When the Utah Transit Authority (UTA)’s onsite paint system reached the end of its useful life after 35 years, it was clear to UTA management that an upgrade was necessary.
The original booth was designed for a semi-truck configuration, which limited the bay’s lighting as well as its utility for painting buses. Furthermore, it simply did not have the size to accommodate the 60-foot articulated buses recently purchased by UTA.
Additionally, the original system was energy-inefficient; featured an outdated, inadequate filtration system; and presented a sealing problem, allowing dirt into the system and paint finish.
The UTA procurement team and bus engineering staff outlined specifications for a Best-Value RFP which yielded bids from multiple vendors. Following the Utah State procurement code of competitive scoring between specification and price, UTA ultimately selected Accudraft to supply a new system.
“We painted in the booth at least five days per week for 35 years,” said Kyle Stockley, Vehicle Support and Capital Program Manager for UTA. “We paint buses and other vehicles, as well as vehicle parts, which we manufacture. So, obtaining a right-fit solution was very important for daily operations.”
Acquisition and installation consisted of a multi-pronged approach which included the system architect, installers, UTA’s internal team, and Accudraft.
“The original booth was so old that it did not quite line up with our current building structure,” Stockley said. “The architect presented solutions to ensure we adhered to code which required ventilation, electrical and gas modifications to the building. We had to modify the side of the building for venting, as well. The modifications required to install the system were definitely hurdles, but we all worked together to get through it.”
Guido Pippa, CEO of Accudraft, said he and his team always begin discussions like these by ensuring all stakeholders understand the complexity and totality of a project. “It was vital that the booth installation be completed carefully and completely, so that UTA could avoid unforeseen costs and ultimately protect its investment,” he explained.
Yet, despite the complexity involved, installation of the new paint booth took less than a month, with the entire process – from RFP to a working system – completed in just under a year. Accudraft worked with Rocky Mountain Lifts to ensure that the UTA would have local support during the construction process and service after the booth was commissioned.
UTA’s booth in daily operation
The Pro Series paint system by Accudraft features a large cabin and shadowless interior design, engineered specifically to address UTA’s concerns with lighting. It includes a heated cure cycle and electronic temperature controls for more customization than UTA’s previous system could offer. The SmartPad digital control panel provides access to process information, settings, and system health readouts in a single location.
Because the prior system featured manual controls, training was required on the Accudraft system’s computerized controls. With these competencies in place, Stockley said the UTA team was impressed with the system’s operation, and particularly with its airflow, gas use, and bake cycle efficiencies.
“The new bake cycle actually helped us reduce our cure time,” he explained. “Now we can increase our production throughout the paint process, lowering our daily operating cost.”
UTA Technical Support Supervisor Tony Marcelis echoed this sentiment and said the system has increased the body-shop team’s repair capacity and technological capabilities.
“They really enjoy the new bake cycle, which really speeds up daily processes and simply allows us to get more done,” Marcelis said. “The team also appreciates the new lighting, which is so much better than in the old system.”
Among these other upgrades, the Accudraft system ventilates throughout the booth, whereas the old system only allowed venting from one side. Furthermore, the booth now fully seals and blocks dirt from lowering the paint quality.
UTA and Accudraft incorporated an additional door into the system’s design, so the agency can access the booth to paint many parts and components, which previously required a second, smaller paint booth in addition to the booth for large equipment. The new booth’s efficiency has virtually eliminated the need for the smaller system — a benefit UTA did not anticipate, but certainly appreciates, according to Stockley.
“The new system also has a better filtration system, with filters on the exterior and interior,” Stockley added. “That enables us to achieve a higher CFM, so we can actually move more air through the booth. It is all viewable on the computerized display, where we constantly monitor booth operations, including air flow and bake cycles.”
Better overall stewardship
Ultimately, Stockley said UTA’s reduced costs — generated by increased efficiency — are some of the biggest benefits of the new paint system.
“But it is not just the benefit of providing a better product — at UTA, one of our core goals is to be a good steward of the public’s money and trust,” he added. “With lower operating costs we are truly being better stewards of the public money.”
To learn more, visit www.accudraftpaintbooths.com or call 800-524-0340.