Steps to Making a Repeatable Paint Process In Manufacturing
As a manufacturer one of the first things that your customer will see when you are finished making your product is the paint job you deliver. The visual nature of your paint job is what makes it a critical aspect of your manufacturing process. Achieving visually appealing, consistent results, will ensure your product stands out in the market. This guide will provide the insights you need to deliver a consistent, repeatable, paint process.
Step 1 for a Repeatable Paint Process - Select Coatings & Coating Providers
To ensure a repeatable, consistent, paint finish you need to have standardization of the paints you will be using. While this may seem obvious it can often be an area that is overlooked as specifications for jobs may be listed with certain coatings manufacturers suggested for the application. Ideally you want to choose a coatings manufacturer and then assemble a reference binder as well as a desktop folder potentially that highlights the paints you use. Within the document you will want to have the paint product names listed and have a copy or link to the Technical Data Sheets and Manufacturer Safety Data Sheets (MSDS sheets). These sheets provide critical information about your paint including what paint equipment is best suited for your paints, the curing times of your paints, potential safety concerns with your paints, disposal considerations and more. By having them readily available for reference during painting this will ensure your painters have the knowledge they need to address on the spot issues with their paint.
Step 2 for a Repeatable Paint Process - Establish Pre Paint Checklist
After selecting the coatings you have decided on, you will want to ensure a standard procedure is established on things that are recorded and verified prior to starting painting. Pertinent information that is typically recorded prior to painting includes factors like the temperature in the paint booth, the humidity of the paint booth, the surface preparation standard achieved (more on recording blast profiles here), and the viscosity of the paint when prior to beginning work. This information will help in case there is a future need to address why a paint failure occurred it will also help to provide a reference for others who may have to step into painting at a moment’s notice to understand the typical conditions that you want your facility to have prior to painting.
Step 3 for a Repeatable Paint Process - Standardize Equipment and Settings
After you have determined the paints you will readily be using for your projects, ensured that everyone is able to easily review pertinent data about your paints, and established a pre paint checklist, the next step is to evaluate and typically simplify the equipment you will be using in your paint department. In general if your having trouble with your paint process because it is complicated and involves continuous circulation systems or a piece of equipment that you cannot get to reliably produce the same results, you may want to consider making the paint equipment you use less complex. It can also help to have written procedures for each paint you will use. To ensure the ability to consistently get the same result you typically will want to have a record of the amount of thinner added to the paint, the details on the equipment set up you are using (like air caps, fluid nozzle size or airless tip size) all recorded, and steps taken to set up the equipment including what air and fluid pressures you used on all the equipment. For a listing of equipment complexity including how hard the equipment is to use and set up please see the below:
Least Complex – Gravity Feed Spray Guns, Suction Spray Guns
More Complex – Paint Pressure Pots, Electric Airless Paint Sprayers
Most Complex – Electrostatic Spray Guns, Air Driven Airless, Air Assist Airless Sprayers
If you find equipment is continually giving you or the painters trouble you may consider choosing simpler equipment set up which will help you to avoid issues with equipment that is occurring due to difficulty operating the equipment. If you have regular turn over in your paint department choosing a simpler to operate piece of equipment can also help to reduce confusion as new people are continually put in charge of your painting.
Step 4 for a Repeatable Paint Process - Standardize Clean up & Maintenance Procedures
Once you have created standardize procedures for getting your paint, preparing the surface, preparing the paint, and applying the paint, the final step is establishing standard procedures for cleaning and maintenance of your paint equipment and paint department. You will want to establish regular routines related to how you clean your spray equipment, how often you clean it, and how often you perform equipment maintenance. Additionally, it is good to have standard procedures for how often you change paint booth filters, perform compressor maintenance, perform paint booth cleaning (more on keeping a paint booth clean here), and paint booth maintenance.