When refinishing oversized trucks and vehicles, many factors go into achieving a high-quality paint job, including the quality of the prep work, booth airflow and filtration, and the skill of the painter.
Often overlooked is the importance of adequate lighting. Several components make up excellent paint booth lighting. Here are seven actions to take when selecting lighting for a heavy-duty truck paint booth:
1. Determine How Bright Your Paint Booth Needs to Be
Foot-candles — the intensity of light in a given direction — are used to measure a paint booth’s brightness. A wax candle has the luminous intensity of one foot-candle. By comparison, the industry standard for paint booths is 100 to 150 foot-candles at a 3-foot height.
Light fixtures should be strategically placed on the walls and ceilings of your heavy-duty truck paint booth to achieve uniform, complete lighting. Engineers at Global Finishing Solutions (GFS) perform lighting analyses to determine the quantity and placement of light fixtures for optimal brightness.
2. Assess Whether Your Paint Booth Should Be Even Brighter
An easy way to increase the luminosity of your heavy-duty truck booth is to use light reflectors, which focus more light where you need it most. They work by more efficiently directing light toward the working area of your booth. Light reflectors can increase the luminosity of your truck paint booth by 20 percent. Plus, they can be easily installed behind existing fluorescent light tubes, saving energy and maintenance costs.
3. Choose the Best Light Fixture Lens for Your Paint Booth
The light fixture lens affects the quality of the light it projects. Clear, tempered lenses allow for clearer, more accurate lighting in your heavy-duty truck paint booth.
Compared to regular glass, tempered glass is four to five times stronger, providing durability for high-production painting and curing of semis, buses, RVs, forklifts, tractors, boats, trains, rail cars and even amusement park rides. Tempered glass is also clearer than wire-reinforced glass, which was once common in some paint booths.
4. Calculate Whether Upgrading to LED Lighting is Worth the Expense
Most heavy-duty truck paint booths, including Large Equipment Paint Booths from GFS, feature T8 light fixtures with fluorescent lamps. Although standard with fluorescent lamps, GFS paint booths can be easily upgraded to LED lamps, as the light fixtures support both fluorescent and LED lamps.
Compared to traditional fluorescent 32-watt T8 systems, LED lamps from GFS can save up to 40 percent in energy costs. Additionally, GFS light fixtures are deactivated when the spray booth is in cure mode, saving money and extending the life of your bulbs.
LED T8 lamps also emit virtually no ultraviolet or infrared light and contain no mercury. This allows for non-hazardous waste disposal, which is both environmentally friendly and cost-effective.
T5 fluorescent light fixtures are an alternative to T8 light bulbs. Most commonly used in paint booths with tall ceilings, T5 light fixtures are nearly twice as bright as T8 fixtures. T5 light bulbs are recommended for truck paint booths located in hotter climates that reach high temperatures.
5. Evaluate Your Paint Booth’s Energy Efficiency with Dual Ballasts
Providing two lighting levels, dual ballasts offer another way to save energy on heavy-duty truck paint booth lighting. With dual ballasts, you can use only half of the lights when less light is needed, such as during prep work. For painting operations and detail work, full lighting can be quickly and easily restored. Dual ballasts are an upgrade option on GFS heavy-duty truck paint booths.
6. Make Sure Your Paint Booth’s Lighting is Code Compliant
Lighting in your heavy-duty truck paint booth needs to comply with national, state and local codes. Light fixtures must be approved for Class I, Division 2, Groups A-D. Meeting these requirements ensures worry-free planning and installation, as well as the safety of your employees, equipment and facility.
7. Pick a Paint Booth Manufacturer That Provides Local Support
When purchasing a truck paint booth, you want a paint booth manufacturer that has a local distributor available to help. This ensures that if your lights go out, your paint booth will not be out of commission for long. Local support from your paint booth manufacturer also means you have fast, easy access to replacement bulbs and parts when you need them.
Standard interior sizes for heavy-duty truck paint booths range from 14 to 18 feet in height and 40 to 64 feet in length. That is a lot of area to illuminate, which is why your paint booth’s lighting should be engineered for optimal brightness and energy efficiency, in addition to meeting code requirements. After all, better lighting in your paint booth can go a long way toward achieving better paint finishes.