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What are the downsides of electrostatic spray painting?

By Justin Bryce, Account Executive

As a business owner, you are always looking for ways to improve your bottom line and produce a superior product. Electrostatic spray painting is a smart way for businesses that apply coatings to metal to improve efficiency, drive down cost and become more environmentally friendly.

Electrostatic spray painting is an ideal option if you manufacture any type of metal, from computer housing to metal doors, automotive parts and everything in between.  It is also a great fit for businesses that perform onsite or maintenance painting such as fencing, handrails, window frames, elevator doors, office furniture, etc.  For these types of jobs, electrostatic painting can provide a factory-like finish in the field and can reduce labor and material costs by increasing transfer efficiency.

Electrostatic paint application uses positive and negative charges to apply paint in order to prevent overspray and ensure an even application. It works by creating an electrostatic field between the object and the paint. The grounded object (the object being painted) is positively charged in order to attract the negatively charged paint molecules to its surface.  By creating this electrostatic field, the grounded object acts like a magnet, pulling the paint molecules to its surface, forcing even disbursement.

A common question we hear at Accessa is, “What are the downsides of electrostatic spray painting?” The truth is there are very few disadvantages.  The downsides that do exist are easily outweighed by the advantages. To help you decide if electrostatic application is right for you, here is an overview of three common disadvantages and what they mean to your bottom line:

1.       Cost of Buying New Equipment

The cost of electrostatic coating equipment is higher than standard application equipment, but it can be quickly absorbed by lower labor and materials cost. To help a client determine the cost/benefit of buying the equipment, Accessa performs a return on investment comparison that illustrates the amount of savings over time due to increased transfer efficiency and lower labor costs. We also run a comparison of current coating costs versus electrostatic coating costs to compare usage costs for both applications. Your coatings provider should provide the same services to be sure you are making the smartest choices for your business.

2.       The Faraday Cage Effect

The Faraday Cage Effect can occur when painting more complicated surfaces with recessed areas such as school lockers. When the negatively charged paint comes out of the gun, it is looking for the first positively charged grounded object. If you are painting a recessed area, such as the school locker, the paint will go to edges instead of the recessed area. This can be solved by taking an airless gun and spraying the recessed areas before finishing with the electrostatic gun.

3.       Retraining Employees

Adopting the electrostatic method means you will need to train your employees to use the new equipment. They will need to be trained to correctly maintain and clean the equipment as well. This nominal cost in training time is easily outweighed by the time your team will save applying paint electrostatically.

Overall, electrostatic spray painting is a great option if you are looking to reduce material and labor costs, ensure even application and become more environmentally friendly through reduced material waste. Although it may be costly initially, investing in more sophisticated equipment will ensure a beautiful, even application and a quick return on investment.

Contact me at 317-879-2055 to find out how applying paint electrostatically can improve your bottom line. 

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