Painting Shop Management: Exploring Wet Scrub vs. Dry Scrub Options—Part 1

Having options usually means weighing positives vs. negatives, benefits vs. costs. When it comes to paint shop management for large-scale operations, we provide two unique and comprehensive cleaning and maintenance options. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) encounter two common issues during their automotive production: paint overspray and the waste removal of that overspray.

Wet scrub and dry scrub techniques use different approaches to accomplish the same goal. Wet scrub systems are the favored method of most OEMs at a rate of almost 90 percent, but an increasing number of OEMs who use MPW’s services have moved to dry scrub technology for a 25 percent (dry) to 75 percent (wet) divide. In fact, we speculate that 40 percent of our clients will be using dry scrub within the next 10 years.

What has changed?

Advances in dry-scrub technology have made that particular cleaning process more efficient, more environmentally beneficial and more cost effective than its water-based counterpart. Those factors play a role in why one major automobile manufacturer included what is purported to ­­­be the largest dry scrub overspray removal system in North America in its latest plant expansion. The carmaker cited a greater commitment to environmental responsibility and quality products.

A sampling of environmental improvements that accompany switching from wet scrub to dry scrub include:

•Elimination of more than 255 tons of sludge per year

•Reduction of CO2 emissions by 18 percent (12,000 metric tons)

•Decreased water use by 2 million gallons per year

But is dry scrub the right solution for every OEM or does wet scrub still provide the necessary treatment? Our next blog post will break down the advantages and drawbacks of both.

Plus, be sure to check out our article in Today’s Motor Vehicle for more on this topic.