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Railcars outside finishing facility

Outdoor Rail Car Paint Booths

Accudraft designs and manufactures systems capable of handling large and complex operations. Contact us to learn more about our train painting and refinishing solutions.

What Makes a Train Paint Booth Different?

Trains and rail cars are exposed to harsh environments, which affect the paint and finish over time. They require durable and long-lasting paint jobs that can withstand the elements. Varying weather and cargo can strip away protective coatings, leaving your equipment vulnerable. Accudraft designs train and rail paint booths to create the ideal environment for applying industrial type heavy-duty paint coatings. Temperature, airflow, and exposure to compounds are tightly controlled to meet code for safe and efficient operating conditions.
Rail car being prepped in a paint booth
Design of a rail paint booth

Designed to Fit Your Needs

The height, width, and especially length of train cars plays a part in the train paint booth’s overall shape and layout. Depending on the work being performed on the train, Booths can be designed to reduce the overall volume of the paint booth’s interior. By making a design that accommodates the train car’s body, but also takes into account the work being done, the overall airflow needed can be optimized. This will minimize the overall airflow, heat, and contamination control. A custom design will significantly reduce the size of the air handlers needed and the overall energy required to condition the paint booth. The rail paint or refinish booth will save energy every day for the life of the installation. If a rail refinishing facility is primarily focused on refinish of parts on the car, a paint booth system may be engineered completely differently compared to a facility that is built for manufacturing of train cars where most parts are painted off of the railcar and are later installed. For refinishing or refurbishment of railcars, there may be a happy middle ground where a very large 150-foot-long paint booth can be divided into several smaller paint booths with divider doors. This is just one example of custom solutions that Accudraft engineers every day. This would allow the facility to use the entire paint booth as one long paint booth when painting entire rail cars or locomotives or use a much smaller space or combination of sections of the booth for parts painting. This way the facility is only using up the energy they need to paint and heat the rail car or parts. No need to fire up the entire paint booth system every time in you only need a small area.

Curtains can also be integrated into the paint booth design. They can be drawn down to isolate the train painting spray area or make several areas for prepping parts, substrates, or spraying paint coatings. If radiant heat technology is used to heat the paint booth, the sections are closer to the body of the train car or locomotive being painted. This offers better heat distribution as well as the painters or workers working in the booth. Trains can be challenging to move when not on rails because of that special rails or other means may be required to load and unload the booth.  Additionally raised platforms or manlifts may be required to safely and effectively reach the full height of larger locomotives, trains and rail cars.

Nobody thinks of it, but trains are very tall! Most paint and finishing processes on train cars and locomotives involve using a ladder or lift. Moving ladders manually or using scissor lifts can become very time consuming. Getting the right angle of reach when using conventional means of getting a boost is difficult. If your angle of reach for sanding, or washing, or masking, or painting changes, you need to get down, move the ladder or move the scissor lift and reposition. With integrated man lifts, Accudraft’s industrial paint booths allow the user to travel easily with the use of 3 joysticks that have a dedicated axis. If they want to travel in one direction and keep working, the lift is locked in oplace in the other two axes and the single-axis travel is safe at whatever speed or distance they want. Travel up, down, left, right, in & out all at the touch of a lever. The lift systems are integrated right into the structure of the paint booth. This reduces the lift and lift basket’s overall footprint and allows the basket to be completely out of the way when fully retracted. Integrated man lifts also eliminate the hazard of running into the paint booth walls or the piece being painted. Lifts are on dedicated tracks and have limits and end-stops pre-set so there is no way to damage the booth itself. A much safer and faster way to just get to work and move quickly across the job.

When spraying paint coatings on large rail cars inside a paint booth, the size becomes a significant analysis point by engineers. When conditioning air, it is crucial to understand precisely how much energy is used to achieve near-perfect air conditions. These exact standards are usually imposed by the paint coating manufacturer to ensure the coating’s proper performance. Train paint booths require the addition of heat as well as the proper airflow to meet the stringent conditions of locomotive and train car finishing.

Rail car inside paint booth

Moving the air through a train paint or refinishing booth can be challenging due to temperature, and airflow requirements. Additionally, the locomotive or rail car’s shape can affect the airflow pattern and, if not addressed, can result in unfavorable spraying conditions. By keeping the airflow moving freely, overspray is minimized, and operations run more efficiently.

Getting air to flow correctly is imperative, but so is recirculation to ensure that the coatings can be properly cured at elevated temperatures. Airflow and air speed LFM specifications for paint booths are required by OSHA, NFPA, and the department of environmental protection. They can be met by using recirculation in cure mode while still saving the facility energy.

Rail car paint booth airflow design

Standalone control panels for train paint booths can provide heating, cooling, re-circulation, and humidity control in one convenient location for the paint booth operator. Train paint booth control panels that include BMS (Building Management System) integration capability allow several paint booths or train coating application systems to be on one local network. This network can be controlled by the larger building management system employed throughout the train or locomotive maintenance facility.

These building management systems can control several aspects of the facility, including the paint booth or train painting area, HVAC systems, pump systems, fire alarm, security alarms, critical facility infrastructure, and emergency announcement systems. A train paint booth that can be its own BMS or integrated into an existing system is vital to some of the world’s most advanced train painting, maintenance, and corrosion control facilities.


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