Love your column and sense of humor! I wanted to pass along a tip that may help others when struggling with fish eyes (craters) on painted parts. Our company is a large manufacturer of wooden cabinetry and employs around 1,700 people. With this many employees, it is very difficult to control the use of silicone-containing personal care items (anti-perspirants, hand creams, etc.), but we make it a priority. Our policy is to send an employee home for a shower if found to be “contaminated."
A discovery was recently made that we think has contributed to a background level of fish eyes for a long time. A technician on one of our finish lines noticed that fish eyes seemed to be coming from the use of a brand-new air blow gun used to blow off parts prior to topcoating. Discussions with our distributor and subsequently the manufacturer showed that these popular metal blow guns have a seal that is pre-lubricated with silicone!
Our distributor was able to supply us with a new type of blow gun, made in Switzerland and apparently very prevalent in Europe just for this fish eye avoidance reason. Side benefits of this OSHA-approved, plastic blow gun are that it is one-half the weight of the metal ones, operates at a much lower noise level and does not mar the surface of our parts if accidentally lightly brushed against them. Also, the cost is very competitive. L. W.
Fish eyes found! I didn’t know they were lost. I’ll bet there was a time when you wished they were. Seriously, this is the kind of problem that will drive factory people up a wall. Thank you for your comments. I will share them with the readers of Painting Clinic in the hope that it will help others solve similar problems.