Where in your production process do you tend to bottleneck? Most manufacturers have a step in their production process where product often ends up piling up resulting in less work being able to be shipped or charged to a customer. Far too often this area happens to be the painting process. It is not hard to see why either, paint can take upwards of 6 hours without any assistance in drying. This means that even though the rest of your shop may be able to produce 4 of an item a day, the paint shop can only handle one or maybe two at a time. The result can often be significant loss of profit as your wait for your paint shop to finish doing its job. While this is a bleak picture it doesn’t have to be, the solution for solvent based coatings is adding heat and a bake cycle to your finishing process.
Caution is needed when the term heat is used though, this heat cannot be created by a flame near the end product. So the solution is heated air that is brought into your paint booth. In addition to helping accelerate dry time a heated paint booth also allows for operator comfort during cold months of weather. It also prevents you from removing all the hot or cool air from your shop due to the fan of your spray booth pulling all the air from the building. We generally recommend that a building have enough heated air to withstand a minimum of 20 minutes of the booth running before it evacuates all air from the building. If your booth will remove all your air faster than 20 minutes, heated air for the booth is essential. This is because if air is removed faster than 20 minutes it can create excess negative pressure on your building as a whole and realistically you will not want to paint in cold months.
While it is all good to consider the benefits for operator comfort and safety of your building the best benefit to most is the increased production. To know just how much time a bake cycle on an air make up unit can reduce your finishing process you have to review the technical data sheets for your coating. Within the technical data sheet their is a section that usually states the dry time at room temperature and at an elevated temperature (typically around 120 – 140 F). The difference between the two numbers (room vs elevated temperature) will provide you the increase you can expect in production. Once you know the numbers difference you can then calculate how much more money can be made selling the increased number of your products a day, assuming your market tolerates an increase in product availability. Then you can compare that increased production to the initial and ongoing costs of an air make up unit with a bake cycle. Primarily the air make up will have an upfront equipment expense as well as an ongoing gas supply expense. It is important to work with your gas company to determine the ongoing costs of using the booth and they will help you based on the air make up size, hours of operation, and other factors. With this information you can then evaluate the cost and benefit of investing in increasing your production ability.
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