When rigid inflatable boat (RIB) tube makers Henshaw Inflatables needed a new and safer way to spray cover their products, we had just the solution.

The problem

Henshaw Inflatables have been around since 1974 and have recently been bought out by the Wing Group, leading to a period of investment in new equipment. That included focusing on new product lines, and the hardware needed to offer them to a suitable professional standard.

“The problem is that more and more of the military, police and defence style boats are looking for foam tubes rather than the inflatables,” says Henshaw’s General Manager Simon Crompton. “They’re much more hard-wearing; you can drive them into the side of a vessel and there’s absolutely no damage to the tube.

“With those foam tubes, the outer coating needs to be a polyurea (PU) spray. We had a contract with the Kuwaiti naval department to produce them a set of 14 foam tubes for their new range of attack and defence boats, and we were spraying in a lean-to shed area – essentially an oversized tin shack with no proper lighting or extraction.

“Because our focus has always been inflatables, spraying foam tubes was quite new to us as a company. That lack of experience, and not having the right environment, meant we were struggling to get the coating consistently to the quality we needed to.

“That’s why we approached VODEX.”

The VODEX solution

Henshaw Inflatables' new COSHH-compliant PU spray booth as taken from the right

Our answer to Henshaw Inflatables’ problem was to install a 14m-long dry filter bench spray booth in a specially cordoned-off area with ample lighting.

This allowed their staff to practice their PU spraying in order to perfect their process. All the while, the booth’s built-in fume extraction system ensured their people were protected from harmful contaminates.

“From the point of planning to the point of installation itself, VODEX were brilliant,” says Simon. “They were massively helpful and even when we experienced stumbling blocks – as you’d expect in a project like this – they were the first to be on the phone or email saying ‘we’ve got this issue, here’s how we’re going to solve it.’ They were great at communicating with us and making sure that what was needed, we had.”

The result

“We’ve gone from something not fit for purpose to a well-lit, well-extracted purpose-built spray booth that gives us a dedicated space purely for spraying,” Simon explains.

“Our people are much happier now too,” he continues. “The stuff we’re spraying is actually quite toxic. Once it’s coated and dried it’s fine, but when it’s still in the air in its particulate form, it’s seriously nasty stuff! We also spent money on two dedicated protective masks, and that coupled with the money spent on the spray booth has allowed us to make leaps and bounds both in terms of safety and product quality.”

Henshaw Inflatables' new COSHH-compliant PU spray booth as taken from the left

Indeed, the investment has even allowed Henshaw to consider expanding further into the foam tube sub-sector.

“We’re now looking to expand and have foam-filled sprayed products as a separate revenue stream,” says Simon. “In our market we’re synonymous with top quality, and now with this spray booth there is absolutely no reason, with more experience and training, that we won’t become the market leaders in foam fenders and tubes as well as inflatable tubes moving forwards.

“Without the right resources, we can’t produce the best products,” he continues. “We’ve got some of the most experienced tube builders in the business. Now, we’re going to have the same with regards to PU spraying because we have some of the best kit on the market – including, and especially, our VODEX spray booth.”

Does your workplace need a COSHH-compliant spray booth solution?

Visit our dry filter bench spray booth page or get in touch with us to discuss your business’s unique needs.


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