What is Static?

Static is the invisible enemy of the perfect paint finish. You may be surprised to learn how many everyday, profit-draining problems static causes.


Why Is It a Problem?

Most people appreciate that static charge is a major cause of paint fill contamination. Dirt and dust are attracted by static, however, several other problems can also be caused by static, including non-consistent laydown of metallics, blending/color matching problems, uneven application of material, dark edges and patchiness.

Even the best painters in the cleanest booths can’t escape the problems that static can cause. Static rarely causes problems that cannot be fixed, although the problems must be overcome using extra time and materials, which decreases productivity.


Where Does Static Come From?

Many everyday processes within a body shop can cause static buildup, including sanding, panel wiping, tacking, blowing off, masking and even the application of materials. The final preparation process of tacking is one of the highest generators of static electricity. All these procedures incorporate some type of contact and separation with the panel, whether it is physical contact or air contact.


How Can You Remove Static?

The only way to remove static effectively throughout the painting process is to use ionized air. As the static forms in a positive and negative charge, it’s important to use a tool that can produce positive and negative ions to neutralize the charge. Positive will neutralize the negative, whereas negative will neutralize the positive.


Eliminating the Problems of Static

Here are the three biggest issues that static causes:

1. Dust & Dirt Inclusions: The smallest particles of dirt and dust within a paint job can incur costly rework, through additional labor and paint cost.

Panels that are statically charged from an electromagnetic field attract any airborne particles from the surrounding area. A contaminated paint job requires time-consuming nibbing and polishing.

Once the static is neutralized, dirt and dust in the atmosphere is no longer attracted to the panel and simply flows out through the booth’s exhaust filter.


2. Uneven Paint Coverage: Differences in positive and negative static charge on a surface prevent the paint film from applying evenly, no matter how good the application technique.

Painters use their skill to overcome the problems of uneven paint application, however, this often results in overloading the surface, which can incur further problems, such as runs and sinkage.

A grill is a perfect example of how static does not allow perfect paint flow and often prevents coverage in all corners of the grill. Removing the static prior to painting will allow the paint to flow evenly across all areas.


3. Metallic Laydown: Metallic particles in paint react to static charge in the same way as iron fillings behave when a magnet is placed underneath.

The higher the charge, the more upright the metallic will be forced to sit, which distorts the levels of light reflected from those particles. This can result in dark edges, patchiness and halos; any area that shows an inconsistency between light and dark can be caused by metallics being distorted by static. It is imperative that all substrates on a vehicle have zero static charge before painting to bring uniformity to every job.


Stat Guns

By using a Stat Gun on every job, between every substrate, you can reduce dirt and dust; eliminate dark edges, blending issues, color matching issues and material transfer; and improve metallic laydown – all while increasing throughput and increasing profitability by reducing turnaround times and rework.

Visit www.stat-gun.com for more information.