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Key outcomes

  • Designed and implemented an innovative ventilation system;
  • Worker exposures minimised;
  • Won WorkSafe 2022 “Workplace Health and Safety Solution of the Year” award;

The scope

Workplace health and safety is a critical aspect of any industry, especially those involving high-risk tasks. One such industry is the transportation industry, where workers are exposed to various hazardous substances, including solvents, during the maintenance and painting of trains. In particular, painting can result in elevated solvent exposures and explosion risks. To manage this, the business-as-usual approach involve multimillion dollar dedicated painting facilities, which often still pose significant risks. To address this issue, Metro Trains Melbourne engaged Synergetics Consulting Engineers to develop a fit for purpose ventilation system. This transformed an existing maintenance workshop at Metro Trains Melbourne’s Westall Maintenance Depot into a high-quality facility capable of spray painting whole trains with relatively low airborne solvent concentration levels.

A train during painting. The train is masked with plastic to control overspray, An overhead fresh air duct is visible on the far side of the train, and an extraction duct can be seen next to the scaffolding.
Figure 1 – A train being painted using the the custom ventilation system. You can see one of the two overhead fresh air supply ducts on the far side of the train, with the extraction duct located next to the access platform.

The solution

Synergetics Consulting Engineers addressed these issues by using their expertise in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to simulate the painting process and identify solutions. The team collaborated closely with site personnel, regularly seeking their feedback to ensure practical and effective solutions. They designed a novel system to control airflow patterns, minimizing the contaminated zone in the workshop and reducing the need for PPE. They also designed distributed exhaust and fresh air systems to minimize localized turbulence and provide uniform airflow over the entire train, eliminating the risk of dead zones where vapor levels could reach the lower explosive limit (LEL). The system was then manufactured, installed, and commissioned, with its performance verified through field testing.

A photo of the award trophy.
Figure 2 – The work won the 2022 WorkSafe Victoria “Workplace Health and Safety Solution of the Year” Award.

WorkSafe Victoria awarded Synergetics with the “Workplace Health and Safety Solution of the Year” for this work. Contact Synergetics if you are seeking a specialised ventilation system, or if you are interested in being an exclusive supplier of Synergetics SAFE PAINT spray painting ventilation system.

Huge thanks to our partner and supplier organisations for their assistance:

For further examples of bespoke designed solutions click here.