Choosing The Correct Spray Painting System Part 4 -  High Volume low Pressure - HVLP

Choosing The Correct Spray Painting System Part 4 - High Volume low Pressure - HVLP

Posted by Matt Piggin & Nikki Michaels on 27th Jul 2019

Choosing The Correct Spray Painting System

High-Volume Low-Pressure (HVLP) Spray Painting Systems

One of the three main methods of spray painting (along with conventional and airless), high-volume, low-pressure spray guns afford a wide variety of benefits for both the individual customer and the industrial or commercial sector. More commonly known as HVLP, these systems offer three styles of spray gun — broken down in our previous article here — and are generally considered to provide the highest-quality finish available in spray painting.

In this article, we’ll give you a brief overview of HVLP, including the two different types, the overall benefits, and common uses. Let’s get started.

How does HVLP work?

As the name suggests, high-volume, low-pressure spray guns harness a higher volume (HV) of air to propel the paint through the gun, which itself requires a lower pressure (LP). This lower pressure, which should be less than 10 psi, reduces overspray and actually transfers more paint to your surface (usually between 65% and 90% transfer efficiency), resulting in a smoother finish.

The types of HVLP spray guns: conversion vs dedicated

The first type of HVLP system, often called a ‘conversion system,’ comprises an air compressor and a conversion gun, which lowers incoming pressure to less than 10 psi. For this system to work properly, your air compressor must be at least three-horsepower, with a 80-litre tank or larger. This method is effective, but it’s not nearly as efficient as the second type.

The second type of HVLP — the ‘dedicated system’ — swaps the air compressor for a genuine turbine (built from a motor that drives one or more high-speed fans), which propels the air through the gun at that high volume and low pressure. Dedicated systems are ‘rated’ by their number of fans (single-stage, two-stage, three-stage, and so on) — and the higher the stage, the higher the volume and pressure. In addition to being smaller and more portable than conversion systems, turbine HVLPs offer far greater efficiency.

What are the benefits of an HVLP?

In addition to the reduced overspray and smoother finish we mentioned before, HVLP guns eliminate moisture problems associated with other spray painting systems (thanks to the warm, dry air produced by the turbines) and result in faster paint curing and less overall waste.

Dedicated HVLPs are small, compact, and portable, and the nature of the high-volume, low-pressure system means that the guns require less material for any given job, improving your efficiency and saving you money over time.

And for the eco-minded among us, it’s important to note that HVLP systems impart far less air pollution than other types of spray guns.

What can you use an HVLP gun for?

You can use an HVLP gun for any spray painting job you like, but they’re most commonly used for wood and furniture finishing, interior finishing lines (architraves and doors), and auto refinishing. They also have applications in the beauty industry (primarily sunless tanning) and in industrial and commercial finishing. 

Not sure whether you need an HVLP spray gun or something different? Get in touch and tell me about the project(s) you have in mind, and I’ll make sure you get the right product.