VOC Canada

VOC Compliance in Canada

Compressed Air Systems & VOC Compliance in Canada

Are you Compliant?
From June 2010 all auto refinish facilities in Canada must have converted to low-VOC (volatile organic compound) and waterborne refinish products and processes to comply with VOC regulations. This forms part of the Government of Canada's plan to reduce emissions of air pollutants.

Frequently asked questions

Why do we need to convert?

Traditional auto refinish paints have a solvent in them. This component is usually petroleum based and as the paint dries these toxic emissions are released into the atmosphere.
In comparison waterborne paints are water based instead meaning there are much fewer VOC's in this type of paint.

Do I just need to start buying waterborne based refinish products?
No. Before you begin using waterborne based paints you will need to review the equipment that makes up your paint spraying facility.

Will this affect my compressed air system?
Yes. There are three main issues that must be addressed;

  • Air quality
  • The volume of air required
  • Filtration

Air quality is very important when using waterborne paints. Once sprayed on a surface, waterborne paints will have a layer of water vapour on top of them. To remove this there must be consistent, clean and sufficient air flow.

The volume of air delivered is therefore also critical. There must be a high airflow in order to accelerate the drying process to stop a skin forming on top of the coat of paint.

In a compressed air system with inadequate filtration, condensation and oil can be carried through the air supply pipes with the compressed air. When used with waterborne based products these residues can create small craters in the paint work and therefore require expensive repair work.

So, it is also important to review the filtration system. In this type of application it is normal to find a two-stage filtration system however when using the air in conjunction with waterborne based products a three-stage filtration system is recommended which would include an activated charcoal filter.

This filter adsorbs oil and so would make the system suitable for use with waterborne products.

Are there any advantages of waterborne paints?
Using waterborne paints will be better for the environment. Some recent reports have cited cases where refinish shops who have already switched to waterborne based products believe they are now benefiting in the following ways;

  • Increased productivity; one case study cites that fewer coats are required when using waterborne base coats which translates into less time required per job
  • Reduced insurance costs; some users believe that their insurance premiums will be lower as a result of using waterborne base coats rather than solvent based paints as they are less flammable / toxic
  • Increased customer satisfaction; there has been some evidence to suggest that waterborne base coats provide a more durable finish which is less brittle and more chip resistant.

What course of action do you suggest we take to ensure compliance?

  • Evaluate the existing compressed air system
  • Ensure the system is serviced according to the manufacturer's guidelines.

Your local BOGE distributor can provide an initial site survey to evaluate your existing compressed air system. Recommendations can then be made, where appropriate, as to the changes that are necessary in order to be able to use the compressed air to power paint spray systems using waterborne paints.

Locate your nearest BOGE distributor
Request the Advisory Leaflet

The above information is for general guidance only. For detailed information on complying with VOC regulations visit the Government for Canada's website.