Adding a mixing room to your paint booth operation is more than just a safety precaution; it makes your shop run much more efficiently. It is an often overlooked part of the spray painting process. Moreover, many shops are required to have a mixing room on-site.
The value of adding a mixing room where you store all of your paints and solvents is that it keeps the highly flammable liquids used in spray painting properly ventilated and away from the high temps inside of your paint booth.
Regulations limit how many gallons of flammable liquids can be kept inside of your mixing room. The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) sets most standards for safety regarding paint mixing room configurations.
For instance, if your mixing room is within six feet of your paint booth, you can only store up to 120 gallons of flammable liquids. The maximum any shop can store in their mixing room is 360 gallons. Some of the other codes required for shops utilizing spraying facilities include:
A little known fact about paint booth operations is that the hazardous chemicals used are the number one cause of occupational asthma in the U.S. Mixing rooms use exhaust fans to expel noxious fumes, creating a safer environment for your workers.
Like people who worked in construction decades ago who were poisoned by asbestos which caused lung cancer, too much exposure to Isocyanates contained in paints leads to asthma and other health risks. Surprisingly, the biggest danger of this kind of exposure to workers is not inside of the paint booth but in your mixing room.
Operations that are working without a paint mixing room may have very strict safety protocols for working within the paint booth. The fact of the matter is, the same protocols used within your paint booth should be replicated in the mixing room; things like wearing protective gear, installing proper ventilation systems, and following fire safety procedures.
Perhaps the most important thing to ensuring worker safety within mixing rooms is to make sure that you are properly ventilating the room. Think about the way that the air is ventilated inside of your paint booth. There are usually multiple fans pushing contaminated air out and filtering fresh air in—the same should be done for mixing rooms.
The typical paint mixing room primarily uses exhaust fans without refreshing the air. The result is hazardous fumes are simply diluted, but not eliminated. Workers are still inhaling those fumes in small doses. Over time, it will cause serious health problems; asthma chief among them.
There is a reason why the distance between your paint booth and mixing room are so specific and part of the NFPA codes. However, fire hazards are not the only dangers that improper mixing room configurations can create.
Installing multiple exhaust fans does not help if the bad air is mixing in with clean air before it is expelled. If you install exhaust fans on the ceiling that push the air down, the air will still be contaminated with hazardous chemicals.
Even if your fans are positioned the opposite way pushing the air upward instead of downward, contaminated air is still being dispersed within the paint mixing room. The EPA has a list of recommendations for safely maintaining a mixing room that are very similar to paint booth safety protocols.
In addition to making a safe environment for your employees and customers, mixing rooms reduce dust particles and other contaminants from entering the paint booth. When choosing the right mixing room for your operations, there are certain features that you should look for to maximize worker safety and the efficiency of your process. Here are the top 4 features that your mixing room should have.
#1: Multiple Exhaust Systems
Having a multiple exhaust system for your mixing is priority number one when choosing the right features for your mixing room. First you should have local exhaust fans that expel the chemicals from the air working in conjunction with your general exhaust systems that push the contaminated air out.
That ensures that chemical particles that your local exhaust doesn’t get rid of, are exhausted by your general exhaust fans. You can go the extra mile and choose a mixing room that recirculates fresh air into the mixing room to ensure the air inside is clean.
#2: Pre-Fab Construction
All Accudraft mixing rooms are pre-fabricated to maximize efficiency and provide the cleanest mixing rooms. Each unit has EPA compliant ventilation systems built into the room. This makes configuring your mixing room within your shop easier since you don’t have to add your own exhaust systems to the mixing room.
#3: Code Compliance
In addition to providing code compliant ventilation, Accudraft’s mixing rooms help you to comply with all other codes governing mixing rooms. The Accudraft Mix™ provides a code compliant area of up to 150 square feet for paint mixing and chemical storage.
Keeping chemicals isolated in a mixing room is one part of code compliance, but you should also make sure that the tools used inside of your mixing room are contained in one well ventilated area. The Accudraft Mix™ is 150 square feet and provides enough space to safely store wash guns and other tools used when handling the hazardous liquids contained within your mixing room.
#4: Flexible/Space Saving Mixing Room Configuration
One reason why some shops forgo adding a mixing room is because of limited space. In order to avoid skipping this important safety feature in your shop, look for mixing rooms that offer flexible configurations that save space.
Accudraft’s paint mixing rooms are insulated, can be configured indoors, outdoors, stacked, or even customized to suit your needs. Most importantly, all of these configurations meet and exceed EPA standards.
The Accudraft Mix™ is free standing so that it can be conveniently installed with quick access to the prep station and the paint booth. This mixing room more than meets the flexibility standard.
It comes either as a three-sided or two-sided mixing room that can be attached to your paint booth or your limited finishing station. More importantly, it keeps the environment cleaner, preventing workers from contaminating the booth by walking through dirty areas within the shop when going back and forth from mixing room to prep room to paint booth.
The two-sided attached paint mixing room is installed between two paint booths or limited finishing stations to keep those areas connected, keeping your workers clean. It the perfect floor plan if you need two finishing systems and have approximately 40 feet of space from the left to the right of your mixing room. It also enables the shop to put all of the paint booth makeup air units behind the mix room, enhancing room ventilation.
If you want to improve your shop by adding a mixing room but are looking for an economical solution, the PRO Series Paint Mixing Room by Accudraft is the answer. The basic design offers easy bolt-together single skin panels. The PRO Series is also a standalone room and comes three-sided for easy attachment to your prep station and or paint booth.
Accudraft’s trademarked mixing rooms are as clean and safe as their industry leading paint booths. Contact the team at Accudraft about adding a new paint mixing room to your operation.