In the last 100 years of collision repair, a lot has evolved. We’ve progressed from tram gauges to computerized measuring systems, from brazing to spot welding, and from lacquer to waterborne. In fact, nearly every element of the collision repair process has changed. But, there is one aspect that has not– and that is how we dry paint.
Finally, even that has changed too.
Maybe you’ve heard the buzz around gas catalytic drying. Perhaps you’ve read some articles in the trades, or you have even seen one of these units at NACE or SEMA. What was once only a European technology, gas catalytic drying has steadily grown in popularity here in the states. As shop owners seek new ways to stay competitive in an increasingly difficult market, reduced cycle times and increased throughput are the first thing shop owners look to. And one of the easiest ways to reduce these is to reduce paint and material cure times. This is where gas catalytic drying really shines.
Gas catalytic drying is the future of paint booth bake cycles. However, it’s understandable to be skeptical of “revolutionary ideas” whenever you hear them. You may have doubts about whether it actually works, or whether it’s too expensive. It makes sense as an auto body shop owner to be cautious.
Gas catalytic drying can turn your six car a day paint booth into an eight, ten, or even more car paint booth. It’s already widely used across Europe, so, how does gas catalytic drying stack up to more conventional bake cycles used in the U.S.?
How Is Gas Catalytic Different From Traditional Bake Cycles?
Electric infrared, convection, and gas catalytic drying were all made to dry and cure paint during paint booth bake cycles. However, while they do the same thing, the biggest differences are in how they do it and how long it takes.
When it comes to Electric Infrared Drying, it basically produces heat through a bunch of tungsten bulbs. Because it relies on electricity and bulbs alone, the heat passes through the entire vehicle– baking both the interior metal and exterior paint. So, while it works well enough, having all that heat energy spread out can make the process take anywhere between 65 – 90 minutes.
As for Convection Drying, there’s two different types. One specifically uses air to transport the heat, while the other uses liquid to transport it. However, despite the two different types, convection drying essentially relies on a furnace to heat up air or liquid into a gas. Once heated up, it’s transferred through an exhaust system and blown out through a fan. Unfortunately, though, the process can take anywhere between 70 – 100 minutes.
In comparison to the two, Gas Catalytic Drying uses methane gas. It heats and cures the paint, but it doesn’t pass through into the car’s metal or plastic panels underneath. Because the energy doesn’t split between the paint and inner metal, the paint cures faster with fewer flaws. To top it off, the process only takes 16 to 30 minutes total. So, gas catalytic drying is not only the fastest, but it produces a flatter finish with fewer flaws.
At the end of the day, gas catalytic drying is much more efficient– making it the superior choice of the three. With gas catalytic drying, you have less risk of downtime than with a gas fired conventional paint booth. This is especially true in areas where rain is prevalent, which can often bring down a convection paint booth’s burners.
GasCat Dryers provide you the best, fastest, and most efficient drying solutions out on the market. We believe that time is money. And with this advanced drying system, your business will reliably process more vehicles each and every day.
Let us help you save time and streamline your paint booth drying processes. Contact us today!