HVLP For Automotive Refinishing



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Q. I work for a state government environmental agency tasked with developing a pollution prevention program for the automotive refinishing industry.

Regarding pollution prevention opportunities during coatings application, we know that technique and proper use of an HVLP gun can go a long way to reduce overspray and improve transfer efficiency. And, we know that some HVLP guns are better than others. Having followed your column, I know you don’t give specific product recommendations and I am not really looking for one. I would like some general information or advice that you would feel comfortable in giving.

If you were to advise a painter who has to work with high-solids, low-VOC coatings and/or water-based paints and primers on how to select an HVLP, what would you suggest he look for? What selection criteria should he use? L.G.


A. Why do they always ask me the hard questions? I’m glad you didn’t ask me to discuss the differences between or endorse either the turbo-fed or compressed air-fed HVLP spray guns. Or worse, I’m glad you didn’t ask me to discuss the differences in transfer efficiency between HVLP and airless spray guns. I learned the hard way not to do that and was lucky to escape with my life.

If I were to advise a painter, working in automotive refinishing, who has to apply high-solids, low-VOC coatings and/or waterborne primers using HVLP equipment, I would suggest the following: 1) Choose a HVLP spray gun that is lightweight and easy to manipulate. 2) Choose a gun that has some rudimentary control so that the finish applied doesn’t have a zebra or leopard appearance. 3) Choose one that meets local Air Quality Standards. 4) Finally, practice, practice, practice before refinishing your first automobile.


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