Powder Coated Timber in the Construction Industry

Powder Coated Timber in the Construction Industry

How Gas Catalytic IR technology from Heraeus has enabled a unique breakthrough in the construction industry

 

Powder Coated Timber

It is often said that brilliant ideas are 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Jeff Stewart, co-founder of Climate Coating Ltd, found his 1% whilst watching a large wooden wall being painted single handed by a weary decorator. If it were a steel section wall, Jeff would have powder coated it, so why not try powder coating timber to see if it worked? Then the 99% perspiration kicked in and Jeff joined up with Kyle True from the timber industry, and the rest, together with ground breaking technology from Heraeus (formerly Vulcan Catalytic Systems) is history. One of the primary problems with powder coating a timber substrate is its heat sensitivity. The time required to cure powder in a conventional hot air oven (20 – 30 minutes) would cause significant damage to the timber. The creative solution was to use Gas Catalytic IR. The IR waves are easily absorbed by the powder which will now cure (7 – 10 minutes), without overheating the substrate. The result is a patented process that is having a big impact in the construction industry.

As the world population continues to increase, the need for sustainable, low waste, energy efficient commercial and residential buildings has become a necessity. The founders of Climate Coating Ltd. in New Zealand have pioneered and patented innovative methods of creating powder coated surfaces on plywood, MDF and plasterboard. The majority of these products can be fitted without any further finishing requirements and are available pre-cut to size and in many colours. They include:

  • Pre coated plasterboard for walls and ceilings
  • Decorative MDF board for commercial fit-out
  • Moisture resistant exterior grade plywood
  • Pre primed exterior finishes that do not need to be finished for up to 3 months

So how do Climate Coating Ltd.’s products contribute to the drive for sustainability? The answer is multi layered and is evidenced not just by the product itself and its place in the market, but also by the innovative, energy efficient method of manufacture.

Product Advantages

The advantages of pre-finished products themselves are self-evident. By creating pre-finished and pre-sized materials that are commonly found in every type of construction, the reduced need for wet trades (brick laying, plastering and painting) has a significant impact on building lead time. Delays due to weather, material supply and waste are all but eliminated. Consider the number of half used tins of paint and wasted bags of plaster that are commonly seen on building sites! The products are also ideal for the pre-fabricated building industry.

Manufacturing Advantages

Dig down deeper, and further very significant advantages can be discovered. As Climate Coating Ltd pre-finish the board materials in a purpose built factory, the efficiencies of having a precisely controlled process means that waste is virtually eliminated and a consistent level of quality control is achieved which far surpasses that which can be accomplished “on site”.

One of the vital elements of the production system is the use of Gas Catalytic IR ovens to efficiently cure the applied powder on the chosen substrate. The system, designed in conjunction with world leaders Heraeus (formerly Vulcan Catalytic Systems) has proven to be a wise choice. The systems produced by Heraeus have proven to be the most controllable, energy efficient powder coat curing solutions available today.

The powder curing system details are as follows:

  • Two coat system
  • 2 PLC controlled Gas Catalytic ovens (2 section preheat and 5 section main cure)
  • 300m2 per hour output
  • Space saving design has small footprint
  • Programmable to control the heat output horizontally and vertically through the oven
  • Perfect cure obtained by using only the exact amount of required Infra-Red.

What Climate Coating Ltd say about Heraeus:

“Having the world leading industrial IR process heating guys on board from the outset was an inspired choice on our part. Their in-depth knowledge and experience was key in enabling the Climate Coating Ltd concept to become a reality”

Kyle True (MD Climate Coating Ltd [climatesurfaces.com])

Key Product Points

  • Sustainable, no VOC’s produced in manufacture
  • Extremely high level of quality control that is unachievable “on site”
  • On site wet trades eliminated
  • Ideal for pre-fabricated buildings

Key Gas Catalytic IR powder curing points

  • Measurable and consistent process
  • Highly controllable (PLC) and adaptable
  • High quality finish
  • Energy efficient process
  • Small footprint

Lean MDF Powder Coating – Case Study

Lean MDF Powder Coating Oven

Happy Customers!

If there are still sceptics out there about Lean Manufacturing, the please read this Lean MDF Powder Coating Case Study!
Some time ago we were contacted by Bells Powder Coating in Massachusetts. They had just gone through a Lean Manufacturing Program, and the savings allowed them to invest and expand. They chose to move into powder coating MDF, and bought a specialist Gas Catalytic Infrared oven from Vulcan Catalytic Systems (now Heraeus Vulcan). Here are a few of the Before and After comment from Bells Powder Coating:

Before:

  • “Half a million $ in lost revenue”
  • “Another half million $ in work going offshore”
  • “We needed to get a handle on costs right away”
  • “Competition was intense”
  • “We wanted to move into hot new markets, like powder coated medium density fiberboard (MDF)”
  • “Return on investment was too long”
  • “At about $98,000 per year, our natural gas bill was a huge expense”

After:

  • “Increased productivity by 7%”
  • “Reduced costs by $70,000”
  • “Winning business back from China”
  • “Able to take a second look at launching the MDF product line”
  • “The Vulcan Catalytic (now Heraeus Vulcan) oven alone saved us $27,000 per year”
  • “15 companies interested in our powder coated MDF, through word of mouth alone”
  • “I haven’t even begun to advertise yet!”

Lean MDF Powder Coating

The added benefits of the MDF Powder Coating oven from Heraeus Vulcan, which is perfect for use in a Lean Manufacturing environment, means the benefits are multiplied, as they can make best use of the Lean advantages that an oven from Heraeus Vulcan can offer.

Wait till we tell them about the advances in single coat technology for MDF.

But I suspect they already know!

Heraeus Vulcan Leads the way

Heraeus Vulcan are the undisputed experts in MDF powder coating, having built the two largest, high production ovens in the world. Recent full production trials in Slovakia, ran faultlessly, with 0% defects. The trial only came to a halt when part production could not keep up with the powder coating line, and they ran out of parts to powder coat!

Please contact us for further information.

 

MDF Powder Coating – Single Coat Technology Advances

The technology for MDF Powder Coating has been around for quite some time now. A number of companies around the world have been successful in creating MDF powder coating lines that can produce a quality finish and ensure repeat-ability. Heraeus Vulcan has been the leader in creating the oven curing technology in this field and has at least 6 large capacity oven systems installed worldwide. Such MDF powder coating systems require a primer and top coat. The aim of the primer being to seal the cut edges to create an edge that does not crack or split during the curing process. This problem has been exacerbated by variations in the quality of MDF used and its moisture content.  MDF Powder Coating Case Studies

MDF Powder Coating samples

MDF Powder Coating samples

What perhaps is little known is the nature of the finish that is being produced. Generally, the finish is textured to a lesser or greater degree.  This finish is generally very good, and can be used on a wide range of products, however,  when placed in a high humidity atmosphere, the problem of edge cracking becomes all too real.
Although MDF powder coating using textured finishes has its uses, it has not able to compete with a product that has been liquid coated. Such products have can have a uniform smooth finish, with varying levels of gloss. However, the disadvantages of liquid coating over powder relate to environmental, production cost and performance which 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.
  • In order to create a smooth finish, cut edges require one or two primer coats, smooth surfaces require at least one primer coat, before the final top coat is applied.
  • The extra part handling operations that are involved during the finishing process simply add cost to the finished part.
  • Liquid finishes still suffer from the problem of edge cracking in a high humidity atmosphere which makes them unsuitable for bathroom furniture.

One Coat MDF Powder Coating  – Heraeus Vulcan Leads the Way

The ‘holy grail’ in MDF powder coating and finishing is for a single coat, low temperature cure, smooth powder finish system, which will pass the any high humidity industry standard test irrespective of the quality and moisture content of the MDF substrate. Heraeus Vulcan have been instrumental in developing such a production system and high humidity testing thus far has proven to be outstanding. The end result is a system which  will open new market possibilities and enables those involved in MDF Powder coating  to  significantly reduce  production costs:

  • Over spray losses significantly reduced and waste powder can be collected and recycled.
  • Powder can be easily and more cheaply transported and handled in boxes.
  • Storage conditions less critical.
  • Easier handling on shop floor.
  • One coat system means part handling and labor costs can be reduced by up to 75%.
High Capacity MDF Powder Coating Oven

High Capacity MDF Powder Coating Oven

Vulcan Catalytic Systems (now Heraeus Vulcan) has spent more than eight years working with industry leaders in this field to develop a one coat MDF powder coating system that  industry is demanding. This research and development carried out by Heraeus Vulcan, shows our commitment and worldwide leadership in developing oven curing systems  for this and many other applications. If you have a potential powder coating application and need advice, then please contact us.

Vulcan Catalytic Systems © 2012–Present  |  All Rights Reserved  |  Admin
Website Network Setup Toni Mills Graphic Design | Content & SEO - Chris Chapman