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The Evolution of Spray Booths

Spraying technology first came about in the late 1800s when maintenance supervisor, Joseph Binks, invented a cold-water paint spraying machine to apply whitewash. At around the same time Dr Allen DeVilbiss, a Civil War veteran, invented the atomizer for use in the health industry. He first came up with the idea with the purpose of spraying medication to the back of patients’ throats. The atomizer quickly started to spread outside of the medical sector and into the manufacturing industry.

It was around this time that Henry Ford introduced the Model T and mass production came into its own. Manufacturers recognised that the atomizer could be used to apply paints and coatings to increase production rates. With spray guns in use on the Model T assembly lines, finishing times dropped to just eight days. As new technologies, including quick-drying paints like nitrocellulose lacquer, began to emerge the process became even quicker dropping to around three days.

Of course, the development of spray guns generated a demand for controlled spraying environments to protect workers from hazardous fumes and make the spraying process more efficient. Early spraying facilities used exhaust canopies to remove residual spray and harmful chemicals from the air but DeVilbiss is believed to be one of the earliest manufacturers of spray booths as we know them today. They were quickly followed by Star Brass Works (Binks Spray Booths) and by the early 1900s a number of other spray booth and spray paint manufacturers had entered the market.

With the industry expanding, a number of complimentary products came into being including overspray collection systems, which in turn led to the development of modern techniques such as water wash and downdraft airflow. Spraying technology has continued to develop and a vast array of equipment is now available for various manufacturing applications using a wide range of specialised techniques.

Because the manufacturing industry is now so diverse, spray equipment manufacturers and facilities suppliers are required to provide bespoke solutions in order to meet customer requirements. For example, Airblast Eurospray’s recent projects include the re-engineering of a wind turbine tower spray booth which is able to operate at twice the normal temperature of normal turbine spraying facilities. They have also recently completed a large-scale spraying and baking facility designed to accommodate aircraft up to Boeing 747 size for Marshall Aerospace which, through the inclusion of thermal oxidisation, omits only 3% of its VOCs into the atmosphere.

Bespoke facilities like these continue to push the boundaries of what spraying technology can achieve and we expect to see the industry continue to progress as more and more specialised technologies emerge in the future.

For more information about Airblast Eurospray’s spray booths and spraying equipment please call 01778 560070 or visit our contact page.