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

Powder Coating Oven Makes Light Work

Gas Catalytic IR Powder Coating Oven

Custom Light Fixture Manufacturer Chooses Gas Catalytic IR

Lumetta, based in Warwick RI, manufactures custom designed light fittings for the hotel and restaurant industry. Previously, the powder coating of the steel and aluminum products was out-sourced. Although quality was good, damage in transportation and a weeks processing time meant that a different approach would be required if end user lead time was to be reduced. Lumetta decided it was time to get their own Powder Coating Oven. The two oven solution suggested by Heraeus required a Gas Catalytic IR dry off (after washing) and a Gas Catalytic IR final cure
oven (after powder application) together with an overhead conveyor to allow continuous flow. The complete system takes up less than 3,000 sq ft and requires only two operators. Lumetta can now fabricate, powder coat and ship on the same day, if required. Faster inventory turns, lower costs and very happy customers are just a few of the advantages of adopting Gas Catalytic IR technology from Heraeus.

“The flexibility that the new Gas Catalytic Ovens has provided us with means that we can now de-gas our die castings as well as powder coat our main volume product. The move to continuous flow from batch
production has resulted in shorter lead times and reduced operating costs. The ability to react quickly to customer’s needs is transforming our business. Our costs have been significantly reduced whilst producing a high quality product. Everybody is a winner including the most important person, the customer!”

Bill Pritchett (Owner of Lumetta)

Gas Catalytic IR Powder Coating Oven Reduces Costs

Powder Coating Oven For Saw Blades

Cutting Edge Company Doubles Business

Die Cast Connections of Chicopee MA, custom coats hundreds of thousands of hacksaw and reciprocating saw blades every week by using a powder coating oven. With business forecast to double, a move from a hand spray, batch oven type of production to a continuous, conveyor layout was required. Even though the coating on a cutting blade will wear off with use, the need for a good quality powder coated finish is essential to enable:

  • Screen printing of brand logo
  • Product presentation within retail packaging
  • Damage free transportation

“A 30 ft Gas Catalytic IR Oven from Heraeus proved to be the answer. The system is capable of curing yellow, black, green, white and silver powders within a 4 minute cure cycle. An added requirement is the need to pass die cast products through the same oven to eliminate out gassing. A task which the new Gas Catalytic IR oven handles with ease.”

Beth Zastawny (Owner of Die Cast Connections)

Heraeus Vulcan Attends FabTech 2014

Fabtech-logoHeraeus Vulcan will be attending Fabtech 2014 (November 11th – 13th) in Atlanta, Georgia

Booth B634

Visitors will be able be to talk to our Sales Engineers about the following aspects of Industrial Gas Catalytic IR heating systems, including:

 

Gas Catalytic IR Pre Gel Oven

Gas Catalytic IR Pre Gel Oven

So why not drop by booth B634 and found out how we can help you:

 

  • Create Powder Coating Capacity without increasing your shop floor footprint

  • Add the latest Powder Coating technology to your existing capability

  • Save up to 50% on your existing energy costs

  • Improve the quality of your finished product

 

Doughty Engineering Ltd. – Flexible Powder Coating System – Case Study

Doughty_Logo - cmyk

New Powder Coating System Improves Response Time

Doughty Engineering is the world leader in the design and manufacture of rigging, suspension and lifting equipment for the film, TV and theatre industry. Prior to installing a new powder coating system, the company outsourced all their powder coating to two subcontractors. Whilst they were generally happy with service that was offered; typical turnaround time was anything from 2 days to a week. However, it became  clear to Doughty Engineering that over the last 5 years,  customers were becoming more demanding. They were holding less stock and so expected suppliers to hold large stocks and offer short lead times. Maintaining large stocks was not the answer, especially when there are 100’s of products. However, the converse was not an option either. If a customer called for a part and it was not in stock, they would simply phone up another supplier. This created the risk of losing hard won business to competitors.

Doughty_parts

So the ability to become much more flexible and responsive became important. The answer was to bring 95% of their powder coating “in-house”. Working with systems house Junair (Spraybooths) Ltd,  Gema UK and Caldan conveyors, the optimum system was designed and implemented. For the oven, Heraeus Vulcan Gas Catalytic IR technology was chosen due to its superior energy efficiency, small footprint, and improved finish quality over conventional convection technology.


Powder Coating System


What Happened Next?

The system has now been running faultlessly since February 2014. Key improvements  are:

  • 10% operating cost saving
  • Increased throughput
  • Considerably reduced  lead times
  • Three hours not unusual
  • Rush jobs in custom colours carried out “While You Wait”
  • Improved quality
  • Increased capacity
  • Customer retention maintained
  • Production easier to manage

Stephen Wright a Director of Doughty Engineering Ltd. said:


“Apart from the reduction in operating costs and the improvement in quality; the intangible benefits such as improved customer service and the ability to be more responsive will help us maintain existing and gain new customers. The new powder coating system has surpassed our expectations and made an immediate difference to our business”


Powder Coating Ovens – Fabtech

Fabtech-logo

In-Source Your Powder Coating

Vulcan Catalytic Systems will be showing the latest in powder coating ovens – Fabtech 2013 (Nov 18 – Nov 21), on stand S5470 . Also, on Wednesday, Nov 20th, Mike Chapman, President of Vulcan, will be giving a talk on: C81 – Efficient Curing with Infrared for Industrial Finishing in Room S404A,  from 10:30 AM-12:30 PM. Mike will be describing  the benefits and applications of catalytic infrared pre-gel and cure ovens for powder coating.

Lean Powder Coating Line

Lean Powder Coating Line

The talk will offer advice for those companies who currently outsource their powder coating requirements and are considering in-sourcing. He will be covering the following aspects of Gas Catalytic Infrared Powder Coating:

  • The significant energy and time savings that gas catalytic infrared can achieve when compared to:
    • Conventional convection ovens
    • Electric infrared ovens
  • The use of Pre Gel Ovens, used in conjunction with a convection oven, especially on heavy, fabricated parts
  • How Gas Catalytic Infrared can be incorporated into a Lean Manufacturing powder coating program.

Powder Coating OvenPowder Coating Oven

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.

Energy Efficient Powder Coating System – Case Study

Working with our distributor in the Czech Republic, Surfin s.r.o, Heraeus Vulcan designed a new energy efficient powder coating system for Dikrt spol. s r.o. . The system is designed to cure powder on large agricultural parts, and the performance of the oven has exceeded expectation. Mr Weikert, the company’s owner stated:

“It used to take 70 minutes to cure our parts with the old convection oven. With the new Vulcan oven, it now takes only 12 minutes! We are very satisfied with its performance!”

energy efficient powder coating system

Large Parts Curing in Record Time in Energy Efficient Powder Coating System

Energy Efficient Powder Coating System

View of Energy Efficient Powder Coating System

How Did We Do It?

Working with our distributor in the Czech Republic, Jaroslav Blazek of Surfin s.r.o., the customer was able to see an existing Heraeus Vulcan system at another location and carry out part testing. Heraeus Vulcan then designed the powder coating oven to meet the customer’s requirements using SolidWorks. Heraeus Vulcan then provided Surfin s.r.o with a package that included the sheet metal design, the Heraeus Vulcan infrared heaters and the controls. To see a video on how Heraeus Vulcan designs and builds ovens, please follow the link.
The system was then easily constructed at the Surfin factory, with the sheet metal parts being produced locally from the SolidWorks files. The new energy efficient powder coating system was then installed and commissioned at the customer’s site within a few days.

Advantages of a Energy Efficient Powder Coating System from Heraeus Vulcan

All Heraeus Vulcan energy efficient powder coating systems operate using the principles of gas catalytic infrared heating. This type of system has an energy to effective heat conversion ratio of 85%, compared to traditional convection oven which is only 5% – 7% efficient. In practical operation this results in curing  taking a third less time in a gas catalytic infrared oven than a gas fired convection oven. This translates into significantly reduced energy bills.
The flameless nature of our systems means that there is no noxious emissions such as Nitric Oxide or Nitrogen Dioxide, so Heraeus Vulcan ovens are environmentally friendly.

If you would like more information on our energy efficient powder coating systems, then please contact John Martin (john.martin@heraeus.com) for USA enquiries or Ian Bartley (ian.bartley@heraeus.com) for UK and Europe.

Wheel Refurbishment Case Study

wheel refurbishing

Read the full article here

New Wheel Refurbishment Powder Coating Plant Delivers!

Snider Fleet Solutions in Greensboro, N.C. supplies tires, retreads and vehicle services to the transportation industry. The company operates a growing auto and truck wheel refurbishment service in Bluffton, Ind.

Until 3 years ago the company utilized a single convection oven that limited production to 3,000 wheels per month. They were also experiencing very high utility bills. Dave Double, Plant Manager at Snider Fleet Solutions needed a more flexible and cost effective solution. Dave carried out his research and concluded that Vulcan Catalytic Systems (now Heraeus Vulcan) was the best choice for revamping their systems.

So, the company installed a Vulcan (now Heraeus Vulcan) Gas Catalytic Infrared Powder Coating Oven to keep up with the growing demand for wheel refurbishment. They also adopted a new overhead track from Nikotrack, which incorporated staging areas to provide flexibility in the routeing of parts through the system. This layout adopts a Lean Manufacturing approach, which ensures flexibility in batch sizes, to ensure that product is completed according the “pull” of the customer.

Wheel Refurbishment

Wheel Refurbishment Powder Coating Oven

Overall, the new system has helped production to triple with the line currently running around the clock, powder coating 9,500 wheels per month, with the capacity to exceed 10,000 wheels per month.
The full Wheel Refurbishment Case Study , published in Powder Coating Magazine, can be read here.

If your company is involved in any form of powder coating, and needs to reduce its energy bills and increase production capacity and flexibility, then please contact Heraeus Vulcan to discuss your requirements.

Lean Powder Coating – Focus on Curing Technology

Lean powder coatingLean manufacturing is here to stay. It has been around for over 50 years and many companies have really started to implement Lean in a big way. Very often the results are  immediate and when implemented correctly, gains continue to be made. Long term commitment and  implementation delivers  far reaching changes that ensure future competitiveness in an ever changing, more competitive business landscape. This article focuses on how Lean Manufacturing philosophy applies when considering  powder curing technology. In particular gas catalytic infrared versus convection curing. It will be of interest to any company with powder coating ovens and is intending to or is already following the Lean path.  Other aspects such as powder application, quick color changes and powder reclamation are extremely important but  are already being addressed by the major providers in this field (Gema, Nordson, Wagner etc.).

Identifying the Lean Wastes – Continuous Flow and Batch Production

There are two main production systems for powder coating; continuous flow and batch production. The Lean wastes are generally common to both, except that there are other significant differences which require careful investigation and will be covered in a later article. This article focuses on the major differences between the leading technologies in curing, from a Lean Manufacturing perspective.

First let us consider what we are trying to achieve by reviewing the seven (eight including Energy) wastes identified by Lean.

The main aim is to reduce the following Lean Wastes within any manufacturing plant.

  • Transport (moving products unnecessarily)
  • Inventory (Work In Progress over and above what is actually needed to complete orders in hand)
  • Motion (people or equipment moving or walking more than is required)
  • Waiting (People or energy consuming processes waiting for parts or parts waiting for people or energy consuming processes)
  • Overproduction (production ahead of demand)
  • Over Processing (doing more to the product than is required)
  • Defects (the effort involved in inspecting and fixing defects or scrapping parts)
  • Energy (Unnecessary use of energy in the production process)

 Implications for Lean Powder Coating

When the 8 wastes identified above are applied to conventional gas fired convection curing ovens, the following issues become obvious:

Issue Lean Waste
  • Initial oven start up can take up to an hour
  • Waiting, Energy
  • Conventional ovens are not responsive to breaks in production and run at full load without any parts curing
  • Waiting, Energy
  • In order to reduce oven operating times, there is a tendency to produce ahead of demand
  • Over Production, Inventory
  • Conventional ovens have high airflow causing powder blow off and cross contamination
  • Defects
  • Convection ovens are inherently inefficient (5% – 7% of heat produced is used to cure powder)
  • Energy

So, it is clear that there are significant drawbacks to using conventional gas fired convection oven in a Lean Manufacturing environment. They are inefficient, unresponsive to changes in production load or requirements and tend to be either on and consuming energy or off with no intermediate control available.

The Lean Powder Coating Curing Oven Solution

Lean Powder Coating Oven

Lean Powder Coating Oven

If convection oven curing is not the correct technology for companies serious about Lean, then what is the correct technology? Infrared technology has been available for over 20 years and is available in two forms.

Electric Infrared

Electric Infrared ticks all the Lean boxes in terms of controlability, but has two major drawbacks. Firstly cost; electricity is around four times as expensive as gas and can generally be ruled out on this fact alone. Secondly, the infrared that is emitted is short wavelength, which is not as easily absorbed by organic materials such as powder.

Gas Catalytic Infrared

Gas catalytic infrared is truly the lean powder coating solution:

  • Catalytic infrared hits the “sweet spot” when it comes to absorption by organic materials
  • Catalytic infrared is controllable.
    • During production breaks the oven can be put into “Lo Fire” mode (20% of maximum output)
    • The oven can be split into individually controlled zones to suit parts
    • Each zone is infinitely variable between 20% – 100% output
  • Size. A gas catalytic infrared oven has a footprint around 50% that of a convection oven.
  • Efficiency. Gas Catalytic Infrared is around 85% efficient at converting energy into usable heat.
  • Cure time is generally one third that of a convection oven.
  • Less air movement within the oven means less powder blow off and improved finish quality

So in conclusion it is clear to see that gas catalytic infrared technology addresses all the Lean Waste issues that are raised by the use of a conventional convection oven, and why those companies involved in powder coating and wish to go Lean, should give serious consideration to a Gas Catalytic Infrared solution.

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