If your trying to get a quality finish your shop air contributes significantly to the finish quality achieved, particularly if you are using air atomizing spray guns. The reason is that the quality of your air is one key component in determining the cleanliness of your paint finish, the cleaner the paint finish, the better quality of your finish. So if you want a superior finish you should consider the following principals to ensure a quality finish.
1. Compressor location – when you are initially planning your facility make sure you leave a significant distance between your compressor and where you will require the air or ensure you have a refrigerant system for your compressor if the run to your air tools will be short. The reason for this is that air from a compressor is hot and comes with water in vapor form, this causes excess moisture to be present in your finishing air if you are to close to your compressor. By having your air connections further from the compressor you allow time for the air to cool which allows for it to settle into liquid form again.
2. Compressor maintenance and inspection – A compressor is a lot like an engine they require routine maintenance to operate effectively; if not properly maintained they can release rust or oil into your air lines resulting in contamination in your finish, If your finish has fish eyes in it check your compressor to see if it is contaminating your air supply with oil.
3. Water drop points – an air supply pipe should have points that drop below the rest of the piping and have a drain at the lowest point. These drops have to be far enough away from the compressor to allow water vapor to settle into liquid form which will allow the drain to collect water from your air supply pipe
4. Filtration – Finally in addition to including drops in your supply pipe, proper compressor maintenance, and proper compressor location you should utilize a proper air filter. Essentially you can filter air in a two or three stage system for painting. You can utilize a two stage system which will remove water in liquid form, dust, dirt, and oil. However this will not remove water vapor. You can also use a three stage air filtration system which will remove water, air, dust, oil, and water vapor. The three stage system is standard when finish quality is top priority, like in automobile manufacturing. The two stage system is usually adequate in an industrial setting.
By considering these four principals you can ensure you will have top quality air supply for your finishing needs.
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