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Written by: Jeremy Winters

The Actual Cost of Ignoring Maintenance in Paint Booths

We all have dealt with it, as a painter having to put off routine maintenance until the shop is caught up. The dreaded phrase “we don’t have time for that right now” can start the ball rolling downhill of what is to come. The problem I have seen in a lot of shops, is when basic maintenance is ignored and things go wrong or booths become problematic, the first thing that happens is to blame to booth, rather than what actually led to the failure. So in this article, let’s look at examples of what the ACTUAL cost of ignoring maintenance is.

Every year, you should have your booth serviced by a reputable company (Like Accudraft! We have our own service team to service any booth.). They will go through and note of what is showing signs of wear, what needs to be fixed, what to keep an eye on, as well as how to improve performance. Many shops won’t fix a problem until something breaks, in turn causing them downtime. The bigger problem, is that when basic maintenance is skipped, problems become bigger than what they would normally be, which means when things do go south, it is no longer a simple fix and can/will be costly.

One of the most important, yet basic pieces of maintenance to keep your booth running smoothly is replacement of filters. A booth when broken down to its simplest form, is nothing more than a giant air pump. Air comes in, air goes out, much like an engine if you will. What happens when your vehicle’s air filter is filthy?  Does your vehicle perform at its peak levels?  What happens when your vehicle can’t breathe like it should?  It begins to choke and shuts down.  It is the exact same for a booth; if it cannot breathe(in or out), extra strain is put on the mechanical pieces and eventually something will break. If air cannot escape the cabin due to clogged filters, it will always find the path of least resistance and leave through there. This is where you will run into pressure issues and start having problems with seals. The air that does get by the dirty filters is now being pushed onto the fans, progressively weighing them down. This in turn causes more strain on the motors over time to turn at the velocity needed to hold pressure in the booth, causing premature failure on them. As someone who has had to do all of my own booth maintenance, I can tell you that when there are issues with the booth fans, it is never a quick fix, and almost always results in DAYS of downtime.

Not all costs in neglecting maintenance are associated with something breaking down. Have you noticed that by pushing those refinish jobs through the booth that has those dirty filters, your sandpaper and polishing costs have risen?  It is because your buff time and material usage has gone up due to dirty filters. Dirty filters and neglect will turn what normally is a nib and polish job, into buzzing the panels down and polishing due to trash or hazing because of inadequate airflow.

But can you put a price tag on the actual cost of a breakdown in the paint shop?  I can guarantee it is much more than what you think it is when all of the affected areas are taken into account. This is not an issue that will simply affect cars not being painted. It is going to delay EVERY department in your shop, trickling down from the paint shop and impacting every part of your shop both in pre and post repair on its way. Vehicles not being painted due to a breakdown equals vehicles not being assembled and going home on the back side, which means you are losing money every day on vehicles that could be delivered. It also means there is a backup of cars on the front side not getting refinished and all part of the production lost to the issue trickling down.

Think about how much each RO is worth to your shop, now how many vehicles are being held up each day. The cost of having a booth serviced or changing filters is rather minute now isn’t it?

The thing to understand here, is that at the end of the day things happen. There is nothing perfect in this world, if a belt is going to break, it is going to break at the most inopportune time. But how do you handle the majority of this and keep the random break downs to a minimum?  By scheduling it and giving yourself the time to go through and maintain your equipment. Yes, SCHEDULE your down time. Filters, cleanings, AND inspections by qualified personnel, can catch most issues before they happen. You can always paint more vehicles, you can earn more money, but the time lost, is time lost. TIME is the one commodity you can never get back.

If you want to have your booth serviced and inspected, reach out to us today to help eliminate down time in your shop!