The curing of powder coating is a popular and especially effective use of infrared technology. IR's consistent application of heat across surfaces means that the coating is activated evenly, resulting in a smooth finish.
Examples of IR in Powder Coating Applications
- By installing an infrared oven from Heraeus Noblelight, a gasket manufacturer achieved significant savings in energy costs in the curing of powder coatings on a range of sealing gaskets at its manufacturing plant. In addition, the infrared system occupied less than half the space required by the previous gas-fired convection oven and also allowed component throughput to be considerably increased. Because IR ovens in this application are switched on only when needed, there was a significant reduction in energy costs. In addition, curing speed and output increased, as there was no longer a need to wait for the oven to reach temperature before components are passed through. Moreover, the new infrared oven required less than half the space of the old convection oven.
- A manufacturer replaced their inefficient 250kW long-wave heaters for powder curing oven with shortwave twin tube heaters from Heraeus. The retrofitted system provided higher curing temperature, higher production speed and elimination of cold spots on the outline.
- A manufacturing process made use of a gas-heated air oven for powder coating of steel cylinders. The manufacturer upgraded to a Heraeus infrared system. The new system offered rapid heat-up time; more even curing of the powder; low maintenance costs and a reduction in oven size from 30m long to only 6m.
- A compressor manufacturer's process required preheating of the compressors. Their previous means of doing this -- a tunnel oven -- was effective, but higher efficiency was desired. Heraeus Noblelight supplied a solution in the form of fast mediumwave heaters. The new system allowed semiautomatic power control via potentiometers. The quick on/off characteristics of the fast mediumwave heaters made this possible, increasing efficiency and line speed.
- As part of an ongoing upgrade to its facilities, a manufacturer of aluminum and steel signage set a goal of increasing production line speed and quality for the powder coating component. Previously, the sprayed-on powder had been pre-heated by a gas-fired heat system before entering a warm air convection oven for final curing. That system was plagued by maintenance problems. The solution was a purpose-built medium wave infrared oven from Heraeus Noblelight, conveniently retrofitted into the existing powder coating and curing line. The oven helped to speed up the powder coating process, heating the powder faster than the old system. It also reduced the cure dwell time in the convection oven. In addition, quality has improved, as the medium wave heaters provided a uniform flow and fusion of the powders.
- A powder coating process for an electric motor casing with stator package had been using a solvent-based lacquer, with drying by ambient temperature. This system had a number of disadvantages: the use of solvents caused problems with regard to some environmental regulations; the powder coating process required a great deal of energy; and curing time was long. A new infrared system from Heraeus Noblelight allowed use of a non-solvent based lacquer, reduced heat-up time, maintained high throughput and reduced curing time by more than 90%. The systems feature heating zones to accommodate various size casings.
- A manufacturer of vehicle brake pads, shoes and linings wanted to increase production speed in one of the factory's most critical stages of production, the application of an anti-corrosion coating to brake pads. After this epoxy is applied, it must be cured. That time-consuming process caused a production bottleneck. Improved powder coating technology -- employing Heraeus Noblelight Fast Reponse Mediumwave Infrared Heaters -- increased production speed. And because IR technology applies heat only where it is needed, damage to other parts of the product was avoided.
- A major US-based lighting standards manufacturer sought to increase its market share by offering a higher quality product to the marketplace, and to do so without raising prices. The solution was to increase productivity. To help achieve that goal, they turned to Heraeus Noblelight. Heraeus worked with the company's engineers to develop a powdercoating system that cured the finish with medium and shortwave infrared lamps. The new system was far more efficient than the previous paint-and-air-drying process. What's more, the new system eliminated the costs associated with removal of noxious fumes and hazardous waste, and it occupied a smaller footprint in the plant.
- A die casting facility was experiencing bottlenecks in its production due to inherent inefficiency of their gas-fired curing oven. Working closely with the process heating expert application engineers at Heraeus Noblelight, the company replaced the oven with electric infrared heaters. Not only did the infrared system provide more efficient targeting of the heat, but IR's unique properties gave system operators greater flexibility. A four-zone system means that the heat can be precisely applied where and when it is needed.
- A fabricator of perforated metal plates for use in control cabinets was dissatisfied with production time: the powder coating phase of production forced a delay of fifteen minutes to allow the drying and setting of the coating. Consulting the with process heating applications engineers at Heraeus Noblelight, the fabricator installed carbon infrared heaters on the production line. The unique quick-heating properties of IR lamps meant that the powder coating was quickly activated, and the need for holding time was reduced more than 85%, from fifteen minutes to only two.
- As part of its ongoing efforts toward innovating and improving its processes, an internationally acclaimed paints and coatings manufacturer maintains a research and development facility. The facility carries out R&D into coating and finishing operations, and assists customer companies with the optimization of their own processes. Among other components, the test facility includes a powder coating system, a product conveyor system, convection drying ovens, and a medium wave infrared oven from Heraeus Noblelight. The Heraeus IR oven is zoned with mediumwave lamps of varying size, length and power, allowing any number of situations to be tested. The precise control afforded by infrared lamps -- coupled with their quick on/off and heat-up/cool-down properties -- means that testing can be conducted quickly and efficiently. According to the company's project leader, "virtually every powder heating and curing condition which our customers experience" can be simulated in this test environment.
These examples are by no means a complete list of powder coating curing applications for IR heat. Infrared is an effective and efficient means of applying process heat in many other applications.