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If you haven’t done it yet, you better get cracking. Solvent-based paints are out and you only have until next year to comply with new regulations banning solvent-based paints in spray booth operations. Fortunately, the move away from solvent-based paints to water-based paints is a win-win for both your business and the environment.

Working with waterborne paint and drying booths? If you’re looking for a unique method of spray painting that literally cuts airborne emissions in half, waterborne paint and paint drying booths are the perfect paint to use for your next automotive project.

When it comes to going waterborne, a lot of folks want to know what paint booth to buy or what waterborne drying system to add to their existing paint booth.

The Dangers of Solvent-Based Paint

Even in the best paint booth, Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs pose enormous health risks according to the EPA. In solvent-based paints, practically 85% of the chemicals contained within are VOCs. The risks to your health include:

  • Irritation to the Eyes, Nose, and Throat
  • Headaches
  • Balance and Coordination Problems
  • Nausea
  • Liver Damage
  • Kidney Damage
  • Damage to the Central Nervous System
  • And Some Cause Cancer

In its place, paint booth operators are going to have to switch to water-based paints that are mostly water and only 10% contains VOCs. These changes are going into effect nationally next year (2017) and many states have their own VOC regulations.

Switch Now and Start Reaping the Benefits

When you consider all of the pluses to transition to water-based paints, it doesn’t make sense to wait until you absolutely have to switch. Your finishes look even better using water-based paint than they did using solvent-based paints, reflecting a truer color. You can save 50% on your energy costs. And your finishes are cleaner and much more even.

On top of that, you will increase productivity within your shop because you can push the cars through much faster. Our Waterborne paint system has adjustable jet speeds and in-booth controls.

How to effectively regulate humidity in a waterborne paint and drying booth

The main dissimilarity between waterborne paint and solvent paint is, without doubt, the distinctly different drying and curing process which each solution requires. Solvent-based paints are effectively cured through effective temperature control. On the flip side, the drying process for waterborne paints is effectively achieved by regulating humidity levels in a spray paint booth environment. As noted previously, your team will have to control the atmosphere in your unit to obtain the best paint job results. This means there will always be a need for increased airflow to enable the waterborne paint to dry up much faster. To be in a position of further regulating just how quickly such paints dry up, you may add either standard or even desert controllers in your booth.

Waterborne paint often necessitates “wet-on-wet” application. In simpler terms, this implies that the color applied is often different from the eventual dry color. So, it is always prudent to closely follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions to obtain the best possible paint job outcomes.

In terms of speed, auxiliary air movement systems such as waterborne jet systems and ceiling fans are the fastest drying, however, air turbulence may stir up dirt and debris if the paint booth or prep station is not clean. High powered spray booths that are designed to produce more cfm (cubic feet of air per minute) in the traditional draft pattern are a clean alternative to add-on blowers and fans but will take a little more time to dry since the draft us still not penetrating as close to the surface as a turbulent air system. The major benefit of waterborne paint booths with high CFM is the cleanliness of the job. In terms of drying waterborne paint, it may take a high powered downdraft paint booth a few minutes longer to flash, but if the job is clean, there is much more time saved overall since little or no buffing will be needed. By the same token, if a blower system can flash off waterborne paint very quickly but throws dirt or dust, the job may actually end up taking much longer in re-do’s and buffing time.

Essential Tips to Keep In Mind

Even though waterborne is safer than solvent, you cannot skimp out on protect eye and face-wear. You need to always wear a respirator whenever you’re in the booth because paint can linger in the air.

On occasion, waterborne paint will require you to do wet-on-wet application. This means the paint color you immediately apply may look different than the one that appears after it dries. However, some paints also have higher amounts of solid compositions. This means you can fully paint the part of vehicle with few coats.

Outside of having a full or half arch gas catalytic dryer, you should also use a handheld gas catalytic dryer to help quickly set the paint and prevent running or sagging.

In either case, the key to successfully drying waterborne paint is simple. Provide more airflow & above all, KEEP YOUR WORKSPACE CLEAN! A clean job is always the fastest…