3 Steps to Reduce Your VOCs

To minimize VOCs, manufacturing companies are looking for ways to reduce paint and solvent waste with more efficient equipment and automated processes.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are the carbon-based solvents that give traditional paints their obnoxious odor. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), some VOCs are suspected carcinogens. VOCs in traditional paints account for 2-4% of existing ozone-depleting substances in the U.S. The problem is that VOCs from paint can cause serious health effects including skin and eye irritation, kidney damage, cancer, reproductive disruption, respiratory issues and impaired cognitive functions. Because of their health and environmental effects, VOCs have been and continue to be regulated. 

In order to reduce ozone levels, the U.S. EPA and numerous state agencies have issued regulations to reduce VOC emissions from a variety of sources, including industrial painting. The EPA regulations can be confusing and vary from state-to-state. With the ever changing limitations, many manufactures are trying to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint and save on VOC disposal fees. 

First, reduce the amount of paint sprayed at a target

The term transfer efficiency refers to the amount of paint that is deposited on the part compared to how much sprays past the part and is wasted.  By increasing transfer efficiency we reduce the amount of paint sprayed.  This leads to a reduction in released VOC’s as well as improves the life of your booth filters. Transfer efficiency is increased as a result of using different spray technologies. By maximizing transfer efficiency, and spraying less paint, manufactures not only save money, but it also means less maintenance, clean-up, lower filter costs and VOC emissions.

Second, control the amount of solvent used.  

Solvent can be reduced with accurate mixing and ratio assurance to ensure materials are mixed on-demand at the correct ratio for optimal performance. Precision flow control provides a consistently smooth fluid delivery. A plural component proportioner, designed to reduce waste by moving the mixing point closer to the gun, can result in up to 80% reduction in flushing waste and faster color changes. This design feature ensures that the material is mixed precisely before it is sprayed. For manufactures, this means lower VOCs expenses and less wasted paint. 

Third, consider automating your paint line

Paint booths are hazardous environments and employees who spend their days in the booth are exposing themselves to toxic fumes and explosive chemicals. Automation can reduce material consumption by up to 30%, thanks to the accuracy of robots. By automating the process, you have more control and access to how much material is used, which is going to reduce your material costs significantly. 

To reduce waste even more, manufacturing managers should look at the type of equipment used with their robot. Using plural component proportioners, that mix material close to the gun, and using automatic electrostatic guns that increase transfer efficiency, you can save material and money on VOC disposal fees. Using spray equipment that easily integrates with robot technologies will ensure that the spray parameters and spraying motion is exactly the same each time, which increases quality.

Manufacturers of all sizes are benefiting from the many advantages of automation. Automation can definitely save manufacturers money far exceeding the implementation costs. The savings are everywhere from quality and increased production to reducing waste and overhead costs. If you have ever considered automation in your plant, now is the time to say yes.


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