Archives for March 2013

Powder Coating Ovens – How To Choose

powder coating oven

A Modern Efficient Gas Catalytic Infrared Powder Coating Oven

If your company is involved in powder coating products and parts, then you will either be subcontracting the work out, or will have your own in house powder coating oven. Alternatively, you may be thinking of moving from a liquid finish to a powder finish. Whatever your situation, the drive for cutting the cost of manufacturing is ever present, so this article will outline the various powder coating oven technologies available, to help you choose either a new system, or upgrade your existing facility.

Liquid or Powder Finish?

The move from liquid to powder is well established. The advantages of powder over liquid can be summarized as follows:

  • A powder coated finish is significantly tougher than a liquid finish.
  • Over spray losses for liquid finishes can be as much as 75%.
  • Around 80% of liquid finishes used in the USA are solvent based and present environmental issues.
  • Even aqueous based finishes still contain some solvents contained within the resin structure
  • The storage and transportation of liquid finishes requires the use of IBC’s (Intermediate Bulk Containers). These require special handling and storage techniques.
  • Overall, powder finishes represent a more cost effective way to getting a better finish.

Powder Coating Oven Choices

The current available technologies are:

  • Gas Fired Convection (batch or conveyor line)

    An Old Radiant Gas Oven

    An Old Radiant Gas Oven

    • Advantages
      • Least expensive capital cost
      • Suitable for complex geometry parts
    • Disadvantages
      • Inefficient
      • Expensive to run
      • Large floor space required
      • Due to long start up time, cannot be shut down during breaks in production
      • Produces noxious gases
      • High carbon footprint
      • Very large batch sizes required
      • Not particularly suited to heat sensitive substrates
  • Gas Radiant

    • Advantages
      • High heat intensity
    • Disadvantages
      • Expensive to run
      • Inefficient
      • Produces noxious gases
      • High carbon footprint
      • Not particularly suited to heat sensitive substrates
  • Gas Catalytic Infrared

    • Advantages
      • 50% less expensive to run
      • Short ROI (Return On Investment)
      • Improved quality and consistency of finish
      • No noxious gases produced
      • 50% smaller floor footprint
      • Highly controllable
      • Allows small batch sizes
      • Ideal for Lean Manufacturing
      • Proven on heat sensitive substrates
    • Disadvantages
      • Initial cost 50% higher than convection
  • Electric Infrared

    • Advantages
      • High heat intensity
      • Highly controllable
    • Disadvantages
      • Very high capital cost
      • Very high cost of running (4 x cost of gas per kW)

How to Choose

Perhaps the most important factor to consider when purchasing a new powder coating oven, is the initial Return On Investment (ROI). Then, the long term cost of operation. Do your calculations carefully, talk to as many different operators of the different technologies as you can. It is vitally important to run trials of your products. Do not forget to factor in the ongoing “Total Cost of Quality”. Lastly do not forget to consider the overall reduction in your Carbon Footprint.

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