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Using Mass flow to fully automate paint applications

Friday, September 30, 2022

Mechanical paint sprayers, normally used for spraying cars, need steady and stable gas flow. This allows them to evenly apply coats of paint. While atomising the paint, we can change the shape of the stream by adjusting the amount of paint and gas supplied to the electric field. This then allows you to create a high-quality finish consistently.

One customer who was using a manual spraying machine wanted the ability to mass produce OEM equipment. They weren’t able to while manually adjusting the Nitrogen flow and paint distribution so had to upgrade to a fully automatic system, which is where Alicat come in.

They are now using the Alicat MC-series.

Alicat MC Series Mass Flow Controller

Alicat MC Series Mass Flow Controller

This has allowed them to fully automate their paint system, which has allowed them to achieve their ultimate goal of mass-producing OEM equipment.

By moving over to a fully automatic system it has cut the possibility of operator error by ensuring precise control of Nitrogen and paint drawn through the nebulizer, which has allowed them maximum efficiency while keeping consistent quality.

Accurate, repeatable and consistent

The consistency between cycles of the robotic painting system is incredibly important. Something as simple as changing the colour can change the properties (including weight), and because of this different pressures and flow rates are required to achieve identical shapes. Accuracy, repeatability and consistency are critical to ensure an even coat in all colours.

The reason they have opted for using Alicat devices? Is because they offer a high degree of Accuracy, repeatability and consistency.

The Accuracy statement of An Alicat can be as high as ±0.5% of reading or ±0.1% of full scale, whichever is greater, this is NIST-traceable as well.

The repeatability statement is ± 0.1% of reading + 0.02% of full scale.

As you can “Plug and play” with these devices, it makes it easy to integrate.

As the Alicat can output Volumetric flow, Mass flow, Gas pressure, and Gas temperature over digital comms and on screen it eliminates the need for other devices as well.


Alicat products are used in the automated paint industry in the factories and as field tools when installing/trouble shooting an existing system.

As an Alicat can checks line pressure, which is critical to the proper operation of the robots, it can be used for an early sign of a failure in the delivery system.

As the MC- series displays mass flow, volumetric flow pressure and temperature it ends the need for multiple devices.

The MC units can also be built to have a secondary analogue output if preferred.

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