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Downdraft Secrets

Full downdraft spraybooths have a hefty price tag, but their performance – or that of any spraybooth – won’t be worth much if not properly maintained. Check out the following tips to help get the best results from your downdraft:

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  • Don’t leave the booth’s doors open when it’s not in use,
    especially overnight
    . The booth acts as a chimney when it
    cools, drawing air up through the ceiling filter – leaving dirt
    on the outlet side. Dislodged when the booth is started, the dirt
    becomes a contaminant that can temporarily remain in the booth’s
    turbulent air.
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  • Always run your booth for at least 30 minutes before you
    start to paint.
    This gives the booth time to eliminate small
    amounts of contaminated paint that may have lodged into the system.

  • Unless you’re not going to use the booth for several hours,
    keep the fan running on the spray cycle once it’s turned on
    .
    This should maintain a positive booth pressure. Air will flow
    out as a vehicle is driven inside, helping to minimize any contamination
    carried in on the vehicle.

  • Don’t change the ceiling filter just because it looks dirty.
    A ceiling filter of the best quality is designed to stop 10-micron
    particles, the smallest particles that start to cause damage to
    paint surfaces, from penetrating for up to two years under vibrating
    conditions. Particles that stain filters are less than 1 micron,
    so they won’t damage paint jobs if they fall from the filter.
    If you were to microscopically examine your visibly stained filter
    fibers, you’d find that they’re only partially covered with particles.

    You should change your booth’s filter after two years or
    1,500 working hours, depending on the quality of inlet air, if
    the filter is physically damaged or when the pressure-drop through
    the ceiling fan reaches the maximum the fan can handle. A manometer
    can be used to show when this point is approaching.

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    • After changing the ceiling filters, run the booth for at
      least three to four hours while it’s empty before painting.

      This should eliminate most loose fiber/fiber parts, which are
      created when media is cut to fit. These fiber parts may still
      cause an occasional problem during the next few days, so keep
      in mind, the longer the purge cycle, the smaller the chance of
      problems.

    • Check for small leaks around booth walls and lights, and
      seal them immediately
      . With the constant flexing caused by
      heating and cooling, the seals around corners, joints and under
      the lights can open up – usually indicated by jet marks of dust.
      Because wiping down walls – a good housekeeping habit – will remove
      the signs of leaks, inspect for leaks before cleaning the booth.

    • Perform the least amount of prep work in your booth as
      possible
      . Use proper "tacky" rags for final wipe
      downs – never, for example, blow out crevices with compressed
      air while inside the booth. Using any other type of cloth will
      cause fibers to be released into the air. These particles, along
      with those blasted out of corners by compressed air, will float
      around in any turbulence and land in the worst possible places.
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  • Make sure paper used for masking is taped down well.
    Paper is one of the worst particle generators, especially if it’s
    flapping around in the air stream.

  • Painters – or anyone entering the booth – should wear lint-
    and static-free coverings in good condition.
    Clothing worn
    in the booth should not be worn during other processes and should
    be kept in a locker near the booth’s entrance.

  • Don’t store anything but operating essentials in your booth.
    Keeping dust-collecting or -creating items, such as empty paint
    drums and excess masking material, outside of your booth further
    ensures a contaminate-free paint job.

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