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Four Important Pieces of Information to Properly Match Spray Equipment to Your Application


Viscosity is critical to matching equipment to your application. Viscosity is a fancy term for how thick a coating is. Thicker coatings require larger fluid nozzles, increased fluid pressure, and higher air pressures. Additionally, thick coatings require high volume air caps to properly atomize the coating. Additionally, the coating type often influences equipment that could potentially work with the coating (high viscosity coatings often times will not spray well with HVLP technology). Viscosity also impacts the airless pressure needed to supply fluid over a long distance and it influences the equipment needed for fluid transfer. Essentially viscosity is critical for being able to determine the right equipment for your spray needs.

Coating type

Water and solvent based coatings have significant differences and each have different things to consider when being sprayed. Water based coatings require different pressure tank materials (stainless steel vs galvanized) and different considerations when spraying in certain environmental conditions. They also do not spray electrostatically without special modifications. Water based coatings can also be sprayed with conventional or airless applications without concerns over VOC restrictions.Solvent based coatings on the other hand spray well electrostatically and can use galvanized tanks. Their downside is that if you are spraying frequently you have to be more concerned with over spray control and often need to utilize HVLP instead of airless or conventional spray to minimize VOC output.  Another important factor about your coating is how abrasive it is.  Abrasive coatings often need hardened metal to prevent excessively fast wear.

Desired Spray Rate

Your spraying goals will impact the right equipment. If pure production is your goal a large fluid nozzle or airless unit probably is a good solution. If you’re looking to paint a car with the highest quality finish you will use a HVLP spray gun most often. With so many different goals it is important for an equipment provider to know what you are trying to achieve by spraying.

Pot Life

If a paint has a set amount of time before it begins hardening this is critical to know. Depending on the speed of hardening you may require a plural component spray system. You may also want to stay away from certain spray outfits that are very expensive like airless units as if they are not properly cleaned you will harm the equipment by not properly cleaning.

While there are many factors that will contribute to properly matching equipment to your spraying application these four areas will provide 90% of the most important information to be able to match your coating to the proper spray equipment. If you are evaluating spray equipment make sure that you cover this information or the technical data sheet with your equipment sales person for best results.


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