Q.We manufacture a line of cast and sheet metal brass parts for use in making gift and decor items. Many of these parts are brass plated on our plating line. Some of these pieces are less than one inch in diameter. To protect and preserve the brass plating, we coat these parts with a clear lacquer using a conventional air spray gun. Needless to say, we get poor coverage on the parts with a lot of overspray. Consequently we use a lot of lacquer. Because of the rising prices of coating materials, I’ve been asked by management to reduce our manufacturing costs. What is the best way to solve this problem? P.S.
A. Owing to the rapid increase in costs of coating materials and solvents as well as the need to reduce the amount of VOC emissions, more efficient application methods are not only desired, but required. Installation of modern painting equipment with higher transfer efficiency will help solve both your material usage and VOC emissions problems. I suggest you investigate the use of air electrostatic and airless electrostatic spray outfits to apply protective lacquers to brass plated parts. You can go a step farther by using a high solids lacquer to get further emissions reductions. You may also want to consider using a waterborne lacquer to protect your brass plated parts. All of these improvements can be made with a minimal changes to your present paint line. The reduction in material costs will rapidly pay for the upgrade.