Electrical Grounding for Spray Systems

Effective grounding for your spray setup may reduce risks associated with static electriciy buildup. March 29, 2008

We recently purchased a Binks Raptor Air Assist finish system. This is our first air assist system, as we have always used HVLP with a remote pressure pot in the past. My question is in regard to the grounding wire that came with the unit. What does it do? Does it truly keep the operator from getting shocked or keep the unit from exploding or what? Also, it states in the manuals not to run any solvent through the tip. Is this true, and if so, what is the proper way to clean up?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor J:
The grounding wire helps with static electricity. It helps keep down the amount of overspray that sticks to the other side of the door while you are spraying the second side. I spray solvent through my tip at the end of every day to clean the dried material out. I haven't seen any effect on the tip for 30 years. I think they mean spraying solvent all the time as a part of your process.

From contributor H:
Any time you move a coating material through a hose in addition to compress air, you create static electricity. If you have your bucket of material on a wood pallet to keep the temperature up, the container can become a capacitor, a storage vehicle of energy, and if the unthinkable happens, a spark can create a real issue. A grounding wire is cheap insurance. I use it, as do many of the shops located near me. Those two seconds to attach the alligator clip to ground can save you a bunch of money and time.

From contributor T:
Wow, I'm going to hook up my ground wire first thing in the morning, especially if that underside overspray thing is true. Does anybody else know of this phenomenon of static electricity causing overspray on the underside?

From contributor L:
What is the correct way to ground your material?

From contributor J:
Contributor T, your sarcasm is noted. As you probably already know, it doesn't eliminate it. It just reduces it. The best way to eliminate overspray is a thoughtful spray technique.

From contributor H:
The way I ground my material can is to place it on top of a wood pallet to keep the temperature up as much as possible. Then I buy some 16 ga wire and buy two high quality alligator style clips. I am kind of anal about safety so I took my hammer drill and drilled down about 18 inches, then put a brass rod down the hole and attached the ground wires to it.

From the original questioner:
Would attaching the alligator clip to conduit be sufficient for a ground, or do I need to create a separate ground for the unit?

From contributor R:
We were told to have a separate ground for static electricity and that we should contact the engineer at a local hospital for details on how that should be set up in our area. You should not ground to electrical conduit. If you ground your booth for static electricity then I believe you can just ground your pump to the metal supports of the booth.

From contributor H:
I hope I didn't stir the pot here. In my opinion, the best way is to sink an earth ground. My next choice would be to ground out to my spray booth that has an anchor in the floor. Like I said, I am more finicky than most when it comes to grounding. Is it a pain to sink an earth ground? Yes, but in the long run it is the superior way to go. Just look at how they ground antennas and direct dish TV antenna.

From contributor C:
I've been selling and using AA systems for over 20 years. Never used the ground wire. If you use a heated and recirculating system, you will have to ground. Otherwise don't worry about it.

From contributor H:
Well, if you sell the systems, I would believe every manufacturer has in their manual the verbiage about grounding the system. I bet if I went to a Graco, Binks, etc. site, they state that in their manuals. It is a safety issue, no doubt about. Everyone has a choice on how they operate the equipment.

From contributor M:
As for grounding... Your water pipes are grounded. Most likely because of this your sprinklers are also grounded (this can be checked with an Ohm meter). If your sprinkler heads are touching your booth, then your booth is grounded. Just clip to your booth.