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How Manufacturers Can Save on Paint Costs – A Guide

Why Manufacturers should save on Paint Costs

Paint costs are a large expense in any manufacturing process whether it is building cars or making wood cabinets the coatings that create a beautiful appearance and provide protection are often one of the biggest expenses in your project. Being able to reduce the amount of paint you use or by being more effective in applying your coating can help you produce a quality product at a better price. In this article, we will discuss a few ways you may be able to reduce your coating costs.

Can You Choose A Different Coating that Will provide a lower cost per square foot of Coverage

One big mistake that you can make is assuming that price alone is what matters in the cost of your paint. The major factor you would be missing is the amount of coverage at a given cost. Different coatings will provide different coverage rates based on the percent solids of the coating along with a variety of other factors.  One potential area of saving on your coating costs as a manufacturer is to trial a few paint options. You would start with a full kit of the given paint and see how much surface area you painted. You would continue this process with the various trial coatings ensuring you use the same spray equipment with each coating.  After completion, you can determine the square feet of product you were able to successfully paint with each coating. You would then take the square feet divided by the cost of the coating you used. This would provide you a price per square foot of coverage. All other things being equal (performance of the coating, longevity, and quality) you would want to select the coating with the best price based on a square footage of coverage.

Can You Reduce the Amount of Coating You Use through application improvement?

In addition to reducing the cost per square foot of coverage can you do anything to reduce the amount of coating you are using? The amount of coating you use will depend significantly on how efficient you are at applying the coating to the products surface. The efficiency you apply coating to a products surface is called transfer efficiency. Different types of spray equipment allow for higher or lower transfer efficiency. You can learn more about spray equipment and its transfer efficiency here. Usually transfer efficiency is most important if your product is not a flat surface, has bigger and smaller surfaces, or is not extremely uniform this is where transfer efficiency often makes the most difference, though testing how much paint you use with each coating and a given spray technology (HVLP or Conventional for example) is another way you can try to reduce coating costs in manufacturing. By testing you will be able to truly know whether a change in equipment will help you reduce your painting costs.

Can You Reduce the time it takes to paint the product?

In addition to the cost of the coating you also have to consider the time involved in painting as labor is a part of your painting project costs. Depending on the coating and your process in place you may be able to speed up the time required to paint the part. A few ways you can potentially increase the speed you paint the part include spraying (if you are not currently). If you are spraying you might evaluate a different type of spraying (like airless or air assist airless) to see if the speed improvement is enough to offset any potential reduction in transfer efficiency.  In addition to the coating application time if your paint is causing you to have to wait before you can move the product in your production you may want to consider ways to accelerate the dry time of the coating.  Common ways to help accelerate the dry time of a product you are coating include adding heat and cure to your paint booth, adding an oven (either convection or infrared) into your paint line, or considering a coating that has accelerated drying time due to its make up.

In the end the time it takes you, the cost of your paint, and how much paint you waste all play an important part in the final cost of your product. By keeping these costs to a minimum you can help ensure your products price will be competitive in the marketplace. If you want to learn more about paint equipment and how it can help with reducing costs for your paint project you can download our guide here.

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