Written by Andy Potts - Ultrimax - 17/03/23
A paint job is only as good as the lighting in the booth. Spray booth lights need to replicate natural light so that you can see the true colour texture or the surface you are coating. Light that is too harsh or too dim will impair the technician’s ability to see detail. But there are many other things to consider when selecting lighting for spray booths.
This article covers recent changes to spray booth lighting regulations in the UK, plus the following top five things to factor in when choosing paint spray booth lighting:
Until recently, fluorescent light bulbs were commonly fitted in spray booths as standard. This has changed under the UK Government’s regulation: Ecodesign of Energy-Consuming Products. In an effort to tackle climate change, it is now illegal for manufacturers to fit plant and equipment with fluorescent lighting due to its high energy consumption. Just as there was a full ban on the manufacture of halogen light bulbs in September 2023, fluorescent lighting will be removed from all shop shelves in 2023.
So what spray booth lighting options remain? It’s all about LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs.
LED lighting is now the go-to for spray booths, and that’s not only due to the energy efficiency properties of this type of lighting. Spray booth LED lighting brings a range of additional benefits and customisation options, including those described below.
Compared to other forms of light, LED provides more focused light for high-precision work. This is because other light sources project light 360 degrees around the source, aiming some of the light away from the surface that you wish to illuminate. LED emits just 180 degrees around the source, providing more light where you need it.
Waiting for fluorescent light bulbs to warm up is a thing of the past. LEDs provide instantaneous light that is bright and consistent. Switch them on and crack on with your spray job.
LED lighting comes with a high CRI rating. But what does that mean? And why is it important in a spray booth?
We’ve all made those bad decorating decisions where we’ve chosen a paint colour in the DIY store only to find it looks completely different (and out of place) once on the walls! Well that’s due to CRI. The perceived colour of an object varies depending on how light is reflected by the object when it is illuminated, and different light sources have different CRI levels. In the world of spray shops, a high CRI is crucial for accurate colour matching.
We’re pretty sure we’ve made the word “dimmabilty” up, but it works! LED lights can be dimmed, giving you stronger or softer light, according to what you need for the job in hand. No more glare from light that is too harsh or eye strain due to insufficient light. LED spray booth light fittings make for more comfortable working conditions and a better paint finish.
LED paint booth lights can integrate with ‘smart lighting’ technology, allowing you to programme your booth lights to come on and off at set times to further improve energy and cost-efficiency. You can also set your lights to different hues and colours to suit the working environment.
LED light fixtures come in many shapes and sizes. Below are five key things to consider when choosing yours.
How do you choose between LED corner lights, roof lights, side lights or wall lights? The decision, in part, will depend on the installation access options. Corner lights are often the best option as they can be installed in any 90-degree corner, making them easier to fit and change than wall or ceiling fixtures. ATEX lighting can be located anywhere within the booth but it comes with a hefty price tag. We’ll talk more about ATEX lighting later.
If you’re finishing plant and machinery, you won’t have the same high-spec spray booth lighting requirements that you would need for spraying car body parts. Choose your lighting fixtures relative to your production output requirements. Corner LEDs will provide you with uniform, consistent, high-quality light that is suitable for most production needs.
If you’re faced with shadows when spraying in your booth, your lighting needs adjusting. Placement is so important. Ask your spray booth lighting supplier to advise you on the best type, strength, location and angle of lighting for your production requirements.
In most cases, IP65-rated light bulbs will meet the legal requirements for spray booth safety, (but always behind glass), but if you want or need explosion-proof LEDs, you have the option to buy ATEX lighting. Aside from being the most compliant form of booth lighting, ATEX lights are the easiest to install and change as you can put it right inside the booth where you’re spraying. However, these benefits come at a significant cost.
When it comes to cost, the biggest decision is whether to go with ATEX or IP65-rated bulbs (again remember to put your bulbs behind glass). For most businesses, this decision is easy due to the prohibitive cost of ATEX light fixtures. A standard 5ft IP65-rated LED light costs around £50, whereas an ATEX version of the same thing will set you back £400 - £500.
Have peace of mind that you are choosing compliant, high quality lighting – call our spray booth experts today.
Call: 01302 856666
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