Are Inflatable Paint Booths Legal? (Must Read Before Buying)

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In general inflatable paint booths are legal. However, there are several safety codes that one must follow. Therefore, legal issues on inflatable paint booths only arise when the set regulations are not adhered to.

Inflatable paint booths are the latest technology for spray painting fanatics. They are portable, easy to carry, and have air blowers through where they get inflated. They come in different sizes, and, thus, different sizes of the mobile booths require specific powered blowers.

It is an ultra-modern way of utilizing limited space temporarily. Thus, it increases flexibility on available space, and it is expertly designed to endure all weather conditions and maximize the safety of the user. However, the material and design parameter of the inflatable paint booth must align with the NFPA 701 test to eliminate any legal issues.

What are the Minimum Requirements for Paint Booth?

The primary priority when dealing with paint booths is to ensure that you meet the minimum requirement set by the NFPA. Furthermore, be up-to-date with the current codes and regulations as they are constantly reviewed.

There are several ways that a manufacturer can ensure that the inflatable paint booth is up to code. Furthermore, the same guidelines are also applicable in maintaining the paint booth after it is built.

General Guidelines

There are several safety codes that the NFPA provides to regulate and monitor designs of spray booths. The guidelines mainly revolve around the design and installation of the inflatable spray booths. Therefore, any violation of one or multiple codes can result in lawsuits.

What are the NFPA codes?

Although there are several chapters on the NFPA codes, several chapters specifically look into inflatable paint booths.

Chapter 5 of NFPA 33 provides guidelines on the design, construction, and location of spray areas, spray booths, and rooms. Under this chapter, it is required that an inflatable paint booth conforms to the following guidelines.

  • The material used to design and construct the walls, doors, and ceilings that intersect the spray region be made from non-combustible materials.
  • The interior surface of the spray booth must be smooth.
  • There must be a separation between the inflatable paint booth and other regions of operation of at least 915mm.
  • The chapter also provides guidelines on the requirements of conveyor openings and paint booths using nitrocellulose.
  • General filter requirements.

Chapter 6 of the NFPA 33 provides guidelines on the requirements and restrictions for electrical wiring and spark-generating materials permitted in a spray booth area. It provides designers with a description of electrical area classification and shows where electrical equipment can or cannot be placed.

  • There should be no presence of open flames, spark-generating equipment, or processes in the spray area, especially those that surpass the auto-ignition temperature, for regions classified as Division 2, Zone 2, or Zone 22.
  • All electrically conductive objects in the spray area must be grounded.
  • Any apparatus or equipment that has the capacity of generating sparks and is located in regions classified as Division 2, Zone 2, or Zone 22 must be totally enclosed to prevent any sparks escape.

Chapter 7 of the NFPA 33 provides guidelines on ventilation focusing on powder coating systems, make-up air, and recirculated air. Under this chapter, the concentration of vapors in the exhaust airstream should be less than 25% of the lower explosive limit. Furthermore, air exhausted from the spray area should not be recirculated unless certain thresholds are met.

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There must be standard particulate filters for any recirculation, and monitoring equipment is put in place to analyze vapor concentration.

Chapter 8 looks into the handling, storage, and distribution of combustible and flammable liquids. It states that the mixing room must conform to the construction guidelines of chapter 5. Furthermore, the mixing room should be less than 14 m. ETC.

 Chapter 13 of the NFPA 33 code on spray booths is about heating systems used to dry and cure paints. The chapter states that when the booth is used for drying at a temperature that is not more than ambient conditions, the concentration of any vapor in the exhaust stream should be less than 25 percent of the lower explosive limits.

Secondly, if the temperature in the spray booth is increased to accelerate drying, they must meet the requirements of the NFPA 86 and those specified under 13.3.1.1 up to 13.3.1.8.

Chapter 15 looks into the requirements for powder coating applications. It outlines the general safety and protection protocols and processes. It also states that the inflatable paint booth is fitted with a portable fire extinguisher.

Lastly, it recommends that there be protection measures against explosion and dust. It offers recommendations on emergency shutdown, ventilation systems, and automation sprinkler systems.

Final Thoughts

Generally, inflatable paint booths are legal. However, if the above code and guidelines by NFPA are not fully adhered to, it results in legal issues. In that case, the legality of inflatable paint booths is based on the manufacturer and user compliance to the laid-out guidelines.