Spraying is adaptable to either large-volume or low-volume production. Applications may be limited because of solvent emissions, possible fire hazards, or potential damage from overspray. Spraying methods include conventional air spraying, in which the paint is atomized and propelled against the work by means of compressed air, hot spraying, hydraulic airless spraying, and air and airless electrostatic spraying.

Spraying is used for applications in which good appearance and uniformity of coating are desired, such as automobile bodies. Figure 1 shows large and medium-size metal housings that are examples of parts painted by conventional (air atomized) spraying to obtain a good appearance and uniform coating. In the application of metallic or polychromatic enamels, the spray process achieves the necessary dispersion of the particles. Also, very large objects such as bridges are usually spray painted.

Fig. 1 Parts where conventional (air atomized) spray painting is used to meet requirements of good appearance and uniform coating

Spray painting generally consumes more paint than other painting processes, because of overspray losses. In air atomized spraying, only a small amount of the air at the nozzle is used for atomizing. The remainder of the air pushes the paint and controls the pattern and droplet size. The remainder of the air also causes overspray, as the atomized paint bounces off, or is driven past, the part being painted. The efficiency of the spray operation depends on part shape and size; operator ability; setup of spray guns; and type of equipment whether air atomized, electrostatic, or hydraulic airless spray systems are used.

Hot spraying is a method in which air atomized or airless spraying equipment is used in conjunction with a heat exchanger to heat the paint to a predetermined temperature. The temperature range for hot spraying is usually from 60 to 82 °C (140 to 180 °F). In air atomized spraying, viscosities suitable for application are obtained with the use of solvents. The hot spraying method uses heat to lower the viscosity to the optimum range for spraying, allowing the application of paint with higher solids content.

Heating units are available in two basic types, recirculating and nonrecirculating. Recirculating heating units circulate heated paint between the heater and spray gun, maintaining a constant temperature. Nonrecirculating units heat the paint only once. After the paint passes through the heater, it is subject to various degrees of cooling, depending on hose lengths and conditions of application.

When properly prepared paint materials are used, the hot spray method may have three distinct advantages over conventional spraying:

• Little or no solvent is used for thinning, reducing labor and solvent costs.

• Thicker films can be applied using fewer gun passes or fewer coats.

• Paint can be stored in unheated areas or at very low temperatures.

The principal disadvantages of hot spraying are:

• The purchase and operation of the heating unit add to the overall cost of painting.

• Spraying with paint containing a greater solids content can result in higher overspray losses if improper spraying techniques are used.

Airless spraying, with either heated or unheated paint, uses hydraulic (pumping) pressure to propel the paint through the hoses and atomizing nozzle. The main advantages of airless spray painting stem from the elimination of air as the force for atomizing and propelling the paint. Airless spraying requires the release of considerably less energy at the nozzle, and overspray is minimized. Heavier film thickness without runs or sags can be obtained when more viscous material is sprayed. As in air atomized spraying, however, airless spraying requires an increase in pressure as the paint increases in viscosity.

Elimination of air also permits the use of comparatively simple and inexpensive spray booth exhaust systems, permits full-coverage spraying into corners and recesses with a minimum of bounce-back, and reduces masking requirements. Airless systems use simpler, lighter weight guns, and fewer hoses than are required in air systems.

The chief disadvantage of airless spraying is that, unlike air spray guns, airless spray guns cannot be throttled. Because a full flow of paint comes constantly from the airless gun, greater operator skill is required for controlling coating application in difficult-to-reach areas.

Electrostatic Spraying. In electrostatic spray painting, electrically charged atomized particles of paint are attracted to the grounded part. Paint for electrostatic application can be atomized by conventional air, airless, or rotational techniques.

One of the chief advantages of electrostatic spraying is the small loss of paint from overspray. Whereas in conventional spray painting as much as 70% of the paint sprayed may be lost because of overspray, as little as 10% may be lost in electrostatic spraying. Another advantage is the ability of this method to produce a consistent paint film over a long production run.

The main disadvantage of electrostatic spraying is that the electrostatic attraction of the part for the paint draws the paint to the nearest edge or surface of the part, and it is difficult or impossible to get paint into deep recesses, corners, and shielded areas. Another disadvantage is that the necessity for grounding the surfaces to be coated makes it impossible to paint assemblies in which parts are insulated from other parts by a dielectric component.

Equipment for Air Atomized Spray Painting

Basic equipment for air atomized spray painting consists of a spray gun, a container for the paint, an air compressor, an air regulator or transformer, connecting pipes and hoses, a spray booth, and an air filter and moisture trap.

Spray guns are available commercially to fit virtually any requirement. An air cap at the front of the gun atomizes the paint and forms the desired spray pattern. Air caps may be interchanged to meet the requirements of different applications.

A fluid tip or nozzle, located directly behind the air cap, directs and meters the paint into the air stream. These tips vary in material and size according to the type and viscosity of the paint being applied and with the speed and volume requirements of the application. Larger orificed nozzles are required for heavy, coarse, or fibrous paints. Smaller orificed nozzles are used for thin paints. Because atomization of the paint improves as the nozzle size decreases, the smallest orifice that permits proper passage of the paint should be selected. Small nozzle sizes also permit more effective control of fluid pressures, a necessity when applying thin paints that have a tendency to sag. Abrasive or corrosive paints require tips made of materials with resistance to wear or corrosion.

Air compressors provide the force for air atomized spray painting. Air compressors may supply compressed air throughout the shop or only to the paint line. A fluctuating air pressure at the gun, usually caused by inadequate compressor capacity or an inadequate distribution system, can result in improper atomization of the paint and defective paint films.

Air regulators or transformers regulate air pressure as required. Air filters and the moisture trap remove oil, dirt, and moisture from the compressed air. Air regulators, filters, and the moisture trap are installed in the air-supply lines between the compressor and the paint container and between the compressor and the spray gun. The regulators and filters should be as close to the tanks and guns as possible.

Pipes and hoses that distribute the compressed air or paint must be of adequate size to handle peak loads without starving any station and must be able to withstand any abrasive or chemical effects of the paint.

Spray booths are fire-resistant enclosures that confine overspray and fumes and use ventilating systems to draw in fresh air and exhaust the contaminated air after filtering out the solids. A booth face air velocity of 0.559 to 0.635 m/s (110 to 125 ft/min) is required. Dry or water-wash filters may be used. In most installations, spray booth and exhaust stack are protected with automatic sprinklers.

In dry spray booths, fumes and overspray are forced through special filters that remove solids before exhausting the air and fumes. Dry spray booths with replaceable filters are usually less costly to install than water-wash booths, because no water or drain lines are required.

In water-wash spray booths, contaminated air is drawn through a series of water curtains and baffles to remove solids from overspray before air and fumes are exhausted. These booths also reduce fire hazards by collecting overspray in water. However, water-wash spray booths are usually more costly to install, operate, and maintain than dry booths. Some localities prohibit discharging spray booth water into sewers, and adequate recirculation systems and controls must be installed.

Spray booths exhaust large volumes of air, and to ensure a sufficient quantity of replacement air without creating drafts or heating problems in other areas of a plant, air replacement units must be installed. These units, which are placed next to the spray booths, draw in air from the outside, filter it, heat it, and deliver it to the spray booth. This permits proper functioning of spray booth exhaust systems and maintains the desired booth temperature for suitable spraying conditions. Few manufacturing operations are dust free, and air replacement units greatly reduce the possibility that airborne contaminants will be drawn into the paint area and deposited on wet paint surfaces.

Table 5 lists and describes the equipment required for air atomized spray painting of two production parts: a fire extinguisher shell 355 mm (14 in.) long by 75 mm (3 in.) in diameter, constructed from 1.0 mm (0.040 in.) thick steel; and an enclosure panel 915 mm (36 in.) long by 760 mm (30 in.) wide, produced from 0.268 mm (0.105 in.) thick sheet.

Table 5 Equipment requirements for conventional spray painting of two production parts

Procedure or

Shell for



fire extinguisher(a)


Production requirements

Surface preparation

Clean and phosphate(c)

Clean and phosphate1"0"1

Prime coating

Zinc chromate primer

Red oxide primer

Finish coating

Alkyd baking enamel

High-luster lacquer

Production per hour



Equipment requirements

Overhead conveyor

305 mm (12 in.) hook spacing

610 mm (24 in.) hook spacing

Cleaning and phosphating(c):

Capacity and solution of rinse tanks

379 L (100 gal)

379 L (100 gal)

Solution and rinse temperature

66 °C (150 °F)

66 °C (150 °F)

Prime and finish coating:

Spray booth(d)

2.4 x 2.1 x 1.5 m (8 x 7 x 5 ft)

3.7 x 2.4 x 1.8 m (12 x 8 x 6 ft)

Spray gun

Hand operated

Hand operated

Paint supply tank (with agitation)

95 L (25 gal), pressurized

95 L (25 gal), pressurized


Infrared oven(e)

Air dry(f)

(a) Shell, 75 mm (3 in.) in diameter and 355 mm (14 in.) long, of 1.0 mm (0.040 in.) steel.

(a) Shell, 75 mm (3 in.) in diameter and 355 mm (14 in.) long, of 1.0 mm (0.040 in.) steel.

(b) Panel 915 by 760 mm (36 by 30 in.), of 12-gage (2.657 mm, or 0.1046 in.) sheet steel.

(c) Proprietary phosphate cleaner coater used; 2-min immersion in solution and rinse tanks, followed by drying.

(d) Open-ended water-wash.

(f) Drying of prime coat may be forced by brief infrared heating.

Equipment for Electrostatic Spray Painting

Basic equipment for electrostatic spray painting consists of a paint supply system, an atomizer (or gun), a source of electrical power, a spray booth with a ventilating system, a conveyor, and properly designed racks.

Paint supply systems deliver paint under pressure to one or more atomizers. In such systems, paint is prepared and stored in a central tank, from which it is distributed to the atomizers by air or variable-speed positive-displacement pumps.

Atomizers (guns) can be either air or airless. An air gun uses compressed air to atomize the paint delivered to it. In one air gun, the nozzle is insulated from the metal atomizer body by a plastic sleeve. The fluid tip and needle are charged to a high negative electrical potential that is imparted to the atomized paint particles as they leave the nozzle.

Another air electrostatic spray painting system uses ordinary air spray painting guns for atomization. Parts on the conveyor are surrounded by a grid of fine wires charged to a high negative potential. The paint is sprayed between the grid wires and the parts, where it picks up the negative charge and is repelled by the grid wires and attracted by the grounded parts on the conveyor.

Guns that are operated automatically may be mounted in a fixed, but adjustable position, or they may be attached to a mechanism that causes them to reciprocate vertically or horizontally as required by the size and shape of the part being painted.

Airless atomizers use a rotating component, either disk-shaped or bell-shaped, charged to a high negative electrical potential. Paint, forced up through the center of the rotating member, is charged with this same high negative potential. The centrifugal force of the spinning component moves the paint to the outer edge, where the combination of centrifugal and electrostatic forces atomizes the paint and disperses it. The paint is attracted electrostatically to the grounded parts on the conveyor.

Bell-shaped atomizers generally have the plane of the opening of the bell parallel to the surface being coated, and the work is carried past on a straight-line conveyor. The bell may be fixed or may reciprocate and can be used in any position. Hand-operated portable guns with bell-shaped atomizers are available.

Disk atomizers are operated as automatic or manual units. The disks operate in an essentially horizontal plane; however, in nonreciprocating installations, the disk may be positioned at up to a 35° angle to produce a greater vertical spray area. Because the paint is dispersed around the entire periphery of the disk, conveyors usually carry the part in a circular path around the atomizer. For long parts, the disk may be reciprocated up and down to facilitate coating the entire length of the parts as they are conveyed around the loop.

Power supply units must be capable of providing the high static potential required for each atomizer. These units can operate on 110, 220, or 440 V at 60 cycles. The power output is usually 90,000 to 120,000 V and 5 mA. One power supply unit can handle up to ten atomizers. Units produce a very small current to eliminate any serious hazard to the operator. Usually, an automatic cutoff control is incorporated for added safety.

Spray booths and ventilating systems are used to confine and collect the overspray and to exhaust the fumes from the vaporizing solvents. Minimum velocity of air through the booth is desired to avoid interference with deposition of paint on the part. However, velocity must be adequate to maintain the solvent concentration below its lower explosive level and toxic concentrations. Air velocities of 0.25 to 0.5 m/s (50 to 100 ft/min) are usually adequate for electrostatic spraying applications.

Racks and conveyors used in electrostatic spray painting, in addition to holding and moving the parts, must provide the electrical ground necessary to develop the electrostatic attraction. Parts should be mounted as close to one another as possible on the conveyor to minimize overspraying. Some parts require rotation as they pass the atomizer to ensure coating of all surfaces.

0 0

Post a comment