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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.


Do I Need Paint Booth MakeUp Air? What the heck is it?

Sure-Cure Air Makeup Unit
Sure-Cure Air Makeup Unit

Since we have announced the arrival of the Sure-Cure AMU to the market, we have been getting a lot of questions from customers about what an Air Makeup Unit does, why it is needed and how it works. Here are the simple answers to all of those questions. We’ll try not to make it too complicated, because it’s really simple…. It provides lots of air to the paint booth.

Now, why would anyone need all that extra air? Well, it’s not really ‘extra’ air, it’s replacement – or makeup – air for air that has been used and expelled out of the booth. Booth exhaust systems use up large volumes of air from the space that it is installed. If this air is not replaced at the same rate that it is expelled, the booth, or the building, will experience negative pressure (the air pressure outside the building is greater than the air pressure inside the building).

Why is negative pressure bad? At the risk of sounding like a bunch of engineers, some indicators of negative pressure include the suction pressure that makes booth STE-AMU_Fulldoors difficult to open, exhaust fans that don’t work properly, drafts around doors and windows that cause a poor paint job and poor indoor air quality.

What does this have to do with your painting? Pressure problems make it difficult to paint in a booth and achieve proper coating and curing. When you are able to control the booth pressure and temperature, you are able to effectively remove particulates from the air that can negatively affect the quality of your finish. These problems are more pronounced during the cold season when windows are kept closed, reducing the natural pressure-balancing effect.

When you have an air make-up system, like the Sure-Cure AMU, the unit replaces the air that is expelled by a building’s exhaust system, maintaining the proper balance between inside and outside air pressures.

Some Cool Things About Air Makeup Units:

  • Replacement air can be heated in the winter months or to improve curing time. You can choose to not heat the replacement air in warmer months.
  • Cure your paint job in under an hour, increasing your daily productivity by up to 10X
  • Greatly reduce infiltration of cold outdoor air and drafts through opened booth doors
  • Encourage proper operation of booth exhaust systems
  • Improve the booth’s air quality
  • Eliminate suction pressure at doors
  • Decrease load on existing HVAC system
  • Lower energy costs by as much as 35%
  • Maintain a more comfortable and productive working environment

There are many individual benefits and features that differentiate AMU models and makes. It’s in our Sure-Cure air makeup unit features that make our unit safer and easier to operate. Now that you know why you need an AMU, check out all the benefits of having our AMU.

Want to see the video that launched it all? See the Sure-Cure AMU, in action, from all angles in just 55 seconds!

 

The Process of a Paint Booth Sale

It used to be that everything could be bought at your local hardware or general store. After that, there was Wal-mart (AKA: Wally World). Since the Internet has become a household necessity in the last decade, online shopping has skyrocketed and people are carving out niches that only the Internet makes possible. For instance, a stay-at-home Mom who can sew really well is able to sell her crafty pieces on Etsy or Ebay. Have some stuff you want to get rid of but don’t have the time or energy for a yard sale? (Plus, you really hate getting up that early.) Snap a photo on your phone and put it on Craigslist.  People no longer have to fight the crowds at Wal-Mart or search from store to store. They can find everything, including extremely rare and hard-to-find items or Paint Booths, on their computer.

Shop with Caution: With online shopping come scams and rip-offs. After all, anyone can setup a web site and become an “online seller” without any credentials or validity.  How do you know if it is a legit business or just a guy in his garage? It is extremely important that when you are ordering from an online retailer, do your homework. Read the “About Us” page on their site. Check them out on social media (Facebook / Twitter / Ect.) Are there pictures of their facilities, phone numbers, an address, email addresses, etc?   How long have they been in business? Do they stand behind their products? Do they have a customer service department? Google their company name for any online conversation about them. Read their customer feedback. Always go with your gut instinct. Okay, rant over… moving on.

Here’s the process of your paint booth going through production! We’re going to demonstrate via photos (fun, right?!). All of our sales & customer service team members are based out of our home office, on the same premises as our manufacturing plant. Both located in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Once you have shopped our web site, watched our “About Us” video and liked us on Facebook…. You’re ready to order. Continue reading The Process of a Paint Booth Sale

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