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Paint and Go

If your paint department is bottlenecked, the first thing you look at is implementing new procedures. If you’ve tried this and the bottleneck is still there, what next?

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Many would say to add another spraybooth.
And, if you have that large a paint volume, adding one might be
the answer. If your problem, however, lies within those most common
two- to three-panel jobs taking up all the booth time, then a
less-expensive solution is available: a mobile spraybooth.

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The typical mobile unit provides sufficient
airflow for limited painting and then rolls out of the way. When
considering a mobile unit, you need to look at all the features
and determine what your needs are and which unit best fits those
needs. Consider the following:

  • Pros and cons – Moving from vehicle to vehicle with
    a mobile spraybooth instead of tying up the fixed spraybooth all
    day with one job makes sense.

When a mobile unit is used with lights, an infrared system or
quartz rods, it can get out just as many cars as a fixed booth.
And, since most of these mobile units are recirculation units,
you don’t have the problems of loss of heat or of air conditioning.

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Mobile units, however, are not for everyone – and not for every
application. Having a mobile unit does not replace the
need for a fixed spraybooth, and you cannot paint a full car in
any mobile unit that I’m familiar with.

  • Regulations – Does the unit you’re purchasing comply
    with the laws, including local regulations and enforcement?

Most units come with drapery hardware and attached drapery. Unless
you intend to never do any priming or spraying in the unit, you’ll
need drapes attached to comply with the law. Some users have mistakenly
thought that merely enclosing an area and wheeling in a mobile
unit will make it a legal paint area. It doesn’t.

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  • Ease of use – How mobile is the unit? Is it going to
    be difficult to maneuver between cars and get to the area where
    you actually want to use it? After the unit is in place, how easy
    is it for the operator to maneuver around inside the area where
    he’s working?

  • Filtration – Mobile units have several types of filtration
    for particulate and fume removal, including standard-size, prefabricated
    filters and bulk-activated carbon.

Some filters and filtration systems are easier to replace or change
out than others; check this because if filter replacement is difficult,
it often doesn’t get done in a timely manner. Also check the manufacturer’s
recommendation on replacement to maximize the unit’s efficiency.
Some mobile units even come equipped with manometers to give a
visual gauge of when the filters need replaced.

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Find out the cost of filter replacement or change out prior to
buying a unit. Also, consider the proper disposal of filters or
bulk-carbon change out and the cost.

  • Unit Cost – Prices vary based on included features.
    If you’re going to do priming or spraying in the unit, you’ll
    need one with a fire-suppression system, explosion-proof controls,
    lights and a motor. Anything inside the encapsulated area must
    be explosion proof, too. Some units come with lights attached,
    while others use the shop lighting that comes through their plastic,
    see-through drapery.

Also, keep in mind that some manufacturers show a base price,
while others show a package price. Be wary of hidden costs in
price sheets or quotes that often appear as, "price does
not include" or "customer must provide."

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Writer Ron Stazzoni is the owner of D&R Paint in Omaha, Neb.

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