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Fire Prevention in Spray Booths

Top 10 Really Bad Ideas for Spray Booths (or What a great way to have a fire!!)

  1. Using any electrical device in a paint booth.
  2. Thinking how cool it would be to have an electrical outlet in the spray booth wall.
  3. Smoking in a spray paint booth.
  4. Grinding or welding in a paint booth.
  5. Not using a licensed electrical contractor to wire the booth lights and fan.
  6. Not performing routine maintenance of cleaning the walls/ceilings/floor or changing filters.
  7. Not installing an automatic fire suppression system.
  8. Not assembling the spray booth as shown in the manual.
  9. Using your spray booth to store excessive paint or other combustible materials.
  10. Not training your booth operators about fire safety.

The NFPA-33 standard defines the safety requirements for spray booths.  This standard is available through Techstreet.  This is a good investment that will save you money, but you might not have that great fire story to tell your friends.

Shop Paint Booths at Tools USA.

Spray Booth and Paint Booth Filters

Spray Booth Filters need to be changed regularly to maintain operational efficiencies for your Paint Booth.

The following are the different type of paint booth filters:

1. Exhaust Filters – Trap any leftover pollutants prior to the air entering the atmosphere.  These spray booth filters are typically changed after 50-100 working hours.

2. Intake Filters – Cleans the air coming into the spray booth.

Shop Paint Booth Filters at Tools USA.

For further questions, contact or call 1-800-451-2425.

Spray Booth Maintenance

It is necessary to maintain your spray paint booth in order to have the booth operating efficiently and provide a high quality product for your auto body shop customer.   Shop Paint Booths.

Maintenance of the following areas is important.

1. Lighting – Color and brightness inside the booth should be maintained. Over time, this will deteriorate and even though they may appear operational, the lights might not be in high working order. Consider replacing light bulbs on a regular basis or purchasing a light meter to test the lights frequently.

2. Spray Booth Motor – If you have a non-lubricating motor, you will need to grease the motor. Newer paint booths are sold with self-lubricating motors. Fan motor belts need to be replaced annually and inspected during the year.

3. Cleaning the Spray Booth – A powder coated booth is the easiest booth to clean since it can be washed off when overspray accumulates. The white finish allows dirt to be brushed off the interior walls and captured in the filters. The paint booth should be operating during the cleaning so the filters will capture dust.

4. Interior Paint Booth Temperature – Some paint manufacturers recommend keeping the spray booth between 68 and 70 degrees while the booth is operational. Paint booths with an air make up unit will come with a temperature gauge. Some paint booths will come with a temperature gauge. Adjustments may need to be made depending on the temperature of the object being painted and the air surrounding it. Spray booth temperature can be easily increased or decreased to accommodate changes.

5. Spray Booth Filters – The filters should be changed to prevent pollutants from entering and exiting the spray booth. Excessively dirty filters can lead to an imbalance of air flow in the booth. It is not recommended to clean the filters with air or water to try to make them last longer.

6. Paint Booth Air Flow – Maintaining proper air flow will enhance the paint drying time. Air flow can be tested by generating smoke inside the booth and watching the pattern and speed at which the smoke exits the booth. Keep in mind that the larger the item in the spray booth, the higher the air flow will be.

For more on Paint Booths, refer to our FAQ section.

Requirements for Fire Suppression in Paint Booth

All of Tools USA’s spray booths are designed to comply with the NFPA-33 requirement for an after-market fire suppression system that:

–          complies with NFPA-33  Chapter 9

–          is installed by a licensed contractor who can work without being on top of the spray booth

–          is not installed in a manner that threatens the structural integrity of the paint booth by removing excessive material or placing excessive weight on the top of the booth

–          does not create excessive obstructions within the spray booth that would accumulate overspray

–          is inspected annually by a licensed contractor.

The vast majority of our spray booths are complimented with dry-chem suppression units from experienced manufacturers who specialize in fire protection.  These units comply with NFPA-17 and NFPA-33 when installed by a licensed contractor.  They allow quicker fire suppression without the threat of electrical shock, quicker restart after deployment and better fire suppression in the exhaust ducting.

The wet sprinkler system is a valid alternative if required by local code or specific building factors.

Tools USA strongly recommends that proper installation of the paint booth, proper training of operators and safe storage/mixing of materials to be sprayed per EPA, NFPA and OSHA codes as the best method of reducing the chance of fire or explosion in your spray paint booth.

Is Your Spray Booth Working Properly?

It is critical to ensure your paint booth is working properly at all times to gain the greatest operational efficiencies as well as provide a safe environment for the workers.  A properly working booth will provide safety, clean environment, appropriate lighting, fire protection, faster drying for paint, and as an option, temperature control.

Have you had problems with your spray booth?

Tell us what problems you have had.

Why buy a Spray Booth?

There are many reasons to buy a spray paint booth rather than just designating a portion of your collision auto body shop to “painting”.   The primary reason is that many states require a spray booth.  The spray booth provides a specific clean space to ensure proper paint application as well as directs all the hazardous materials away from the work area through the use of proper filters.

Do you have other questions about Paint Booths? Visit our FAQ.

ETL Certified Spray Booth

Why aren’t all spray booths ETL-certified?

ETL certification for spray booths is the process of a third-party firm, like Intertek, evaluating the paint booths for compliance to NFPA-33 Standard for Spray Application Using Flammable or Combustible Materials.  The certifier also evaluates the manufacturer for quality control processes and potential problems with repeatability that would affect product quality.  The certifier performs quarterly audits to review materials, processes and associated factors to ensure that the product continues to comply with the published standard.  The certifier also requires the manufacturer to record and respond to Customer complaints about the listed products.

Many spray booth manufacturers of cheaper products simply cannot afford to have the personnel to support this process.  They design, manufacture and sell spray booths with little or no input from third-party firms that assess the performance and quality of their products.

Tools USA offers 7 standard spray booths and a paint mixing room that have optional ETL kits that ease the permitting process.  Obtaining this certification was complex and expensive.  Tools USA selected the 8 most popular items to be certified but could not do so for all products as some items like truck spray booths are too cost-prohibitive to sample and test when compared to the volumes sold.  Since a large number of Tools USA spray booths are certified, we can help with the testing and listing of a spray booth that is outside of the range of currently certified booths.

Tools USA is not permitted to sell any ETL kit for a spray booth or paint mixing room once the product has left our facility.  Please contact one of our salesmen if you need more information on this issue.

So Many Spray Booth Companies…What’s the difference?

Choosing a company to buy your spray booth from can be very confusing, even to people with a good deal of experience in the industry.  The following notes should help you understand that differences in these groups and what jobbers and re-sellers have to offer.

  1. Economy – This is your simple shop that is going to provide the basic structure along with filters, a fan and lights.  These shops are very basic with the company owner often selling and designing the paint booths.  Most of these shops have no computer-driven design or manufacturing so quality can be an issue.  These shops do not offer spray booths with well developed manuals or ETL certified spray booths.  A basic automotive paint booth in this category may sell for $6,000 with little technical or permitting support and a lower quality of components.
  2. Value – This next level of spray booth manufacturer uses CAD systems to design products to nationally-recognized standards and computer-driven equipment to make high-quality components.  The paint booth designs and finishes are kept functional but compliant to NFPA, OSHA and IFC standards.  These spray booths usually have higher quality due to the technologies used by the manufacturer, larger quantities of manufacturing and technical direction from certification agencies.  Tools USA manufactures spray booths and paint mixing rooms that fit into this category.  Tools USA offers its CF-1000 automotive spray booth for $5,799 plus the optional $1,500 ETL kit that makes the permitting process and electrical contracting process much simpler.  The return on investment is dramatically better than a spray booth from either other category of manufacturer as problems and initial costs are minimized.
  3. Plus – This top-level of spray booth manufacturer provides many extras that may or may not add real value to the paint booth.  Basement style floors, high-end hardware, submarine glass and insulated walls add extreme costs to the spray booth price but may not improve the quality or productivity of a spray booth.  These companies often have high administrative costs with extensive over the road sales reps and engineers.  These companies do not advertise the price of their products as their goal is to maximize the entire project.  An automotive paint booth made by these firms can cost $30,000 or more.
  4. Jobbers – These firms will install a spray booth into a Customer’s facility.  They may purchase from only one source, or they may choose from a range of manufacturers based on pricing, product and availability.  Some jobbers will provide all of the permitting, fire suppression and ducting services.  They tend to be local to the Customer’s site.  Quality and dependability of the manufacturer is a significant factor as these firms will not work with manufacturers that cannot perform well on a repeat basis.   Tools USA sells many spray booths through Jobbers on a repeat basis.
  5. Distributor – These firms simply sell the spray booths made by other companies.  They are very similar to Jobbers, except that they do not perform any of the installation or permitting tasks.  Tools USA also sells many spray booths to distributors.

So here are the questions that you should answer before choosing a plan to get a spray booth into your shop:

Do I take my chances on buying the cheapest paint booth that meets my needs?

Do I spend an extravagant amount on features that do not improve productivity or quality?

Do I buy from an experienced manufacturer who has invested in product design and testing and up-to-date manufacturing processes?

Do I buy directly, or do I need some level of assistance to get the spray booth operational?

Do I buy directly, or is there value in working with a paint booth distributor?

Receiving Your Shipment of a Paint Booth, Frame Machine or Auto Body Shop Supplies

Thank you for choosing Tools USA for your automotive equipment needs.  Whether your order ships UPS, LTL (Less Than Load, i.e.  Estes, FedEx ), below are a few tips to make receipt of your paint booth, frame machine, powder coat system or auto body shop supplies & tools as easy as possible.

Our shipping department makes every effort to ship your order in a manner that allows for easy offloading, including arranging a carrier and extending the discounts provided to us by our shipping partners. When possible, a flatbed is used to transport items such as a frame machine.

If your order consists of a product(s) that ships LTL, you are responsible for offloading. Please note there are additional charges for residential delivery, delivery to construction sites, college campuses, etc. If you are unsure as to whether you have a special circumstance, contact Tools USA’s Customer Service department prior to the shipment of your order and we will gladly assist you with special handling.

We will contact you the morning following shipment to advise you of the estimated delivery date, as well as other pertinent order information.  If you require a specific delivery time, we will provide you with a tracking/PRO number and the phone number of the delivering terminal.  The dispatcher will then schedule the delivery at your convenience.

A paint booth, frame machine, powder coating system and other large auto body shop supplies may require the use of a forklift and are too large for the use of a truck with a lift gate.  A lift gate can be used to offload items such as; tire changers/balancers, power pullers and ductwork.  In addition, certain paint spray booths, such as truck paint booths are shipped in special large crates that require the use of a forklift with extensions to support the extra weight.

Careful inspection is required in order to make sure your order has not sustained any damage during transit.  Upon delivery, please visually inspect the external packaging for any crushed corners, loose box flaps, broken straps, retaping etc.  While you have the right to refuse any shipment you feel is damaged, we ask that you accept delivery and notate possible damage on the delivery receipt. IF THE DAMAGE IS EXTENSIVE, YOU MAY CALL US WHILE THE DRIVER STANDS BY, TO DETERMINE IF THE SHIPMENT SHOULD BE REFUSED. We recommend that you make a copy of the delivery receipt for your records.

Please retain all shipping containers and internal packaging, as it is likely an inspection will be required if your order arrives damaged. Call us immediately and we will instruct you on what to do, should your unit require replacement. We may ask you to take pictures using your cell phone or a digital camera and forward them to us.  Photos are a great way for us to expedite the process of filing a damage claim if necessary. Rest assured that should a replacement be needed, we will handle it as quickly as possible.

Smaller items that are shipped via UPS or FedEx Ground may not require a signature.  If delivery is attempted for packages requiring a signature and no one is there to sign, two more attempts will be made before the package is returned to its origination. If an order is returned to its point of origination and you want it reshipped, you will be billed for the outbound shipping charge.



Please feel free to contact us. We are here to ensure your experience with us is a pleasant one.  Again, thank you for choosing Tools USA.

How do I choose a Dust Collector?

There are many types of dust collectors.  This entry addresses a ducted dust collector that would have fixed pick-up points in a woodworking shop.  There are two types of dust collectors used in this application: single-stage and two-stage or cyclone dust collections.

Single-stage dust collectors draw the chip/dust/shavings from the pick-up points and separate all of these particles from the air by using a single filter, usually a sock-type felt, cloth or paper filter.  These collectors are best for very small shops or for a single machine when efficiency and noise are not a consideration.  These units are typically less expensive and less effective than the two-stage cyclones.  You get what you pay for.

A two-stage or cyclonic collector draws the dust/chip/shaving laden air through the collector body where a twisting or cyclone action is imparted on the air.  This feeds into a drum and the larger shavings and chips are separated from the air by centripetal force.  The finer dust is carried with the exhaust air to sock-type felt, cloth or paper filters.  This system is much more effective as the majority of the dust/chips/shavings is collected in the drum and does not build up of the secondary filter.

The collector is part of a complete system that includes pick-up points at the machinery, ducting, gates and the collector.  The collector is the heart of the system, but a system must be correctly designed to provide enough air velocity to pick up and carry the dust to the collector.  Wood dust/chips/shavings require 4500 linear feet per minute (LFM) to be carried to the collector.  Collectors are measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM).  The translation of LFM to CFM requires complete information including:

–          the number of machines to be connected

–          the size of each pick-up (usually in the machinery manuals)

–          the location of each pick-up

–          the type of dust/chips/shavings being picked up

–          the amount of usage for each pick-up (in hours or percentage)

Tools USA can help design the complete system.  Duct manufacturers like NordFab can also perform this task.  Systems that demand over 5000 cfm are required to meet a higher level of codes and often integrate fire detection/suppression.  Tools USA recommends breaking a larger system into smaller systems of less than 5000 cfm in most cases.  There are significant savings in installation, power and maintenance costs by dividing these larger systems.

Please contact Kelly at Tools USA to help select and design your dust collection system.  This will go quicker if you have machine details (duct diameters, cfms recommended) and a general layout drawing of your shop.  Our collectors are designed to be located inside your building for ease for emptying and maintenance.

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