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Expert Troubleshooting Solutions for Malfunctioning Fans and Motors

Following proper operation protocols and performing preventative maintenance regularly can help keep your paint booth in good working order. However, sometimes fans and motors develop issues due to age and general wear and tear. The environment of your shop can also affect your paint booth’s longevity.

If you notice signs that something is wrong with your paint booth, it’s essential to locate and repair the problem as soon as possible. Read on to learn about some of the most common problems with fans and motors and to find helpful troubleshooting tips. If you are ever unsure about any aspect of paint booth operation or maintenance, contact us for assistance.

Common Problems

As in many machines, the moving parts within a paint booth are more likely to develop issues than the stationary elements. Because the fan and motor both operate whenever the spray booth is running, even minor problems can quickly escalate.

There are several signs that may indicate a problem with your paint booth’s filter, motor, or fan:

  • Excessive overspray
  • Loud operation
  • Strong odors
  • Air pressure imbalances
  • Overheating
  • Reduced exhaust airflow

Some paint booth malfunctions can cause problems in your shop’s atmosphere, which can negatively affect your personnel. Take immediate action to stop operation and troubleshoot your paint booth if your employees develop any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lightheadedness
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision

Once you realize there is a problem with your paint booth’s fan or motor, there are several steps you can take to find and repair the issue.

Filters

One of the most common problems that can affect the operation of a paint booth is a clogged air filter. The filters in your paint booth are integral to safe and effective operation, and when they become clogged with overspray or dust, air can’t move through as easily. This increases the load on the exhaust fan, which must work harder to pull used air out of the booth. Continuing to operate the paint booth under these conditions can hasten the failure of many mechanical parts due to increased wear and tear.

If it seems like your exhaust fan is operating outside of its normal conditions, a good first step is to check the air filters. With a manometer installed in your paint booth, it’s easy to see the status of the filters. Another indication of a clogged filter is a strong odor of chemicals or paint, especially if the smell is noticeable far away from the booth.

If you find that your filters are filled with overspray, replace them. You can help the air filters last longer by consistently cleaning the other elements of the paint booth: ducts, fan blades, and housing.

Fans

Like any mechanical part, a paint booth fan benefits from regular maintenance. Refer to the documentation for your equipment to find out how to maintain the fan. Even with consistent maintenance, however, the fan blades will eventually wear out.

A sure sign of a problem with your fan is that it is rotating too slowly. It can be hard to judge the fan’s air speed visually, but you can compare the reading from an anemometer to the operating specs outlined in your owner’s manual. If the fan isn’t spinning fast enough, it could point to worn-out blades and/or a clogged air filter.

You can inspect the blades themselves to see if they look worn down or broken. If so, it’s time to sharpen or replace them. Sometimes, it’s more cost-effective to replace the fan itself.

Motors

Even a small problem with the motor can prevent proper operation of your paint booth. You can reduce the risk of a motor malfunction by following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance tasks.

If you do suspect there is a problem with your paint booth’s motor, there are a few things to do:

  • Check all the seals and fix any cracks or leaks
  • Inspect the motor belts for damage and replace them if necessary
  • Ensure that the belts are maintaining the correct tension
  • Check ALL wiring connections

In some cases, you may have to install a new motor in your paint booth. Our team can help you determine which motor you need.

Maintaining Your Paint Booth’s Motors and Fans

Preventative maintenance can help your paint booth operate at peak performance. When you do notice issues, however, follow several troubleshooting steps:

  • Check and replace air filters
  • Fix motor seals and belts
  • Replace worn out fan blades

We carry high-quality replacement parts and can answer your questions if you aren’t sure which parts are correct for your paint booth. If you are still having problems after completing these steps, contact us for advice on how to get your paint booth back up and running.

Rules and Regulations: What You Need To Do Before Purchasing a Paint Booth

Adding a paint booth to your shop can upgrade the functionality of the entire space, significantly increasing your productivity. There are various types of paint booths available from Standard Tools, so you’ll want to compare the features and costs of several models before choosing the one that’s best for your shop. You may even decide to customize your paint booth by adding a heated air make-up unit or extra lights.

Before you purchase your paint booth, however, it is imperative to make sure you create a safe environment in your shop that meets applicable regulations and ensures the spray booth can function properly. For safe operation, your paint booth setup must meet fire code, exhaust, and airflow requirements.

Overview of Safety Regulations

There are both federal and local regulations that may apply to your paint booth. For example, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has criteria for spray booths, and so does the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Because painting involves hazardous and/or flammable chemicals, it is essential to make sure controls are in place to prevent injuries to people and property. There are several essential aspects for paint booth safety:

  • Fire mitigation
  • Air quality
  • Ventilation
  • Airflow
  • Electrical safety
  • Personnel protection

Most federal requirements cover the manufacturing of paint booths, so you don’t necessarily have to be familiar with them as long as you purchase your booth from a reputable manufacturer. However, you still have to make sure you follow your local government’s codes when installing your paint booth.

Local Rules and Codes

One of the first steps toward getting a paint booth is understanding your city or county’s building and permit codes. For example, your local government may require you to pull certain permits before installing and operating a paint booth in your building. Local regulations may also require you to get a paint booth with a third-party safety certification, such as an ETL-listed paint booth.

Paint booths utilize flammable substances, so adequate fire protection is essential, both for the spray booth and the shop itself. Before you choose a paint booth, you should check your state or local regulations to find out if you need to have a fire suppression system. Even if your local laws don’t require you to install this type of equipment, you may want to schedule a building inspection by your fire marshal to ensure everything is safe and up to code before you order and install a paint booth.

Another aspect of spray booth operation involves air quality. Improperly designed or installed paint booths can release hazardous air pollutants, which can have serious environmental effects that can harm people and property.

Your local EPA office may provide information on reducing HAPs. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to follow National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants guidelines. Proper operation of your paint booth is another key aspect of reducing harmful emissions. Ensuring compliance with local EPA regulations can help you protect your community and environment.

Elements of a Safe Shop

The exact requirements for your building may depend on the type of paint booth you plan to install. For example, a woodworking spray booth is different than an automotive paint booth. Each paint booth model may have unique requirements for power/voltage, ventilation, and airflow. The dimensions of your shop, including the height of the ceiling, may also limit your options to paint booths of a certain size.

Many buildings require ductwork to carry paint booth exhaust outside. The design of your ductwork depends on the layout of your shop and your local regulations. The ductwork and shop layout requirements may change if you decide to add an air make-up unit to your booth.

Purchasing and Setting Up Your Paint Booth

When you’re ready to enhance your shop with a paint booth, the first step is to walk through all the safety protocols and local regulations to ensure you create a safe environment for operating a spray booth. You can talk to your local government authorities, electricians, and fire protection agencies to ensure your paint booth setup complies with applicable regulations. It’s essential to know about ductwork, fire suppression, and ETL requirements before choosing a paint booth.

Once you’ve worked through these steps, you can choose the right spray booth. Our expert associates can help you figure out which model meets your operational and budgetary requirements. We can even customize your paint booth or help you choose an AMU to improve productivity and performance. Give us a call when you’re ready to get started at 888-312-7488.

What is the Difference Between an AMU & an MUA?

Maintaining good indoor air quality and balanced air pressure is essential for a safe and healthy working environment in any shop. When you operate a paint booth in your shop, it can create problems with indoor air pressure and quality if you do not take precautions. This is especially true in smaller areas where the pressure changes caused by a paint booth can quickly affect the air in the entire building.

Fortunately, there are two ways to maintain good air quality and proper air pressure: providing make-up air (MUA) to the shop or adding an air makeup unit (AMU) to the paint booth. Understanding the operational differences in these solutions as well as the potential benefits can help you determine which option is right for you.

Paint Booth Operation Causes Negative Air Pressure

During paint booth operation, air is exhausted from the booth. While it is necessary to exhaust air in order to exhaust the overspray from painting, this process can quickly change the volume of air in the booth, causing negative air pressure to develop.

There are several problems that negative air pressure can cause:

  • A vacuum effect that pulls dirt and debris into the paint booth
  • Uneven curing of the finish on painted items
  • Poor indoor air quality
  • Drafts and temperature fluctuations
  • Suction that makes the doors and windows hard to open

To restore balanced air pressure inside the booth, air must be added back in to replace the air that is exhausted.

Make-Up Air Balances Shop Air Pressure

To make up the air pressure inside the paint booth, you need to pull in new air to replace the exhausted air. In some setups, a booth will replace exhausted air by drawing in air directly from the shop’s interior atmosphere. However, pulling the shop’s air into the booth can cause changes to the pressure of the shop at large. In a small building, normal paint booth operations can quickly lead to negative air pressure in the entire shop.

Make-up air (MUA) is intended to replace the air from the shop that is used and exhausted by the paint booth. MUA solutions sometimes function as part of the HVAC system to draw replacement air from the outside. It could also function without a HVAC system to push air into the building. This extra ventilation restores air pressure and improves the overall quality of air inside the shop.

An Air Makeup Unit Provides Additional Benefits

A more popular option is an air makeup unit (AMU) which balances air pressure and improves air quality by providing replacement air into the booth itself. An AMU is designed to provide the right amount of air into the paint booth to balance the volume of air exhausted.

Many AMU models offer the ability to heat the air for a temperature-controlled spraying environment. The heating feature allows the AMU to be put into “cure” mode. When in this mode, the paint is cured (or baked) at a very high temperature and is done in less than an hour. This feature increases the production capacity of any shop.

  • Providing replacement air directly into the booth eliminates negative air pressure in the shop
  • AMUs can reduce the amount of dust and other particles that can ruin the paint finish
  • Temperature-controlled air can reduce the time it takes for a finish to cure, especially in colder environments

In large shops that have more than one paint booth, installing AMUs for each booth provides more functionality than simply getting a single MUA solution for the shop itself.

Deciding Between an AMU and an MUA Solution

Paint booth operation creates air movement due to exhaust, and that air must be replaced to avoid issues caused by negative air pressure. A MUA shop solution provides replacement air to the interior of a shop, improving ventilation and reducing air pressure problems. An AMU provides air within the paint booth itself to balance the air pressure. Heated AMUs control the temperature inside the booth with warm air and can run cure cycles that ensure faster, consistent curing.

Standard Tools designs and builds the Sure-Cure AMU and MUA for these different air replacement circumstances. The units are built to a shop’s specific gas and power, CFM requirements and installation prerequisites. Although Standard Tools is a paint booth manufacturer, the Sure-Cure AMU can be built to be compatible with any brand paint booth. All of our air-replacement solutions improve the air quality and production level of a shop. Contact an expert at Standard Tools to get more information on the Sure-Cure AMU and MUA. The team can help you figure out which solution is best for your shop.


Productivity Challenges In 2020

Productivity Challenges In 2020

It’s a new year in a new decade. At the start of something fresh, it’s traditional to make plans and set goals. It happens every January with new gym memberships and increased sales on romaine. We do it in our personal lives and it’s equally important to set optimistic goals for our business. January is the perfect time to create plans, set strategies and develop tactics for how to get there. During that process, look at equipment needs, personnel gaps, and potential growth opportunities. Once you start brainstorming, excitement will build and you’ll want to get moving sooner rather than later.

It’s easy to get distracted by challenges. Large and small businesses alike face productivity challenges. During these times, leaders look for ways to increase efficiency while also boosting the bottom line. At all levels, keep an eye on improvements to keep the business viable and equip it for growth.

To increase productivity, you need to ask yourself what productivity means to you. It may be better work efficiency, more project profitability, improved job safety or higher quality work produced.

Standard Tools faces these same challenges within our production so we are keenly aware of our customer’s situations. We produce products that offer an affordable way to improve production goals, making it a strong investment for your business in 2020.

Keep reading for our top 5 tips if you’re looking to buy a paint booth in 2020. What are your top goals for 2020 in your business? We’d love to hear.

Standard Tools Production Crew.

Top 5 tips for buying a booth in 2020:

  1. Have a business plan for the new year! This will define what you’re working towards and the strategic plan on how you can get there. This will also outline what your needs are and what you plan to improve.
  2. Select the right paint booth for your needs. It all starts with what you’re painting, what your production goals are and what your investment is. We work with all budgets and can design booths for your specific needs. It’s important for you to know what your local codes and requirements are before you invest in a new booth. Trust us, this saves you a lot of time and headaches in the long run.
  3. Set aggressive goals for the year: Look at what your production is currently and then set a realistic goal for the next 12-months. After you have done that, set an aggressive goal and write down what you need to achieve it. This could include equipment, personnel or other resources.
  4. Do what’s comfortable for you. It’s important to make large purchase decisions with a company where you feel comfortable and with whom you can count on for advice, support and service.
  5. Ask a lot of questions! We have a knowledgeable and friendly sales team that is here to tell you everything we know on paint spray booths. We will ask all the right questions and tell you things you need to consider in the process. We have a team of engineers that can assist in the compliance and design of your new paint booth. You can talk directly with who will be designing and producing your paint booth. Give us a call and pick our brain on everything you ever wanted to know about paint booths, and even some stuff you never knew you needed to know. It’ll help you make a more informed decision and that’s what we’re here for.

Here’s to a prosperous year of achieving your goals. We’re here to help in any way we can, so give us a call at 1-888-312-7488.

Cheers to 2020,

Kat Mendenhall

General Manager, Standard Tools and Equipment Co.

RAISING THE STANDARDS OF SAFETY

Every day we are lucky enough to work with customers from practically every industry. We get to hear stories of what our customers are painting, finishing, creating. We get to hear about their business.

Cars, Boats and Train Cars. Large Hollywood studios, retailers and car manufacturers. We sell to the agricultural industry, theme parks, universities and music makers. We sell to prop masters, furniture makers and industries that require ‘clean rooms’. We have the gamut of customers. They are all using the paint booth for a slightly different application, but one thing remains important: safety.

At Standard Tools, we also get to hear the stories in the field that are the very reason for safety, compliance, and codes. We have dozens of examples on the importance of being safe. All too often these lessons are learned the hard way. If you Google “body shop fires” it will haunt you to see the images of the businesses burned to the ground from not using the correct equipment or practicing unsafe operations.

At Standard Tools, we set the bar high for customer satisfaction. At the very top of that list is safety. We want our booths, employees, customers and users to be safe. We encourage them to have a booth that is compliant and will give them very little trouble for the years to come, serving them well and protecting against those dangerous situations.

Continue reading RAISING THE STANDARDS OF SAFETY

Meet Our Sales + Customer Service Team

Our Sales team B&WEver wonder what the people on the other end of the phone look like? This is our Sales team:

Wayne Piner, sales and parts specialist
Julie Surprenant, paint booth pro
Gina Gilchrist (on forklift), dedicated to great customer care
Michelle Duncan, Inspiring coach & cheerleader for the team (clipboard and pom-poms not pictured)
Angela Brown, committed to exceptional customer service
Fabiola Martinez, energetic sales and customer service professional, Español sales
Bill Daliege, sales rebel and equipment detail expert

Not Pictured: Rosy Gonzalez, Sales rock star and español sales

We Don’t Need No stinking Exhaust Filters

Badges

Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a movie released in 1948 with Humphrey Bogart.  This movie is not rated as one of the best or most viewed, but it gave us a one liner that is often repeated.  In the movie Bogart and his group, along with several other groups of ne’er-do-wells, are looking for a lost treasure of gold.  One group tries to fool Bogart and his gang by acting as Mexican Federales (or mounted police).  “If you are Federales”, asks Bogart, “where are your badges?”  The bandit leader replies, “Badges?  We ain’t got no badges.  We don’t need no badges.  I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!”  Great line, but what does it have to do with spray booths? I feel like that is what customers say about exhaust filters for their booth. “Filters? We don’t need no exhaust filters.”

One of the main purposes of a spray booth is to capture overspray.  You do not want it to exhaust on top of your building.  Your co-workers do not want it deposited onto their vehicles in the parking lot.   You neighbors do not want it on their property.  The government does not look favorably on the overspray getting to the atmosphere, plants, soil or water. Continue reading We Don’t Need No stinking Exhaust Filters

MANIFOLDING SPRAY BOOTH DUCTWORK AND IMPROPER AIRFLOW

Spray booth exhaust ductwork

In this photo, an installer has chosen to manifold three spray booth exhaust duct runs. (A manifold is a pipe or chamber branching into several openings.)

This layout probably looked great on paper and reduced the number of roof penetrations from three to just one.

Reality is such as nasty teacher.   The static pressure (resistance to the flow of air) was greater in the top portion of the ductwork than in the spray booths.  The ductwork downstream from the manifold point (above the joints) should be much larger than what is in the photo.   The air ventilated out of one booth actually flows into its neighbor.

Our booths are designed to meet specific airflow needs and we design them with ductwork. The spray booths in the photo were designed to have individual exhaust ductwork runs; they were not installed according to the design or instructions provided by Standard Tools.

Manifolding of exhaust ductwork is allowed by NFPA-33 only if devices exist in the ductwork that detect improper airflow.  The static pressure within the spray booth will change as the overspray builds up in the exhaust filters and as the obstruction within the booth changes (based on size and shape of parts in the spray booth).  This can be very technical and overly-complex.  The simple rule, and what Standard Tools recommends, is no manifolding of exhaust ductwork.  Keeping ductwork simple is the least expensive and best performing strategy in the long run. We suggest that you install your booth, and your ductwork, according to our recommendations to ensure proper airflow within your booth.

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