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Optimize Your Body Shop Floor Layout for the Painting Process

From time to time, auto body shops go through a myriad of changes such as expansion, renovation, or growth to new locations. During this transitional process, it’s crucial to think about how to ensure job efficiency—especially for painting. Spray finishing is undoubtedly a big part of jobs and should be considered in any body shop floor layout.

Planning Your Auto Body Shop Floor Layout

During the planning stage of reorganizing your body shop floor, these three factors must be considered:

  • The refinishing area and equipment
  • Equipment placement and production flow
  • A productive work area

Determining Production Goals

To optimize your body shop floor layout for the painting process, first, consider production goals. Your production goals will reveal exactly how much work needs to go through your shop over a period of time to reach gross sales goals. From there, determine how many jobs per day your shop should complete to achieve the desired scope of work.

Determining Paint Booth Efficiency

The average painter can run four to six paint booth cycles per day in a standard downdraft booth. To do so, one paint booth and one prep booth (for priming) are needed. However, your production may be at the lower end of average, leaving you to decide if your paint booth needs upgrades or a second booth altogether. To determine the efficiency of your paint booth, evaluate its age and condition, such as lighting, corrosion, rusting, and door condition.

4 Paint Booth Upgrades

Upgrades to an existing booth may be right for a shop that is having certain performance issues that keep them from completing their desired number of daily jobs. However, there are cases when a paint booth needs a replacement instead of upgrades.

Some common upgrades are:

  1. Lighting: Shadowless and LED lighting are essential for paint booths, as well as to avoid metamerism.
  2. Doors: Doors suffering from corrosion, rust, or heavy overspray should be replaced.
  3. AMU System: An indirect fire or heatless AMU should be upgraded to a direct fire system for faster temperature rises and drying times. An AMU can also help control humidity levels.
  4. Xcelerator: The Xcelerator, exclusive to Accudraft, can speed drying times by flashing water-based paints.

Installing an Additional Paint Booth

A growing shop may consider a second paint booth if there are more customers and jobs than their current equipment can handle. For example, if your shop now needs to complete eight jobs per day to keep up with demand, but your current booth can only complete an average of five per day, a second booth may be the right choice. Then, the two booths can comfortably complete about four jobs per day, with flexibility for growth.

Achieving Excellent Placement and Good flow

Once a body shop can handle production, the rest of a shop’s layout will simply be figuring out the best ways to get those vehicles into the paint booth. Ideally, body shops should have an assembly line type of flow when designing their floor layout. A car should seamlessly enter the building, move to a paint prep station, enter a paint booth, exit the paint booth through the other end, and finally be moved to the cooldown and reassembly area.

It’s crucial for body shops to consider the time it takes to move vehicles around the floor for maximum efficiency. Most shops can lose about 30 minutes of cycle time by backing the vehicles out of a paint booth instead of moving it forward. This is because another car cannot be prepped in front of the booth in the meantime.

Finding Space for Painting Equipment

If you need an additional paint booth but are struggling to find space within your existing shop, there are options. Some buildings can build up or out to add additional space. However, this is not ideal for every property. Others can benefit from an outdoor spray booth to increase productivity without adding to indoor space. For example, Accudraft provided Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School with two fully equipped outdoor paint booths when they realized they no longer had space within their existing buildings.

It’s also worth noting the importance of vehicle mix. To determine the type of paint booth needed, evaluate the cars typically serviced (sedans, trucks, or commercial vans). For example, pickups, SUVs, and commercial vans will need about 28-30 feet, while predominantly European imports can use standard type booth lengths.

How Accudraft Can Help Optimize Auto Body Shops

Accudraft is experienced in optimizing auto body shops by listening to our client’s needs and wants. We help national MSOs with upgrading their current equipment to meet production needs and local auto body shops with expanding their finishing system. To get started with upgrading or adding paint booths, contact Accudraft online.