A Competitive Edge

Sept. 29, 2017

Infrared technology offers shops a number of different benefits, including an advantage when it comes to working with waterborne paint.

Most shops have created a schedule for how many cycles they’d like to get through the paint booth each day and tried to perfect the shop’s workflow around that ideal number. On a perfect day that schedule works well. However, many days are not perfect. There are a number of issues that pop up on a daily basis that can slow down production and impact the amount of work going through the paint booth — especially when working with waterborne paint, which takes longer to dry. REVO Accelerated Curing Systems by Global Finishing Solutions® (GFS) eliminate almost all of the factors that can cause delays in a paint booth and can get your shop back on schedule.

A Step Above the Rest: Short-Wave Electric Infrared Technology

An alternative to traditional paint booth bake cycles and gas catalytic systems, GFS’ REVO Systems use electric IR technology. Heat is generated by sending an electrical current to a tungsten filament, resulting in mostly short-wave energy. The benefit of short wave energy is that it is able to penetrate multiple layers of fillers and coatings to heat the substrate beneath and cure from the inside out. In addition to short wave, electric IR also produces medium and long wave IR to cure the outer layers at the same time. The combination of all three wavelengths allows for a faster, more complete cure.

Gas-fired systems, on the other hand, only produce medium and long wave IR, drying from the outside. This can leave the inside uncured, resulting in quality issues such as solvent popping, shrinking and edge mapping.

Increased Speed and Quality

IR technology works much quicker than other systems — an important benefit for a collision repair shop where the use of billable time is crucial. For example, a 2k primer may take between two to four hours to air dry. On average, GFS’ REVO Systems can fully cure primer in just six to eight minutes, and it can be sanded immediately. Many systems, such as gas catalytic, boast a cure time of three minutes. However, that time is measured per pass and multiple passes are often required to dry each layer individually. The REVO System offers a complete cure in just one pass. With a consistent cycle time, REVO makes it easier for shops to schedule booth time.

By curing from the inside out, many issues that other systems face, like die-backs, solvent pop or shrinkage, are avoided with REVO. If rework needs to be done, Jason Garfoot, an auto refinish technical adviser/trainer at GFS, points out that it takes only a few minutes with REVO, as opposed to other systems that might push your shop back an hour or longer.

“Electric IR is more predictable than any other type of accelerated curing,” says Garfoot.

The Waterborne Challenge and Advantage

    Waterborne paint is better for the environment, offers a cleaner, brighter hue, and matches factory paint jobs better. However, increased dry time and the fact that dry time is heavily influenced by environmental conditions present obstacles for body shop owners.

    In a humid area, Garfoot explains that waterborne paint may look dry, but moisture could be trapped inside. In extremely humid conditions, waterborne basecoat can take three to four times longer to dry. REVO Systems eliminate these issues. No matter where you are or what the temperature or humidity level is, REVO Systems will dry basecoat at the exact same rate.

    “When using water-based paint, it needs to be completely dry before top coating or there could be issues down the road, such as delamination,” Garfoot says. “REVO Systems get the water out quickly and completely every single time so painters can be confident it’s ready for a clearcoat.”

Since water-based paints tend to stay — in Garfoot’s words —“gummy,” rework can set a shop back. If there is contamination or defects in the basecoat, it may take an hour or more for the part to dry before it can be sanded and resprayed. With REVO Systems, it only takes about a minute to dry and you can immediately sand and respray. This saves shops about an hour of costly rework time.

    REVO Systems can also save time when spraying two-tone jobs with waterborne paint. In order to ensure the first color is fully dry, painters typically let it dry for an hour or more before they mask and apply the second color. With REVO Systems, you can cure the first color in only a couple of minutes, and start masking and applying the second color right away. Since it’s fully cured, you don’t have to worry about quality issues like tape tracking.

    In addition to time savings, energy savings is an important benefit of using REVO with waterborne paint. In wet-on-wet basecoat applications in humid areas, it can take well over a half-hour for waterborne basecoat to fully dry. During this time, the booth is running in spray mode with the burner on to dry the moisture in the air. This uses a lot of gas as the booth is constantly pulling in and heating fresh outside air. REVO cures basecoat at a rate of 3 feet per minute. Broken down, that means REVO can cure basecoat on a three-panel repair in just three minutes and only uses about 2 to 3 KW of power, costing less than a dollar in energy.

By offering a faster, more complete and predictable cure, REVO Systems from GFS can eliminate a number of issues that slow the drying and rework process for waterborne paint and many other finishes.

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