6 Tips for Greater Paint Booth Efficiency
Keeping your body shop profitable in this ever-changing economic climate is challenging. There’s not a lot you can do about the economy, but there is plenty you can do to make your collision facility more efficient. From investing in technology like SUN® Collision Repair Information to revamping your shop’s layout, your paint booth can be more efficient and profitable.
In many body shops, paint booth efficiency may be an area that gets overlooked. Unfortunately, a paint booth setup can be one of the most problematic bottlenecks in your shop’s workflow, but it doesn’t have to be. With the proper setup and maintenance, you can increase paint booth efficiency for accelerated turnaround times and higher production levels.
What would it be like if your painters could coat more parts faster without increasing the defect rate? You could optimize your processes and increase production capacity to save time and labor costs. A more efficient paint spray booth could also free up time to develop collision repair technicians’ skills and focus on keeping more jobs in-house. How you use the extra time will depend on your shop’s needs, but it’s easy to see how improving paint booth efficiency is a worthwhile investment. From essential maintenance and safety to layout and lighting, here are six field-tested tips to make your paint spray booth more profitable.
TIP #1 – Recurring Maintenance
Whether you do it in-house or hire a service, recurring maintenance for your paint booth may seem like just another cost. But the long-term benefits of properly maintaining your paint booth can also be an important investment in your body shop’s success. Take care of your paint booth, and it will last longer, helping you avoid costly repairs and downtime.
Investing in a professional maintenance service is a great way to ensure the longevity of your paint booth. By following a recommended maintenance schedule, you can rest assured that your equipment is being regularly inspected and maintained. Most maintenance plans come with a predictable cost, making it easier to budget for the expense. When you prioritize paint booth maintenance, you can have greater peace of mind knowing that your equipment is functioning at its best.
Fan motors, belts, and other components must be inspected routinely, but no components of your paint spray booth are more critical than the filters. So, whether you do it in-house or use a service, filter changes should always be at the top of your list.
TIP #2 – Filter Changes
Properly maintained paint spray booth filters ensure the cleanest air enters the booth and efficiently removes overspray from the exhaust air. For safety, productivity, and increased longevity, one of the best things to consider investing in is paint spray booth filter efficiency. The easiest way to keep up with filter changes is to set up automatic shipments for paint spray booth replacement filters.
By optimizing your paint booth filtration, you will see better quality finishings and greater efficiency by creating a safer working environment. Any commercial spray painting operation must meet OSHA safety guidelines, and the National Fire Protection Association regulations and filtration is also an important component for compliance.
Paint booth exhaust and intake filters should be replaced periodically, and it’s important to note that exhaust filters are especially prone to clogging. How often you change paint booth filters will depend on the volume and type of painting in your body shop. A good rule of thumb is to replace paint booth filters after 60 hours of use, or approximately every two weeks.
TIP #3 – Body Shop Layout
Is the layout of your shop hindering the efficiency of your part painting process? The optimal placement for a paint booth will be in an area that allows for a one-way stream of parts. When parts are moved from prep to paint and continue out the other side, the whole process is cleaner and more streamlined. If you have a portable paint booth, you can be much more flexible and creative with your new layout.
If your shop has already invested in paint booth installation, moving it won’t be an option. But you can still look at your workflow process to identify opportunities for greater efficiency. For example, perhaps you could alter or move other areas involved in the collision repair process to better align with the painting phase? In most body shops, carefully evaluating how the shop is laid out can often reveal prime space that could be put to better use.
TIP #4 – Proper Lighting
Another investment in paint booth efficiency that delivers a healthy return is updated lighting. For the simple fact that better lighting equates to better color matches and refinishing, this is not an area where you want to cut corners. Not only can your paint booth be more productive, but you can also enjoy the ongoing savings of using energy-efficient fixtures.
With state-of-the-art lighting like LED, your collision repair technicians will have an easier job identifying and correcting imperfections prior to painting. An energy-efficient paint booth creates a higher-quality paint process along with time and money savings. In addition, LED lighting is more affordable and efficient than ever, and some states and municipalities offer tax credits or other incentives for going energy-efficient.
One of the more popular paint booth lighting fixtures is the LED T8 lamp. These cost-effective lighting options produce more light without the blinding glare found with typical fluorescent bulbs. When you invest in the latest lighting, paint technicians can see more and more clearly, leading to better quality refinishing. This type of shop lighting has a longer lifespan than conventional lighting, which means fewer replacements and more money saved.
TIP #5 – Safety and Storage
You already know how important proper paint booth filter maintenance is for efficiency and safety compliance. But operating a safe and efficient paint spray booth also means investing in proper PPE (personal protective equipment) and other gear. It may seem obvious, but it bears repeating: keeping repair technicians well-trained and providing a safe work environment are two factors that impact overall body shop and paint booth efficiency.
Another seemingly obvious but sometimes overlooked solution for greater efficiency and safety is well-designed storage and mixing areas. Primer, paint, and finishing products are flammable and toxic. While PPE protects painters in the booth, there is little protection from improperly stored supplies. If the space allows, you may want to look into creating a paint mixing room. Having an enclosed room separate from the spraying area allows for safe storage along with paint and refinishing mixing.
TIP #6 – Paint and Refinish Processes
Aside from maintenance, layout, and lighting, one of the best ways to increase paint booth efficiency is to look at the overall paint and refinish process. Rearranging your shop may help line things up better, but how you paint and refinish may hinder your quest for efficiency.
An example of how outdated or unanalyzed processes can slow things down could be a task as simple as how technicians stir toners. Refinishing with a perfect color match is always a challenge. As three- and four-stage colors become more common, something seemingly insignificant like inconsistent toner colors could cost you money and time.
Take a hard look at your body shop and painting process, and you may find small and large bottlenecks you hadn’t noticed. Commit to analyzing all your collision repair processes annually (at least) to keep up with advanced vehicle technology and materials.
How Can SUN Collision Help With Paint Booth Efficiency?
In the same way, we can help ALL your body shop processes — with the latest, most comprehensive OEM software that delivers answers for every type of repair. SUN Collision puts constantly updated information at your fingertips to help you perform safe, accurate, and profitable collision procedures.
The latest vehicles feature advanced materials that require advanced collision repair and painting — and you’ll find all that and much more when you partner with SUN. We provide the most up-to-date OEM data for materials, paint, and finishes to get the most out of your paint spray booth. From plastics to composites and beyond, we give you the information you need to handle the most advanced materials.
SUN Collision is a feature-rich platform that includes not only OEM resources like service manuals but also common repair procedures and other real-world resources. And we make the whole thing easy to use. If you use Google, you can easily use our proprietary search engine, 1Search Plus™. While we provide technical OEM information, we also speak your technicians’ language to deliver easy-to-understand procedures from in-depth diagnosis to recalibration.
Investing in paint booth efficiency is one of the most effective ways to ensure your body shop’s continued success, and SUN Collision can help! When you choose the latest collision repair software available, your return on investment will go far beyond paint booth efficiency. With our technology, your expertise, and that newly optimized paint booth, you’ll be ready to take on whatever the industry sends your way today and for years to come.
Get your FREE DEMO of the industry’s most advanced collision repair technology and find out how you can optimize your body shop. If you want to learn more right away, call 877-840-1973 or use this short form.
Ross Whiteley, Product Manager for SUN Collision, has held roles of increasing responsibility at Snap-on over the past 13 years. He joined SUN Collision’s sister company, Mitchell 1, as Product Contact Support rep in 2010 and was later promoted to Client Services Manager. He began his career after high school as a UPS driver in 1997 and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and an MBA in BA in Project Management at Purdue University in 2015. In the interim, he held various positions in the auto industry, including roles as Service Consultant at Lithia Chrysler Dodge and Assistant Service Manager at Cascade Auto Center.