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Guns vs. Bells: How to Choose an Applicator

Posted by Mike Bonner

Mar 18, 2018 4:04:00 PM

Editor’s Note: Our VP of Engineering & Technology Mike Bonner recently spoke at the 2018 Waterborne Symposium held in New Orleans, LA. His presentation went in-depth on the differences in atomization between spray guns and bell atomizers, shedding light on how paint finishers can further improve their applications. For those not in attendance, he’s also prepared his insights here for our blog as a series of posts. To view the rest of the posts in the series, visit the Guns vs. Bells blog series page.  For a video of this presentation, sign up to follow our YouTube Channel.

In this final post of our Guns vs. Bells blog series, we will briefly discuss how to choose between gun and bell applicators. The two prime considerations are what you are painting and how you are painting it.

As we related earlier in this series, guns are better suited to manual applications than are bells.  In robotic applications, however, both have their purpose.

We’ll use the automobile as an example.

The higher velocities and more directional fan pattern of a gun is considered better for “cut-in” — painting areas with deep curves like the areas around the doors, trunk, engine compartment, etc.

The consistent atomization of bells make them better suited for large areas with gentle shapes where a high-quality surface finish — often referred to as “Class A” — is extremely critical, like the hood, roof, trunk lid, doors, quarter panels, etc.

Likewise, it is common for Tier I suppliers to use guns for deep form parts like mirror housings, grills, etc. — where they need to drive the paint into areas where a lower velocity would be insufficient — but then to use bells for more gentle, aesthetically important parts like bezels, gas filler doors, bumpers, and facias.

Both applicator styles have their place and it is not uncommon to use them in combination, taking advantage of the strength of each. What is equally important to understand is that neither style can overcome the problems created when the coating being delivered to them is out of control.  Maintaining stable paint temperature at the point of application is critical to assuring stable viscosity so as to achieve consistent results in paint finishing applications.  And yet, the first two phone calls paint finishers usually make when they are having problems is to their paint and applicator suppliers.

The bottom line…

Modern, high-quality paint finishers understand the importance of having a comprehensive temperature control solution as part of their application system to enable them to maintain consistent and repeatable finish quality.

If you’d like more information on adding a point-of-application temperature control system to get the most out of your paint finishing operation, contact us directly or book a meeting to discuss your application.

Get your free copy of our Viscosity Control Buyer's Guide to learn more about the tools and techniques you can use to control viscosity in your paint process.

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Topics: Viscosity, paint and coating, Guns vs Bells Series

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