How it Works: Herkules CoAgent Coagulant
STATS: Roger Byrd's Body Shop Location: Tupelo, Miss. Website: herkules.us Cost: $148 for 4.4-pound container Uses: Filters waterborne paint from cleaning solution Training Required: Written instructions on product
Roger Byrd started painting cars when he was 14 years old. His father worked in a car dealership, so Byrd spent time on the shop floor while he was working. Byrd opened his shop, Byrd’s Body Shop, in 1989.
Roger Byrd’s Body Shop in Tupelo Miss., is a 12,000-square-foot facility that has a staff of four, including Byrd’s wife, who works in the office.
Awhile back, Byrd made the decision to take on waterborne paint. In order to do this, he needed to make some adjustments to his processes and buy new equipment.
“The paint company that I was working with was trying to push $1,200 fans on me to dry the waterborne paint,” Byrd says.
Instead of going that route, which would have made his air compressor run more, Byrd decided to think more efficiently and purchase equipment that wouldn’t cost as much to use in the long run. Instead of air-powered fans, he purchased electric and battery-powered ones.
He also purchased a paint gun washer (he currently has three: two waterborne and one solvent) from Herkules specifically designed to clean all waterborne paint equipment. Along with the gun washer came a sample of the company’s CoAgent, a coagulant that separates used paint from cleaning water.
How It Works:
When multiple paint gun washings are completed, the water or the cleaning solution that is used gets dirty. Between washings, CoAgent coagulant is added to the water or cleaning solution, and stirred through the water for 1–2 minutes, creating a film on the surface of the water. After the film of paint has dried, it will create a solid that can safely be disposed. The water can then be poured through a filter, which will separate all of the water that can now be reused for cleaning.
Guns are washed after each use, which for Byrd’s shop could be up to 10 times per day, so having an efficient system that cuts back on water usage is a bonus.
“It’s a wonderful addition to the gun washer,” Byrd says.
Byrd says that it’s been a great way to get rid of contamination in the cleaning process.
The one thing that he wishes, which he has brought up to Herkules, is that during draining, the film dries to the side of the bucket filters and clogs them up, so the filters only last 4–5 times. When he brought this up to the company, Byrd says they bought him a fish tank cleaner for him to use to skim the film out.
Byrd says that the biggest return on investment comes from being able to reuse the distilled water that is used for cleaning paint guns.
“It’s $18 per gallon,” Byrd says. “If I didn’t have the CoAgent, that gallon would last me 10–15 days and I’d have to buy more.”
Using the CoAgent, Byrd estimates that each time he uses it, 75 percent of the water used to clean is recyclable, which means that one gallon of distilled water can last him up to three months.
Byrd adds that the CoAgent lasts for a long time—he’s used the same tub for 13 months.