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Thread: UL Paint Booths

  1. #1
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    UL Paint Booths

    I am confused aout terms relating to UL. Our building officials have asked to have a paint booth UL listed.
    This is an exerpt from the New Mexico Electrical Code
    "Section 110.2 Approval. See this section of the NEC and add the following: such approval shall
    be based on listing and labeling by a nationally recognized testing laboratory listed by the federal occupational safety and health administration. Electrical wiring, equipment or material that is not listed and labeled, but for which a (UL) safety standard exists may be approved upon certification by a nationally recognized testing laboratory that has been approved by the electrical bureau. Electrical wiring, equipment or material for which a (UL) safety standard does not exist may be approved upon certification by an electrical engineer licensed to practice in NewMexico. Such a certification will not be valid unless based on a verification of the manufacturer’s safety and
    performance test data for the product."
    I find UL categories, but no UL standard for paint booths. Manufacturers indicate that their booths are manufactured with UL components, but none say the are UL listed.

    What type of "listing" should be on a paint booth purchased from a manufacturer?

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    Jim T

  2. #2
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    I've complained about 'bad law' in the past, and the exerpt you cite is a great example of bad law.

    First off, no government body has any business endorsing a private firm- and UL is a private firm. By referencing UL's standard, they've opened the door to violating UL's copyrights as well.

    UL 'lists', for the most part, only completed assemblies. (Yes, there are exceptions, and those exceptions are what led to the creation of the 'recognized component' program). Assembling something entirely of UL-listed pieces is no guarantee of a final product that meets any UL standard, or is safe.

    The reference to an electrical engineer is also bad law. Most paint booths I've seen have NO electrical in them whatever, and other means are used to ensure safety. Indeed, paint booth design seems to prefer to completely avoid NEC issues by placing anything electric outside the 'zone.'

    We often hear of UL's 'field engineers' evaluating products. What is generally unknown is that another of the major functions of these personnel is to prevent this very sort of rule from ever being adopted.

  3. #3
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    was googling and can't find a ul listed paint booth. they all say

    Generally speaking, auto spray paint booths (and other similar paint enclosuresd) are shipped unassembled, and by definition can not be UL listed. All electrical components of our booths are UL listed individually
    Try here: http://www.aframe-paint-booth.com/FAQ.html

    and you will find a link to a letter of compliance.pdf
    Why is it, when it comes to the NEC, the obvious is never simple and the simple is never obvious?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by renosteinke View Post
    I've complained about 'bad law'
    To be truthful, there has never been a law or code you don't seem to have a problem with.

  5. #5
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    Listed booths are available. UL? Maybe not, but other testing labs such as Intertek does.

    A good spray booth designer/installer will take pains to exclude electrical wiring and devices from the classified areas whenever possible to save money, time, aggravation, and money.

    Look at NFPA 33, Standard for Spray Allication Using Flammable or Combustible Materials, 2011 Edition, for more information on spray booth classified areas. NFPA 33 recently adopted changes that are allegedly recognized in the 2011 NEC, but the NEC made some errors.

  6. #6
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    Billsnuff

    I read that letter, and believe that one can be obtained from our manufacturer. What concerns me is wording in the UL White Book, page 287 which mentions "the Listing Mark of Underwriters Laboratories..." there are no listing marks on these booths that we have found.

    Jim

  7. #7
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    there are no listing marks on these booths that we have found.
    That is because there are shipped unassembled, IMHO.
    Why is it, when it comes to the NEC, the obvious is never simple and the simple is never obvious?

  8. #8
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    The vast majority of installed paint booths are not listed, by UL or anybody else.
    It is also common that paint booths are moved or altered in many ways over time. A paint booth is basically a couple of sheet metal panels and an exhaust fan. They are designed/built to meet specific requirements including the specific objects to be painted (railroad cars are a bit different from eyeglass frames) and available space.

    Automotive assembly plants and other high tech production facilities have very sophisticated paint booths and associated equipment, but the overwhelming majority of paint booths in industrial establishments are pretty basic devices. Auto refinishing has minimal operational requirements, but often creative DIY installers. Nevertheless, listed booths are available.

    Requirements for "UL listing" are woefully outdated, especially for industrial equipment. Factory Mutual Engineering was the predominant approval agency for finishing equipment for many years, and currently there are additional recognized approval agencies, such as Intertek.

    I'm not an inspector, but even OSHA, where most regulations still remain as derived from standards in effect in 1970, recognizes compliance with newer standards, if only grudgingly. I have been involved with many paint booth installations and compliance with NFPA 33 is almost universally satisfactory to the AHJ.

    Unfortunately, some inspectors are not familiar with finishing operations and either avoid them or make unreasonable demands trying to be extra cautious. In almost all cases, demonstrating compliance with NFPA 33 solves the issues. YMMV.

  9. #9
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    "To be truthful, there has never been a law or code you don't seem to have a problem with." There might be some truth in that, but keep in mind that it is the nature of this forum to highlight the differences. Folks rarely post questions about matters with which they are content.

    "Factory Mutual Engineering was the predominant approval agency" Glad you brought that up. FM is organized a bit differently than UL, and as such is not often though of as an NRTL. Yet, if you carry insurance through one of their member companies, their staff will review things like this spray booth, and prescribe whatever changes they see as necessary. FM doesn't 'list the product' as much as it 'certifies the installation.'

    " A paint booth is basically a couple of sheet metal panels and an exhaust fan." Oddly enough, most paint facilities I've seen do not have a fan at all. "Water wall" booths are popular for in-plant booths, while others simply have a conveyor pass the parts through a tunnel where they are painted, and the natural ambient air flow is all that there is. Such a variety in design makes it difficult to create a 'standard.'

    "no listing marks." I can't help but observe that there are all manner of things upon which we depend that have never been 'listed' by anyone. The family car, for example. Your home is another one. Anyhthing that says NASA. Sort of makes me wonder how we made it this far without a litter of functionaries dictating every detail of our every action.

    For a society based upon the premise that laws exist to regulate government rather than people, we sure seem to delight in writing regulations. Try to remember why 1776 was called the 'revolutionary' war.

  10. #10
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    FM Engineering does certify and list spray finishing equipment.

    FM Insurance has its own high standards for its insured, which are "highly protected" risks by definition. Each insurance company has its own underwriting criteria. Not all property insurers require their customers to be "highly protected", which is a good thing since many are not.

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