

Question 2 About Electrostatic Spray Guns – Are They Safe

You may have concerns that an electric charge is being applied to a paint and wonder what risks that may present.  While this can be a valid concern, by taking proper precautions you can ensure that you remove safety risks.  The biggest risk that exists with electrostatic paint is a charge building up within the painter or the equipment and when the painter or equipment moves to close to a grounded surface a spark jumps from the painter or equipment to the surface which could cause an ignition source.

There are a variety of safety features built in to quality electrostatic spray guns like those offered by Wagner or other top of the line electrostatic sprayers. First, the unit is grounded through the power pack and into your wall (as long as your power outlet is grounded properly and your cord is in tact). Second, as the operator you should be wearing shoes that have conductive soles or a grounding strap. This will allow any charge that would potentially build up to be able to dissipate into the earth. Third, the unit will typically have an additional grounding cable that you should connect to a proper grounding point.  Fourth most electrostatic units will adjust the strength of electric charge being built up in the gun if it is determined the electrostatic spray gun is getting to close to a grounded part, which helps to reduce any risk of a spark jumping. These four features make modern electrostatic spray guns very safe. If you have a water borne electrostatic spray system there will also be an isolated pressure pot or similar material device that will build a charge but most modern electrostatic systems will have a variety of safety features that will dissipate any charge that builds up while spraying around the pressure pot and prevent an operator from accidentally touching the pot and hurting themselves.

Question 3- Do Electrostatic Spray Guns Provide A Better Finish?

Electrostatic spray guns are offered as an HVLP Spray Gun or an Air Assist Airless spray gun option. They will provide the same finish you get with a standard HVLP or Air Assist Airless Spray Gun. The electric charge applied to the paint does not change the way the finish appears at all.

Question 4 – What are the Benefits of Electrostatic Spray Guns

Electrostatic Spray Guns will reduce paint waste quite a bit. In general, with your spray equipment properly set up you can expect about a 20% paint savings with electrostatic spray guns compared to HVLP or Air Assist and up to 55% with airless or conventional spray guns. This also will translate into reducing your filter changes in your spray booth and potentially can help with your emissions by reducing their volume.20%

Question 5 – Will Electrostatic Spray Guns Eliminate the need for masking

If you are considering an electrostatic spray gun for use as a paint contractor you may wonder if you will be able to stop needing to mask when painting indoor objects. While overspray will be reduced there is still some overspray. In our personal demo’s we have found that hvlp air spray electrostatic spray guns will provide a slightly better control of the amount of overspray then air assist airless but will not be as fast in painting. You will typically need to still mask to prevent overspray from traveling.

Question 6 – DO I need Special Paint for an electrostatic Spray Gun

There are paints that are preformulated by paint manufacturers and are labeled as electrostatically balanced or in similar ways. In general paints that do not have metallics and are primarily thinned by solvents with lene in them (xylene, tolulene, ect) will be relatively friendly for electrostatic painting. If a paint is labeled as pre formulated for electrostatic painting you can always try the non pre formulated version in a small volume to see if you have issues with grounding out.

There can be limits to the types of paints that spray well with electrostatic spray guns. Specifically, paints that have metallic or solvents that are conductive will typically not spray well. Each paint is different so ideally you want to verify with a paint provider and or electrostatic company if a given paint will work well with electrostatic painting.  Additionally, waterborne paints have special requirements to be able to be sprayed electrostatically like an isolation block to isolate the fluid source from the earth, these requirements can make water borne paints finicky with electrostatic painting.

Question 7 – What Equipment Do I need for Electrostatic Spray Painting

There are a variety of options for electrostatic spraying if you purchase an air spray electrostatic spray gun you typically buy the hose set, control pack, and electrostatic spray gun then you would use a standard paint pressure pot. For the air assist airless electrostatic you can purchase just the gun, controller, and hose while hooking it up to an existing air assist airless pump of if you want portability there are options for a cart mounted system (though they will only run with a small tip).

Question 8 – How Much Will Electrostatic Spraying Gun Equipment Cost

For an electrostatic spray gun with a controller and hose you can expect to pay around $5000 – $6800 dollars. For complete packages with an air assist airless pump you can expect to pay $7000 – $12000 depending on the size of pump you end up considering.

Ultimately electrostatic spray guns can be a expensive investment of a few thousand dollars. By properly considering a lot of these frequently asked questions you can be better prepared to see if electrostatic painting is right for you. Ideally, you want to coordinate with a company to spray your paint and determine if it will work with electrostatic, they should also help you know how to safely paint electrostatically. If you need further help deciding if electrostatic is right for your painting needs you can contact us today.

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