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Finishing, Dispensing, and Filtration General Manufacturing

How to Know If You Have the Right Airflow for Your Paint Booth

By OTC Insights Team on May 31, 2022

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OTC Insights Team

Established in 1963, OTC Industrial Technologies is one of the largest industrial distributors & service providers in the United States. We're committed to seeing industrial operations advance through expert technical solutions & unmatched support using our years of experience.

When harnessing the correct amount of airflow for your paint booth, there are many things to consider. When manufacturers are installing a paint booth for their facility, they want to have project application and production volume top of mind. Without proper thought, the wrong paint booth could increase production time and decrease project efficiency. Here, we will dive into the importance of airflow, the types of airflow for paint booths, and how experts can mitigate any risks over the course of your paint booth project.

The Importance of Paint Booth Airflow & Balance

The flow of air in and around your paint booth needs to be curated in a way that best supports the objects you are painting. Let’s take a look at what laminar airflow and booth balance are, and why they are important.

Laminar Airflow in Your Booth

Laminar airflow is when air moves at the same speed and in the same direction, but with little to no intersection of air streams. With laminar airflow in your paint booth, you will have a finished product that has a higher-quality finish. This is because the airflow will carry contaminants away from the object being painted, which results in a higher paint application transfer and better overspray capture.

Paint Booth Balance

When a paint booth is balanced, the same amount of air is pulled into the booth as is pushed out. This is an important factor when choosing your desired paint booth.

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A common occurrence if a paint booth becomes unbalanced is the filters will quickly fill up with debris and paint. This in turn causes the exhaust fan to move less air. A lesser volume of air means a decrease in the production value of the finished paint product.

Types of Airflow in Paint Spray Booths

One way paint spray booths can be categorized is by the method in which the airflow through the booth is managed, directed, and filtered. Let’s look into the classifications below:

Cross Draft Paint Booths

Popular within the industry, cross draft spray booths are known for their cost-effective nature.

A cross draft airflow in a paint booth occurs when air moves through the filtered front door, and then is pulled horizontally to the exhaust room at the back of the booth. The filter then traps the particles, and the filtered air is discharged into the atmosphere through the pipe.

Although it is a less expensive option, the drawback to this is that the control in the overspray isn't as refined and can lead to some contamination.

Side Downdraft Paint Booths

If you aren't a fan of exhaust pits, the side downdraft paint booth might be for you. As a slightly mid-range economical solution to the cross draft, air enters a side downdraft paint booth through the filtering device of the ceiling and is discharged from the sidewall roots of the room. Control over overspray is better, as the mist is farther away, which in turn makes the quality of the finished product ideal.

Semi-downdraft Paint Booths

Semi-downdraft paint booths have air that passes through the first 25% to 30% of the filter ceiling of the compartment and enters the semi-lower suction paint booth. The allure is that semi-downdraft paint booths combine the functions of the above two spray booths. Their installation and operating costs are reduced but because of this airflow solution, sometimes there can be dead corners along the floor at the front of the spray booth.

Downdraft Paint Booths

Compared to the other options, downdraft paint booths are the most refined and technologically advanced. The air enters from the ceiling and is discharged to the outside through the pit or basement. This results in a crisper and cleaner painting process and a safer working environment because of the exhaust method. As long as you have the space and the budget, a downdraft paint booth is a superior choice.

Talk to an Expert at OTC

When determining the paint spray booth for your project, it is necessary to analyze all of your airflow options and determine the best course of action for the project type, volume, and size.

Partnering with OTC and getting on the phone with an expert to evaluate and make recommendations can save you from problems with your paint booth or issues in the future. Help mitigate the risks of your paint booth and contact us today.

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