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Environment industries archive


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Bignell Panel Repairs Pty Ltd - Cleaner Production - Sanding Operations


Bignell Panel Repairs Pty Ltd (BPR) is a medium sized paint and panel shop employing 14 staff. In the paint and panel industry, paint dust has always been a problem. It not only impairs the quality of the paint finish but also causes environmental and health problems. Dust contains heavy metals and toxins which cause respiratory illnesses. It is easily entrained in the stormwater system causing pollution of our waterways. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) are also contained in solvents used for spray painting, and can be discharged to the atmosphere during small touchups conducted outside the spray booth.


In the past, paint and panel shops would be hosed out regularly to remove any dust. Vehicles were also "wet sanded" using waterproof abrasive paper and a water supply, such as a hose or a bucket and sponge, to contain the dust.

EPA legislation has now made it illegal to discharge this water into the stormwater system because of the contaminants it contains. The industry uses a large volume of water with consequent high trade waste costs. When the user-pay system is introduced, water supply costs will also rise substantially.

Another problem is that paint touch-ups conducted outside the spray booth do not allow for any treatment of vapours.


Traditionally, any dry sanding would produce too much dust that would spread around the shop. BPR has designed and installed a sanding area with a downdraught floor that sucks dust through a filter system in the floor. It can also be used for wet sanding and small touch-ups.


Implementation of the project has resulted in the following outcomes:

Other Improvements

The sponsors are willing to test alternative technologies as they come on the market, and have to date used high volume low pressure (HVLP) spray guns with an encouraging 20 per cent savings in paint usage, though at a slight decline in paint gloss at this initial stage.

BPR has also installed a spray gun cleaning cabinet which cleans guns, recycles thinners and reduces VOC emissions to the atmosphere.

Other areas looked at include the reduction of landfill wastes through product substitution, reuse and recycling.

Further Developments

BPR has continued to benefit from these initiatives.


Robert Bignell
Bignell Panel Repairs
Address: 993 Fairfield Road
Yeerongpilly Qld 4106
Phone: (07) 3848 8701
Fax: (07) 3848 5660
Date of implementation:1996
Date of further initiatives: Ongoing
Case study prepared:1997 
Date last modified: May 2001.