Posted 30 Sep 2022

Dry separation or wet separation? A comparison in terms of efficiency and energy savings

Faced with skyrocketing energy prices, all companies are addressing the problem of reducing costs by increasing efficiency and saving energy in their production processes. Body shops and paint shops are no exception, considering that in car repair, painting is the most energy-intensive part.

Painting usually takes place inside a special booth and requires a high level of air filtration, both to ensure a healthy working environment for the operators and to avoid the dispersion of contaminants into the environment, and last but not least, to avoid contamination of the painted surfaces.

One of the steps of air filtration is overspray separation, i.e. that part of the sprayed paint that does not settle on the substrate to be painted. Wet overspray separation was the traditional method, and considering the life cycle of a spray booth, there are plants from 25 or 30 years ago that still use it. In the last decade, however, the dry overspray separation system has become the norm, and all operators who wish to contain energy consumption and improve plant efficiency are moving towards it, to reduce energy costs.

Dry separation and wet separation: the differences

Wet separation systems exploit the so-called wettability of particulate matter, preventing it from spreading into the workspace and outside. This is done through a water film fed by nebulizers and filters that separate water vapor from the air.

Conversely, booths with dry filtration systems have suction walls that, thanks to fans, force air through one or more layers of filtration, capturing smaller and smaller particles until the purified air is reintroduced.

The undeniable advantage of the water separation system is its consistency over time, whereas dry filtration systems present the problem of filter capacity decay due to clogging. One would think that in terms of efficiency, wet systems would still perform better. However, this is not the case.

I sistemi di separazione a secco utilizzati dai nostri Open Booth

Dry vs. wet: A comparison in terms of efficiency and energy savings

Dry filtration has now become the most popular option in many industries due to its flexibility, lower purchase and installation costs, ease of use and maintenance (no need for anti-foaming agents), and, last but not least, higher energy efficiency.

Modern dry filtration systems, such as the one in our Open Booth, can recycle up to 80 percent of the filtered air, reducing the energy needs for air conditioning and enabling a reduction in energy consumption of up to 60 percent compared to traditional wet filtration systems.

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