Problem Solved — Reconditioning center maximizes cycle time with new booth and prep station

With 16 franchised operations offering virtually every make of vehicle, Birchwood Automotive Group has grown to become the largest network of automotive retailers in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Despite being the largest, there is still room for more improvement.

Since the province’s used-vehicle market is three times larger than the new one, Birchwood Group made the decision to invest in a standalone facility that could focus on the used-vehicle side of business. As Scott Greer, the group’s director of used-vehicles service, describes the decision, “it allows us to take the focus on used-vehicle recondition away from our stores, so they can focus one hundred percent on helping out their customers.”

Filling the new 40,000 square foot facility required considerable research. Greer and a colleague set about finding the right equipment for the efficient operation they were trying to create. Among the equipment needed was a paint booth and a prep station.

Birchwood Shop_Dormer.jpg

“Our research focused on multiple-panel setups as we mostly do parts and pieces for reconditioning while the car continues down our production line,” says Greer. “We looked at several different brands and spoke with our subject matter experts at our collision centers, where we have a few different booth brands.”

In addition to research and internal conversations, Greer took the search outward as well. They visited several major facilities in the United States and reached out to Axalta, whose paint they use exclusively, to learn what the liquid and powder coating supplier recommends as the best type of booth.

Taking into account all of the research, trips and discussions, Global Finishing Solutions® emerged as the consensus choice. With the help of Dormer Finishing Systems, Birchwood Group added an Ultra® XD Semi-Downdraft booth with an attached Ultra® Mix Room and an Excel® Workstation to their state-of-the-art facility.

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“It’s been great,” Greer says. “It’s allowed us to set up a workflow system similar to what Boeing uses with their ovens in putting together carbon fiber wings, which means we can lower our batch size and improve our cycle times.” He added that the reconditioning center has been averaging around six booth runs per day.

On top of that, the addition of the Excel Workstation has handled all the priming. Utilizing the prep deck removes anywhere between 4-8 hours of cycle time. As Greer describes the process, “we can have a panel taken off, primed, painted and back on the car in the same day without having to do an overnight cook in the booth.”


He told Canadian Auto World, “we cannot afford for used vehicles to be an afterthought.” Anchored by efficient GFS equipment, Birchwood Reconditioning Center is making sure used cars are front and center by improving its cycle times and getting vehicles out to market faster.


Filtration concentration: An introduction to paint booth filters and maintenance

Choosing the correct filter for your paint booth can be a daunting task. The choices you make will have a direct impact on everything from the efficiency of your booth and the quality of the end product to booth maintenance costs and the safety of technicians. This guide will introduce you to and give insight into the different types of filters found throughout your booth, as well as maintenance tips to keep your booth running efficiently.

Air make-up

Depending on your booth setup, your first line of filtration defense might be air make-up filters.


Air make-up bag filter

Located in the air make-up, these filters trap large particles before air reaches the air make-up unit, which provides pressurized air to the spray booth. As well as providing filtration for the air make-up unit itself, the filters play an important role in extending the life of more expensive filtration further down the line. Air make-up filters come in multiple varieties such as pad filters, panel filters, cleanable aluminum filters, and pocket and bag filters.

When troubleshooting airflow issues, the air make-up filters are a good place to start. If you have insufficient airflow, the filters may be dirty or clogged, and if you are getting too much airflow, check to ensure the filters are correctly in place. In addition, keep in mind that with air make-up filters in many units, a burner or cooling coil is located directly behind the filter frame system, so care must be taken that filters do not come in contact with the burner or coil.


You likely wouldn’t know it because you wouldn’t actually be able to see it but it only takes particulates around 10 microns to cause a defect on your paint job. For reference, that’s about 0.0004 inches! This is the importance of intake filters; they provide clean, filtered


Intake filters

air to the booth, so your coating operation is free of foreign particles that can contaminate your paint job.


The type of booth also affects the type of filter required. For crossdraft booths, the filters are often internally supported polyester panel filters or linked panel filters, which are typically designed to be installed without the aid of clips or other mounting hardware while creating a leak-free static fit when inserted into the frame. A common type of filter used in downdraft booths is a diffusion type media pad. This type of filter allows the airflow to spread uniformly throughout the booth, ensuring optimal conditions for applying coating.

Because each type of booth uses different filters, the efficiency of the filters also differs. The polyester panel filters or linked panel filters for a crossdraft booth will vary from a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) 6-8, with GFS providing MERV 7 products with its crossdraft booths. The diffusion type media pad found in a downdraft booth is much more efficient, with a MERV 10 or higher. This rating ensures an internal cleanroom atmosphere that removes more than 99 percent of all particulates 10 microns or larger from the air entering the booth.


Where intake filters ensure that you are working with clean air from the start, exhaust filters make sure the air leaving the booth will be safe for the environment, while also keeping potentially dangerous chemicals from remaining in the airflow of the booth. Exhaust filters capture solid and liquid aerosols that painters can be exposed to through inhalation or dermal adsorption. The filters also keep those highly toxic materials from being released into the environment after passing through the booth.


Exhaust filters on wall

Another main goal of exhaust filtration is to protect your fans, stack and plenum from the buildup of overspray contamination. In order to do this, exhaust filters need to be able to hold enough paint to avoid constantly replacing the filters, while at the same time providing a minimal pressure drop within the booth to ensure particulates don’t harden and end up on the painted surface.

Most paint booths typically use single-stage filters (one common exception is aerospace booths, which use 3 or 4-stage filtration for chromate coatings). The type of exhaust filter used is the same for crossdraft and downdraft booths but the location and frame configuration differ. In crossdraft booths you will find plenum or wall filters, whereas in downdraft booths, exhaust pit filters are used.


Exhaust roll media for pit

The filters themselves are generally made of multilayered polyester and/or fiberglass. Differences in fiber configuration, density and composition all impact how any exhaust filter will perform.

GFS has engineered its own exhaust media to meet or exceed the performance of original equipment filters: GFS Wave.

GFS Wave

GFS Wave filters are extremely versatile single-stage filtration media for use as paint booth exhaust filters. They are included in all of our paint booths and accommodate all paints and a wide array of spray applications – from clear coats to high solids. The patented wave pattern of the filter provides 2.3 times more surface area for every square foot of face area in an existing frame system than normal polyester exhaust media.

gfs_wave-padTechnically speaking, GFS Wave is a nonwoven polyester media comprised of coarse and fine, standard and low-melt fibers chosen for performance in overspray collection applications. This means that the fiber blend along with the wave pattern enables paint laden air to be captured across the surface and within the depth of the media, extending filter service life and reducing operating costs.

The filters provide 99.94 percent particulate removal efficiency and a holding capacity of 4.4 lbs. GFS Wave filters have been approved for the National Emission Standard, based on 40 CFR Part 63 Subpart HHHHHH and consistent with ASHRAE 52.1. In addition, the material complies with the requirements of UL 900, NFPA-33 and OSHA.filter-assy

For best results with Wave filters, make sure the filter is installed with the “waves” running horizontally. Putting the filter in the wrong way reduces its ability to capture and retain more overspray.

Filter maintenance

Just as important as deciding which filters to use is establishing a regular schedule for changing the intake and exhaust filters. The cleanliness of your spray booth and the work you do within depend heavily on it. Clogged or overloaded filters may not allow proper airflow through the booth, causing dust or overspray to recirculate through the booth and filter_checkingaffect the finish of your paint job.

Beyond that, it is also an important step in ensuring your paint operation meets the health and safety standards required by OSHA and NFPA regulations. In more severe situations, clogged filters may create flammable or explosive conditions within your booth.

The problem is that with so many different styles and brands, filters will reach their “target” reading and require replacement at varying rates. These rates also depend upon the paint type, booth design, fan speed, temperature, spray equipment, etc.

One way to establish a change-out schedule for exhaust filters is to compare readings from a manometer or magnehelic pressure gauge with the booth manufacturer’s specs. Without a pressure gauge, it is best to establish a strict maintenance schedule based on the volume of spraying taking place on a day-to-day basis.installfilters

Ultimately, it is best to work with your spray booth manufacturer or filter supplier to design an effective schedule for changing your filters that finds a good balance between filtration needs and cost efficiency in your booth’s performance.

As this guide demonstrates, paint booth filtration is a bit more complex than you might have originally thought. Here at GFS, we have an expert parts & filters team that can aid you in the process and connect you with filter suppliers who can help you with all of your filter needs.

Previewing SEMA Show 2016: product demos, giveaways and more

PrintIt’s fall, which means it is once again time for the SEMA Show, the world’s premier automotive specialty products trade event. The four-day event is being held Nov. 1-4 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and you can bet Global Finishing Solutions will be there in full force.

Packed into those four days, we will be showcasing our REVO Accelerated Curing Systems, GFS Wave filters, paint booths and more. GFS can be found at Booths 11153 and 11243, as well as partnering with Axalta for an outdoor experience in the Silver parking lot at Booth 61009.

The return of REVO

GFS is excited to bring its state-of-the-art REVO Accelerated Curing Systems back to Vegas. REVO Systems, which use short wave electric infrared technology, work within a paint shop’s current footprint and can improve paint shop throughput up to 80 percent. At Booth 11153, GFS will feature a REVO Speed unit integrated into an Ultra® XR paint booth structure, as well as REVO Rapid MC2 and REVO Handheld models. Experts will be on hand to demonstrate multiple REVO models and to answer any questions about the breakthrough technology.img_2363

REVO demo schedule
Tuesday: 2–2:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 10:30–11 a.m. & 2–2:30 p.m.
Thursday: 10:30–11 a.m. & 2–2:30 p.m.

REVO Accelerated Curing Systems significantly reduce curing times for both prep and paint phases of repairs. The systems are available in multiple models ranging from a handheld unit to larger systems which integrate into paint booths and prep areas. Each model allows technicians to speed up the repair process by hours, dramatically increases shop throughout and delivers high-quality results at a fraction of the energy cost compared to conventional curing methods.

Win a REVO MC2 or Handheld

In addition to learning about REVO Systems, demonstration attendees will also have the opportunity to enter drawings to win the state-of-the-art technology. Drawings will be held for a REVO Handheld unit each of the first three days, with a drawing for a REVO Rapid MC2 at the end of the show.

Make sure to attend a REVO demo at the GFS Booth 11153 for your chance to win.

Partnering with Axaltasema_axalta_gfs-revo

Global Finishing Solutions will once again be partnering with Axalta to provide an outdoor booth experience at SEMA 2016. It will be located in the Silver parking lot at Booth 61009 and will feature a GFS Ultra® XR semi-downdraft booth equipped with GFS AdvanceCure®, premium booth accessories and a GFS REVO Speed System to demonstrate rapid curing.

The schedule includes two days of REVO Speed demonstrations highlighting fast drying with Axalta coatings, as well as custom painting, waterborne classes and more throughout the week.

Starting the Wave

There will be plenty to see and learn about at our GFS’ Parts and Filters booth this year, located at Booth 11243. In addition to paint booth lights, shop curtains and other booth
gfs_wave-padaccessories, we will be showcasing GFS Wave filters, a versatile single-stage filter media made for paint booths.

Attendees interested in the filters will have a chance to participate in the GFS Wave free filter trial. Those who sign up will receive a full set of Wave filters for their booth to test out the product.

Swing by and start your GFS WAVE free filter trail at SEMA 2016!

We hope to see you at the SEMA Show this year!

GFS Opens New Center for Excellence Training Facility

Global Finishing Solutions (GFS), a world leader in innovation for paint booths and finishing systems technologies, recently opened the doors of a new state-of-the-art training and product R&D center. The innovative Center for Excellence allows GFS to demonstrate the advantages of its most advanced, game-changing systems while also teaching proper use, tips and safety techniques.


The training facility was meticulously designed with full preparation and paint areas to closely mirror a working body shop. GFS equipment in the facility include: a dual-bay downdraft Ultra® XR CTOF booth integrated with the REVO Rapid OR2 curing system, Ultra® XR downdraft paint booth with REVO Speed, Aluminum Repair Station and two Ultra® XD paint mix rooms. This new facility allows users to see how REVO Systems significantly reduce cycle time.


GFS Equipment: Aluminum Repair Station, dual-bay Ultra XR CTOF, Ultra XR paint booth and Ultra XD paint mix room

GFS opened the doors of the Center for Excellence for the first time on Tuesday, Sept. 13 to a group of 60 distributors. As part of an annual distributor meeting, GFS distributors participated in sales trainings and discussions, and attended demonstrations of all REVO Systems in the new body shop training center throughout the week.


“It was important for us to bring our distributors to this new facility to provide hands-on training of our equipment, especially the new REVO Systems. This breakthrough technology needs to be experienced in person in order to see how it can significantly improve paint shop throughput,” said Brandon Lowder, vice president of auto refinish sales at Global Finishing Solutions. “By providing our internal sales staff and distributor partners with this in-depth training on our products, we are able to better serve our customers.”


In addition to training employees and distributors, GFS plans to open the facility to customers, local paint jobbers, paint companies, collision center consolidators and MSOs, and local body shop associations. If you are interested in touring the new facility or for REVO product demonstrations and training, please contact us at A virtual tour of the new Center for Excellence training facility will be available on the GFS website in the coming weeks.

Problem Solved – Collision center replaces its “state-of-the-art” booth with a state-of-the-art booth

It didn’t take long for Kent Forman to realize his Honda dealership in Brandon, Manitoba needed a body shop. After years of taking vehicles to local body shops in town, he opened a shop of his own. The location wasn’t ideal to begin with and meant a lot of trips across town from the dealership, but when Forman began building relationships and a reputation with car owners, it became clear a larger shop was needed.


After some shuffling at the dealership and nearby spaces opening up, Forman was able to open a larger body shop, Forman Collision Centre, in the building next to his dealership. With eight bays and a new state-of-the-art paint booth in a newly-renovated facility, Forman was ready to service vehicles from the dealership as well as those of his loyal customers. Except what they got was far from state of the art.

“We had issues with it right off the bat,” explains Mike Tuttle, manager at Forman Collision. “Once we had more vehicles coming through, we found it couldn’t keep up with our productivity.”

They decided they needed an upgrade to shift that booth to a secondary role. Mike began the search in 2011, which led him to SEMA, an automotive trade show, in 2012. What he found wasn’t encouraging. “I quickly realized there are only so many companies who can put booths up in Canada, more specifically in Manitoba,” says Tuttle. “The regulations are a lot stricter, and once they knew where I was from, they said they couldn’t really do much for me.”

A company that could do something for him was Global Finishing Solutions. At the GFS booth, Tuttle spoke with GFS distributor Dormer Finishing Systems from nearby Winnipeg. With GFS, he found a company that can handle the stringent regulations in Manitoba, and he quickly built a relationship with Dormer Finishing. Back in Canada, the search continued as he looked into some other routes and got pricing within the next year before, as he puts it, “deciding to go with a more reputable business.”

Booth-Front 2

GFS Ultra® XC downdraft booth with attached Ultra® XD mix room

Forman Collision decided on a GFS Ultra® XC downdraft booth with an attached Ultra® XD mix room. The Ultra® booth is fully equipped with AdvanceCure Blade®, Paint Booth Sound System, Parts Hanging System and Access Turntable. A state-of-the-art booth and then some.

After a frustrating experience with their first booth, Forman Collision had a much better time working with Dormer Finishing Systems. “We were surprised at how seamlessly everything came together without us having to deal with any of it,” said Tuttle. “We never had to call any contractors and they did a really good job working with everyone around the shop.”


Transition from unproductive prep area to new, profitable paint booth

The booth has alleviated what was at one time a bottleneck in the shop. The newer Ultra® XC booth handles the painting, allowing the original, problematic booth to still be used productively for prep work. Because they chose to put the new booth in an area formerly used for polishing and was therefore not making them any money, the shop’s footprint was barely altered while turning a wasted space into profitable space.

“The AdvanceCure® system works really well,” Tuttle says of the Ultra® XC. “The booth cycles have been much quicker and the paint jobs cleaner. It’s a much bigger booth than we are used to, so we are getting some bigger booth cycles going.” He also added that the guys in the shop are enjoying GFS’ exclusive Paint Booth Sound System.


Access Turntable, Sound System and interior of the booth

Adding the Paint Booth Access Turntable also helps increase shop productivity. By adding the turntable, painters have easy access to pre-mixed paint from inside the paint booth. It also allows for a technician to be mixing paint while another is working in the booth.

With this new GFS equipment, Forman Collision Centre finally has the state-of-the-art booth they thought they had when renovating their new facility. Instead of hindering operations by creating a bottleneck for a shop handling over one thousand repairs per year, the Ultra® XC downdraft booth can handle the workload while making productive use of what was wasted space.

To learn more about Forman Collision Centre, visit

For more information about Ultra XD paint booths, visit

General Motors Dealer Equipment Program Approves Global Finishing Solutions’ REVO Accelerated Curing Systems

General-Motors-logo-3OSSEO, Wis. – Global Finishing Solutions (GFS), the world’s leading manufacturer of paint booths and finishing equipment, is proud to announce its inclusion in the General Motors Dealer Equipment Program with its REVO Accelerated Curing Systems. The state-of-the-art REVO Systems, which use short wave electric infrared technology, can improve paint shop throughput up to 80 percent.

“Global Finishing Solutions is excited to work with the GM Dealer Equipment Program to be the program’s sole provider of infrared curing equipment,” said Brandon Lowder, vice president of auto refinish sales at Global Finishing Solutions. “With REVO Systems, GFS provides shops the ability to dramatically increase throughput without overhauling their space.”

Introduced in 2014, GFS’ REVO Accelerated Curing Systems leverage electric IR technology to significantly reduce curing times for both prep and paint phases of repairs. Available in multiple models ranging from a handheld unit to larger systems which integrate into paint booths and prep areas, the REVO Systems are designed to fit a variety of needs while working within a shop’s current footprint. Each model delivers high-quality results at a fraction of the energy cost compared to conventional curing methods.

GF_REVO_RapidOR2_InUse_side car

REVO Rapid OR2

By offering a complete cure every time, GFS’ REVO Systems achieve higher quality results that reduce rework. The short wave electric IR drying energy is concentrated on only the panels needing repair and penetrates multiple layers of coatings to heat the substrate beneath. With just one pass, REVO Systems consistently cure primer, sealer and paint. This allows technicians to speed up the repair process by hours and dramatically increases shop throughout.

“REVO products offer the collision repair industry a win-win-win,” added Lowder. “The dealership can realize increased profits through productivity gains, the technician enjoys easy-to-use technology that produces exceptional repairs and the end user receives a higher quality repair that truly brings a vehicle back to the quality it was before an accident.


REVO product line – Speed, Rapid, Spot and Handheld models

The GM Dealer Equipment Program provides a full range of OEM tested and approved equipment to service, parts and body shops. The program offers installation and training assistance, factory direct shipments and experienced personnel. It can also arrange for supplier visits and product demonstrations to provide shops with complete information about its approved products.

As an OEM-approved supplier, Global Finishing Solutions will offer REVO Accelerated Curing Systems to meet the needs of GM dealership service operations across the U.S. and Canada. In addition to supplying the REVO Systems, GFS is a GM-approved supplier of paint booths, prep environments and other finishing equipment.

About Global Finishing Solutions
Global Finishing Solutions is the world’s leading manufacturer of paint booths and finishing systems for a wide variety of industries — including automotive collision repair, industrial manufacturing, rail and transit, marine, trucking, wood finishing, military and defense, and aviation. Built from merging North America’s most significant finishing equipment manufacturers, Global Finishing Solutions has decades of experience in designing, manufacturing and installing some of the most technolo gically advanced finishing environments in the world. Dedicated to innovation, Global Finishing Solutions continues to develop new products to help businesses be more productive and efficient. For more information, visit

UltraXP1 Booth Lighting

GFS’ Controlled Airflow Ceiling: A Premium Ceiling to Complement a Premium Booth

So you’ve decided you are ready to invest in a new paint booth for your shop. That’s not the end of the decisions though. Next comes decisions on any booth options and accessories you may want to add to your new booth.

With our Ultra® booths, one option in particular is deciding whether or not it is worthwhile to upgrade to a Controlled Airflow (CAF) Ceiling, GFS’ patented, exclusive ceiling design. Let’s take a look at the key features of the CAF Ceiling to allow for a more informed decision.

CAF Ceiling

Spray zone

In a spray booth, it is all about maintaining and optimizing your spray zone to achieve the best finish possible. The spray zone is affected by everything from booth air pressure and temperature to vehicle placement and walking too close to the item being painted. Not only does an inefficient spray zone lead to contaminated finishes and overspray on booth walls, it also limits the amount of parts that can be painted per cycle.

The Controlled Airflow Ceiling is engineered to maximize the effectiveness of downdraft airflow model booths by providing two airflow zones within the booth. The primary airflow zone creates a precise, protective envelope of air around the vehicle, while the added secondary airflow zone significantly increases the spray zone, virtually eliminating the dead air zone found in most booths.


CAF ceiling illustration

In looking back at his experiences as a painter, auto refinish technical advisor Jason Garfoot explains, “normally I would have to split a big job up between two booth cycles in order to avoid spraying parts in the dead airflow zones of the booth.” Working in a booth equipped with a CAF Ceiling, he says he would be able to consolidate everything into a single cycle without losing quality. “This would easily save a few hours on a single job, and when you add that up throughout a full week of repairs, throughput and ultimately the painter’s paycheck can increase dramatically,” says Garfoot.

Another benefit of the secondary airflow zone created by the CAF Ceiling is that it provides a wash of clean air to keep booth walls clean, while also removing contaminants coming from the painter and air hoses, usually the two biggest sources of contamination in the booth. This makes for happy shop owners and painters; for owners, this decreases the maintenance expenses from cleaning the booth, and for painters, as Garfoot explains, “the fewer times a painter has to go through the time consuming process of washing off and reapplying booth coating to keep the booth clean, the happier he will be.”


A well-lit environment plays a crucial role in achieving the highest quality paint jobs. All of our auto refinish booths are designed with vertical sidewalls lights to minimize shadows and are shipped complete with color-corrected tubes for all light fixtures. With our CAF Ceiling, in addition to creating an extra zone of air compared to your average booth, it also features strategically placed lighting.

UltraXP1 Booth Lighting

The lights are placed between the two airflow zones, as opposed to at the edges of the ceiling, which is more common in paint booths. This strategic placement accomplishes two things: shadow reduction and better illumination of hard to see areas.

When lights are located at the edge of the ceiling, there is a risk of the painter obstructing the light; while vertical sidewall lights eliminate many shadows, the head and shoulders of a painter often create shadows from traditional ceiling lights. By placing lights in the CAF Ceiling 24 inches from the edge of the ceiling, light is no longer obstructed and shadows are virtually eliminated.

In addition to eliminating shadows, the lighting on the CAF Ceiling is ideally placed so painters have a better view of troublesome areas. With lighting directly over the main work area of the booth, it is perfectly located to see the wet edge of the clear coat on tricky areas such as the sail panel or the rear quarter panel.

Worriless Painting

The Controlled Airflow Ceiling is our exclusive design that maximizes the effectiveness of your booth while reducing the worries associated with inefficient airflow and inadequate lighting, allowing painters to focus on the just that: painting.

By creating a second spray zone, contaminants are not only kept away from the paint job, they are also kept from collecting on booth walls. This alleviates worries about cleaning the booth and also about painting in a dead air zone.

In placing lights in between those two spray zones, painters don’t need to worry about fighting against shadows, nor about illuminating normally troublesome areas.

On top of improvements to airflow and lighting, the CAF Ceiling also features hinged filter racks that swing down for easy filter replacement.

The Controlled Airflow Ceiling design comes standard in our Ultra® XP1 and XC booths and can be added to Ultra® XD and XS booths. For a limited time, purchase an Ultra® XD or Ultra® XS downdraft booth and receive a free Controlled Airflow Ceiling upgrade, a $4,500 value.

To learn more about adding a CAF Ceiling to your next booth, contact us at 877-658-7900 to speak with one of our auto refinish experts.