A primer on stocking spray guns

Oct. 4, 2017
With paint products changing rapidly in the shop, there is a necessity to stock a variety of spray guns and accessories.

Paint trends and products change rapidly in a shop. Anything from climate changes, including temperature and humidity, to a new paint product introduced in a shop, can have technicians in need of new spray gun products and accessories, SATA'sDirector of Sales and Marketing Tony Larimer says.

"If in the middle of a busy work day a painter needs a new spray gun, the distributors need to have them in stock," Larimer says. "When a new paint product is introduced to a shop, with a different viscosity or speed, often a different gun or nozzle size is needed too."

In order to gauge and anticipate a customers' needs, it's important to know what features of a spray gun to draw attention to.

In general, paint guns should offer the following, Larimer says.

  • Atomization, or, in other words, the right amount of air meeting the right amount of paint to create the paint mist.
  • Even fan shape to help keep repairs looking "invisible" and without flaws.
  • Durability and consistency.
  • Ease of cleaning components.

Types of spray guns

There are three types of spray guns: Conventional, High-Volume Low-Pressure (HVLP) and Low-Volume Low-Pressure (LVLP), which is sometimes referred to as Reduce Pressure (RP).

Conventional – Ideal for adhesives at high working speeds. This type of gun has a lot of overspray, meaning there can be a higher percentage of waste.

HVLP – This is the most commonly used spray gun, often used for filler primers or primer surfaces. This type of spray gun is ideal for metallic/pearl paints, and waterborne paints. With an HVLP spray gun, painters need to be close to the vehicle when spraying as opposed to a standard spray gun.

LVLP or RP – Can be used for applying both clearcoats or basecoats, sealers and epoxies, ideally on plastic (urethane). This type of gun, is designed for transfer efficiency while using less compressed air.

The pressure range for coverage depends on the type of spray gun, application and type of paint. The air cap of the spray gun uses also determines the direction or pattern of the spray. The size of the tip of the spray gun affects the thickness of the paint coat. Different applications, such as use as a primer, paint, or clearcoat, require different tips.

Some spray guns offer interchangeable tips for use with multiple applications.

Trends toward digital

Painters may opt to use a regulator on their spray gun, which allows the user to adjust the spray pattern, fluid control and compressed air pressure when using the spray gun. Many spray guns can be purchased with a digital display, which read air pressure within the gun, without using a regulator.

Companies, like SATA, offer these digital versions of their products, as well as adapters to allow for this functionality on existing equipment.

SATA, for example, offers the adam 2, an additional digital air micrometer with a docking system that fits into the air micrometer of a spray gun. This allows painters to have only one digital gauge with docking stations that replace the standard air micrometer knob at the rear of every SATA spray gun.

Displaying and demonstrating

Demoing a tool is perhaps the biggest factor in whether a distributor makes a sale or not. In order to help distributor demonstrate spray guns, SATA, for example, offers a Distributor Demo Equipment Program.

"We offer to a distributor a selection of SATA guns, from topcoat to primer, at a huge discount," Larimer says of the program. "They are allowed to get five guns in our premium range. We track who purchased these. We ask them to use these as demo guns for a year or so, then sell them at 50 percent off list to a painter, and get a replacement at 50 percent off from us (SATA)."

Another option is to provide video demonstrations on TV monitors mounted in the truck. These can be found on YouTube, company websites, or on VehicleServicePros.com.

Questions to ask customers

In order to recommend the right spray gun, nozzle size and accessories for a customer, it's important to first know what application and environment they will be using it in.

The following general questions can help the customer find the right product for the job:

  • What paint supplier and product brand are your using?
  • Do you spray waterborne or solvent paint?
  • Do you want this spray gun for basecoat or clearcoat?
  • Do you like paint close and fast, or further away and slower?
  • Is the painting location hot and dry, or cool and wet?
About the Author

Vesna Brajkovic | Associate Editor - Vehicle Repair Group

Vesna Brajkovic is a former associate editor for the Vehicle Repair Group.

Brajkovic has covered the transportation industry for a number of trade publications, with a focus on the vehicle maintenance and automotive aftermarket industries since 2016. Prior to that, she covered the global aviation industry as assistant editor for Endeavor Business Media's AviationPros.com, and held a number of editorial positions at an award-winning community newspaper.

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