Save Time and Paint with ProDispense

Manufacturing facilities utilize various types of coatings, some of which are two component paint.   These formulas must be mixed properly in order to properly adhere and perform in the field as designed.  This case study highlights a solution that allowed the customer to maintain tight paint ratios, minimize waste, and remove hand mixing from the process.

Customer

A leading manufacture within the truck and bus industry located in North Carolina.

Challenge

This truck and bus manufacturing facility has multiple paint booths due to their high volume, high quality, and high standards associated with the paint application.  They use a two component primer and paint, and have to maintain automotive quality finish on their production line.  The main paint line utilizes a Graco Proportioning System to dispense on ratio paint to operator; however the offline paint repair/touch up facility still relied on manually mixing (or “hot potting”).  Hot potting tended to be very wasteful as the paint mixed wasn’t always sprayed prior to gelling, or the two parts were mixed off ratio causing imperfections within the finish aesthetics and quality.  Due to hot potting the general work area was considered “messy” as operators were physically hand mixing paint and catalyst out of drums.

Air Power’s Solution

Air Power in partnership with Graco, proposed a solution utilizing the Graco ProDispense platform of product.  This proportioning solution allows the offline operators to mix exactly how much they need for each application on ratio every time. There is no guesswork when it comes to material being mixed or how much is needed, and the work area is self-contained with little to no mess. The offline paint process has become streamlined as the paint operator only has to know how much paint he needs (in liters) and what color.  They select the desired paint volume and color from a custom touch screen user interface. Once selected the exact amount is dispensed and mixed into the paint applicator.  The operator then removes the paint applicator and performs the associated painting task.

Result

Operators are no longer mixing paint by hand.  This alone has saved the company time and money due to costly mistakes associated with the hand mixing process.  The waste output has been reduced due to the ability to accurately and repeatedly meter, mix, and dispense the exact volume of paint in which the operator needs on time and on ratio.  Aesthetically the workspace is much cleaner.  An added benefit to management is the ability to now view, track, and have visibility of paint usage, due to the ProDispense reporting capabilities, within an application which historically has had none.  Allowing for better ontime tracking, shipment, and forecasting.

 

 


 

Graco’s ProDispense is a cost-effective and user-friendly electronic system that dispenses preset amounts of fluids. The ProDispense system allows durable goods manufacturers to quickly and accurately fill cavities with oil, grease, water, or other industrial fluids in assembly line environments where accurate dispensing is essential. ProDispense can deliver up to eight different fluids at multiple dispense points, and accurately measure volume.

  • Consistent fluid dispense
  • Reporting capability tracks volume and usage
  • Easily connects to PLC and barcode scanners
  • Return on investment assures that ProDispense quickly pays for itself
  • User interface provides simple operation and data entry
  • Local or integrated control
  • Manual or automatic dispense
  • Tracks dispense results for process verification

 

 

 

 

 

Gas Catalytic Infrared Pre-Gel Oven Improves Production by 16%

The optimal cure time at Gatormade Trailers was not being achieved by the current curing method.  This was most evident on their largest parts as denoted within the oven temperature profile.  Air Power in conjunction with Heraeus discussed the opportunity and determined that a pre-heat booster oven solution could potential eliminate the challenges observed onsite.  Heraeus conducted trials in which proved successful and installation of the provided system was streamlined; minimizing production downtime.  This solution is modular, allowing for future expansion, should GatorMade Trailers process and production rates deem necessary.  Check out the complete Case Study to learn more about pre-heat and booster oven solutions that Air Power has to offer.

Customer

Gatormade Trailers is a company that prides itself on ‘Big Quality, Big Service & Big Value’. Based in Somerset, Kentucky, the company operates from a 300,000 sq ft factory and manufactures a wide range of trailers from small utility up to their 53 ft long Gooseneck trailer. The company has a policy of constant progress and improvement in all aspects of their business to ensure their products always exceed customer expectations.

Challenge

In 2011, Gatormade Trailers stepped up the heat and invested in a custom built, in-house powder coating facility. Consisting of a 70 ft convection oven, running at 600oF (316oC), it helped the company transform the manufacturing side of the business. They now had full measure over their powder coating and curing processes. This provided a perfect waypoint to drive further quality improvements on an already great product. The heaviest part that they put through the oven weighed in at 9000 lbs and measured 53 ft long. To achieve the required quality of finish, they found that the line speed required slowing from 3 fpm to almost a standstill. This was the only way to ensure that the powder flowed correctly and gave a consistent gloss. But, this ‘Big’ slow down in production was not acceptable to a company with ‘Big’ values and a growing order book. They needed to find a way to get their line speed back up to 3 fpm and still maintain a high quality finish.

 

Solution

Gatormade Trailers got in touch with finishing systems integrator, Air Power Manufacturing Solutions (based in High Point NC), who suggested a Pre Gel Gas Catalytic IR oven from Heraeus-Vulcan Catalytic. Heraeus’ engineers came up with a ‘Big’ solution, a giant, 3-section, 36 heater solution! The heating profile of each section is controlled by a PLC control system which enables different profiles to be created and stored for different product sizes. Each program can be called up as required. During production breaks the complete oven can be switched to a ‘low fire’ condition, which reduces the power output to a minimum, but still maintains the ability to ramped up to the desired output within 60 seconds. This is one of the key features of Heraeus’ ovens and helps to reduce the overall energy consumption.

This Gas Catalytic IR pre-gel oven was placed directly in front of the convection oven, together with a 8′ (2.5m) vestibule. The aim of this configuration is to use the natural characteristics of Infrared to raise the temperature of the powder extremely quickly to the point where it starts to gel. Remember, IR is absorbed very quickly by the powder, and does not require the complete part to heated up to the gelling temperature. By the time the part is leaving the pre-gel oven the powder is at the gel stage. The part then enters the convection oven for the final cure. This process now takes considerably less time and uses less energy.

Results

The addition of a Gas Catalytic IR pre-gel oven to the existing convection oven has transformed the finishing line. They have solved the problem of curing powder on the largest parts. The system also works on every part that goes through, which adds further savings. The production increase of 16%, and reduction in energy costs will ensure a very short ‘payback’ period on the investment. This is expected to be around 18 months.

 

 

 

Source: https://catalyticovens.com/gatormade-trailers-case-study/

Goodbye to Manual Mixing

Introduction

Manufactures underground boring equipment for gas and water lines. Used “hot potting” or manually mixed 2 paint components to be able to spray two colors: yellow and black.

Background

This company has one booth for top coating and would manually mix the black and yellow paints. It took well over an hour to change out the colors. Parts being fabricated were staged all over the plant waiting to be painted. Due to backlog and space contingencies, some items were forced to be stored outside. Rainy days would slow down the process even more.

Air Power Solution

Air Power, Inc. suggested using a Graco Promix 2KE with gun flush box and utilize drum pumps they already had. Mixing on demand out of a 55 gallon drum of each component, improved the ability to change colors in less time than it takes to bring a new part to be coated.

Dispense Robot Solution

 

Dispense Robot Solution

 

Our Engineering Department at Air Power, Inc. turned a FANUC robot arm into this automated fluid dispense system.

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