Laying out a Sandblasting and Painting Work Flow for Maximum Production
Often times we find that sandblasting and painting are bottlenecks in a company’s production. Typically painting is a bottleneck because of the dry times associated with allowing for the coating to cure between coats. While we have discussed a solution for that is to provide a cure cycle spray booth, there are other factors to consider when evaluating a sandblasting and painting process.
First, we have to evaluate the product movement through your facility. In a typical fabrication or manufacturing process sandblasting and painting are the first and last steps in the fabrication process. That being said it is ideal if product is able to move in a continuous fashion from raw material through all fabrication areas and finishing with the sandblasting and paint area. This can be accomplished in a straight line with all the processes lined up or by snaking back and forth through various production phases.
In addition to the flow of material it is important to consider how material will be moved. If items are not heavy weight this is not as important. However, with heavy items it is important to consider will an overhead crane be necessary, forklifts, or gantry cranes. Each of these movement methods will require various configurations of sandblasting and paint equipment to properly accommodate them into the booth design. Additionally, you should consider which will make the most sense for your production. Overhead cranes are by far fastest and able to tolerate heavy loads but can be expensive to include access in a paint or sandblast booth. Gantry cranes are easier to install but can often be less user friendly for the sandblast and paint operators. Fork trucks are convenient and fast but object size and weight are limitations that you deal with when working with a fork truck.
Another area of common problem is the location of sandblasting. Open air blasting is convenient because it helps reduce equipment costs by not needing a dust collector or media reclaimer. However, your production is not available in poor weather conditions.
Finally, we have open space. A common mistake made in laying out a sandblasting and paint room is to not think about the space needed before, after, and if applicable between multiple paint rooms. It is important to consider the longest object that will be finished because you will ideally have at least that much space before, after, and between any blast or paint booths. This will allow the product to be unloaded, loaded, and moved through stages of production without running into issues where you have to have blasting or painting shut down while you are transferring material into one process or out of another.