GT Motors (GTM) is a small panel beating and spray painting workshop established in 1964, with a current of workforce of four. GTM currently repairs and refinishes approximately 30 cars a month from a largely private and growing customer base.
Like many environmentally responsible operators, the firm reuses and recycles as much of the wastes generated in their workshop as possible, and is generally receptive to ideas on how to improve its environmental and business performances.
GTM has over the years implemented a number of environmentally friendly and cost effective projects, including the following which are the subjects of this case study:
The Installation And Upgrading Of Its Spray Booth / Baking Ovent
Originally constructed as a dry filter semi-downdraught booth, the plant has recently been upgraded to a fully downdraught booth with improved air-flow, heating and water-scrubbing facilities.
The Use Of High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) Spray Guns
Conventional spray painting equipment is characterized by the high wastage of paint and solvents in the spraying process. A conventional air-atomised spray gun would typically transfer 30-48% of the paint to the workpiece with the balance wasted as overspray.
With the HVLP guns, overspray is reduced and an improved transfer efficiency of 60-70% is achievable. The major problem encountered by companies changing over to the use of the HVLP spray guns appears to be painters’ resistance to learning a new technique, which may take a few weeks or months to master.
But like many others who persevered, GTM is now completely happy with the performance and finish achieved with its HVLP guns.
The Installation Of Skylight Roofing
Skylight roofing was installed to take advantage of natural lighting, in line with GTM’s policy to cut costs and conserve the use of electricity, thereby helping to reduce the generation of greenhouse gases from our power stations.
Project Motivation and Outcome
All the projects undertaken were motivated by both business needs and GTM’s concern for its workers’ health and the environment.
Implementation of the projects has resulted in the following outcomes:
Spray Booth / Baking Oven
- Reduced exhaust emission of volatile organic compounds and paint particulates to the surrounding environment;
- The ability to undertake refinishing jobs requiring a 2-pack finish (approximately 80% of their current jobs) which GTM had to forgo before the project; and
- In conjunction with the use of other protective equipment, improved workers’ health, safety and morale.
High Volume Low Pressure Spray Guns
- Substantial savings (25-35% depending on the job) in the consumption and cost of paint and thinners. This translates to an annual cost saving of between $7,500 to $10,500 for a company incurring $30,000 in paint and thinners costs;
- Cleaner and safer work environment for the operators;
- Reduced spray booth maintenance and clean-up time;
- Reduced air filter mats cost; and
- Increased productivity.
- Seventeen of the 19 fluorescent lamps installed in the workshop being switched off during the working hours between 8.00 am and 5.30 pm except for rainy or cloudy days, resulting in an annual saving of 1,678 kWh or $204.72; and
- In conjunction with thousands of other consumers, help to minimise the generation of greenhouse gases from our power stations.
GTM has in train the following projects:
- The renovation of its wash area, to drain wash-down and wet sanding waters to the sewer via a triple interceptor silt trap; and
- The use of compressed air tools, connected to a dust extraction system, for its dry sanding and polishing operation.
- The completion of the above program would place GTM in a good position to qualify for a concessional green licence under the proposed incentive licensing scheme to be introduced by the Brisbane City Council.