We're currently using a CAT 14:1 and two Kremlin 10:1 AAA pumps. We spray both water and solvent. Parts are kept warm (+/- 60 degrees) until they go into the cold booth after which they move into a warm drying room. We probably spray around 500 gallons a year.
I was told by a vendor that a UL listed heater and recirc setup would be around $4,700 but that I should consider trading up to a 20:1 pump for our opaques (typically Clawlock and Resistant). We would continue to use the CAT for clears.
My understanding is that the heater would reduce the viscosity and the bigger pump would provide more headroom for atomization of the pigmented coatings. It seems like both would reduce or possibly eliminate the need for reduction. If we're going to heat I'm not going to just warm the pail; I would buy the recirc set up. The lower viscosity of the warmed material might allow us to keep the pumps we have. The heater would hold extra catalyzed material which would be wasted.
If it's the case that the ballpark prices I received are right and the resulting finish would be the same, then I would just trade up to a bigger pump. Unfortunately, I can't afford to do both but I'm willing to do either if it improves our finish. I'm not unhappy with the results we're getting now but it's easier to get what we really want in the warmer months. I don't think we'll have the option to demo a heater but should be able to demo a bigger pump. I'm trying to decide on which way to go, so any reflections would be helpful.
From contributor M:
I do not do production work, but I have tried to spray heated pre-cat (wrap around drum heater) at 100 degrees. My 10-14 Kremlin freezes up and requires a strip down and total cleaning. It does not seem to be a clogging problem, but maybe a shearing issue. I have shot finish with an ambient temp of 100 degrees and do not experience the same problem?
You could also do yourself a favor by using Becker Matador and ditch the Resistant. I had trouble with Resistant in colder months.
The bigger pump means more life and it doesn't need to work as hard as the smaller pumps. That is a good move and it is big enough to supply two guns easily.