Choosing the right type of panels for your paint booth or powder coating booth can make a big difference in quality, productivity and maintenance.
Assuming finish quality is even the slightest priority, pre-coated white panels are indisputably a better option than galvanized steel. Pre-coated white panels are painted with a white liquid coating, then covered with PVC film to prevent scratching during assembly. With pre-coated white panels, the booth is brighter, the walls are easier to clean and there is less chance of cross-contamination.
If you are considering a new paint booth or powder coating booth, here are four things you need to know about pre-coated white panels, compared to galvanized steel panels:
1. Visibility is Better with Pre-Coated White Panels
For the best visibility, paint booths and powder coating booths should feature pre-coated white panels and a white epoxy floor. With white walls and floors, lighting is reflected throughout the booth, illuminating the entire booth and creating more even, consistent lighting throughout the booth. This allows the painter to see every side of the part or product and not miss any spots covered by shadows, resulting in higher-quality paint jobs and less rework.
With galvanized steel panels, light does not reflect as well. Even when lights are present in the sidewalls, the light that does reflect typically has a grayish hue, making it problematic for painters.
“A paint booth can almost become cavernous with galvanized steel panels,” said Michael Cook, industrial territory sales manager for Global Finishing Solutions (GFS). “Even though you have lighting, you get a very dark appearance, and you seem to get a gray shadow on what you’re painting.”
2. Pre-Coated White Panels Are Easier to Clean
Cleaning a paint booth or powder coating booth with pre-coated white panels is much easier than a booth with galvanized steel panels. That is because overspray is easier to spot on pre-coated white panels, and it wipes off easier than it does on galvanized steel panels. Cleaner booths reduce the chance of cross-contamination.
Compared to automotive refinish applications, industrial applications have a considerably higher volume of spraying. Some industrial manufacturers spray as much as 200 gallons per day in booths that are the same size as automotive refinish booths.
Using spray guns designed for higher volume, as well as high-pressure spray guns, increases the likelihood of overspray ending up on booth walls. That is why the cleanability of pre-coated white panels is such an advantage over galvanized steel panels.
3. Powder Clings to Galvanized Steel Panels
Perhaps the biggest drawback to a powder coating booth with galvanized steel panels is that powder overspray statically clings and adheres to the panels. As much as 90 percent of powder overspray can be easily blown off galvanized steel panels; however, a thin layer of powder will inevitably cling to the panels, and get stuck in the crevices of the booth. This can cause cross-contamination when multiple colors are sprayed in the booth.
“Powder doesn’t cling to pre-coated white panels like it does to galvanized steel panels,” Cook said. “The powder blows right off of pre-coated panels, and then you have this nice, beautiful, white booth again.”
4. Galvanized Steel Panels are Cheaper Than Pre-Coated White Panels
Paint booths with pre-coated white panels cost about 15 percent more than booths with galvanized steel panels. If you are at all concerned about finish quality, pre-coated white panels outweigh the heavier price tag, as you will have better visibility in the booth and easier cleanability, leading to less rework.
“If a manufacturer is coating structural steel, they just need to coat it. With less emphasis on the quality of the finish, film thickness or the coverage, galvanized steel panels are sufficient,” Cook said. “If a manufacturer is looking for a high-end finish, wants good lighting throughout the booth and wants something that cleans up easier, pre-coated white panels are a better choice.”
Building a paint booth or powder coating booth with pre-coated white panels instead of galvanized steel panels is worth the investment if a high-quality finish is a priority to your business. The advantages of pre-coated white panels are numerous. From increased visibility in the booth, to walls that are easier to clean, which reduces the chance of cross-contamination, pre-coated white panels make paint booths and powder coating booths much more efficient.