My company produces electrical equipment cabinets, which are assembled by bolting together wall panels, roof panels and doors. The wall panels, roof panels and doors are painted separately. We have been using a two-coat finish system, consisting of an air drying primer and topcoat. On indoor cabinets we have been using a three-coat finish system, consisting of an air drying primer, intermediate coat and topcoat. With rising costs for paints and solvents as well as the rising costs of labor, our painting costs have increased greatly. How can we decrease painting costs and maintain our high-paint quality? R. C.
Welcome to the 21st Century, R. C. Although you didn’t say so, you are probably still using the same paints. Just kidding, I know your paint company would not let you get away with that. The newer paints and painting methods provide coatings that can be applied at lower film thicknesses by spraying electrocoating and powder coating. They provide equal or better performance characteristics at these lower film thicknesses.
To reduce costs, I suggest you consider applying a one-coat baked enamel to all wall panels, roof panels and doors for indoor equipment cabinets to replace your present two coat finish system. The one-coat enamel can be applied by electrostatic spraying or electrocoating. Parts can be painted on a conveyorized finishing line, warehoused and then pulled from stock as needed.
The same one-coat baked enamel applied to indoor equipment can serve as a primer for a weather resistant topcoat on wall panels, roof panels and doors for outdoor equipment cabinets. The topcoat can be applied on a conveyorized paint line to components or to completed equipment cabinets after assembly. Topcoats based on acrylic, polyester and polyurethane resin technologies having excellent weather resistance are suitable. Use of the aforementioned finishing systems will not only reduce material and labor costs, they will provide improved finishes as well.