Increase Transfer Efficiency

 

Challenge

Customer was looking to improve transfer efficiency on their automated spindle machine spraying primer on various size metal housings.   The existing system utilizes one spray gun set a considerable distance from the parts.  This causes excessive overspray and waste.  Customer also wanted to go from using 55 gallon drums to 5 gallon pails due to settling and solvent flash off in the primer.  The 55 gallon drum sits for around 4 months.  The viscosity needed to be regularly checked and adjusted.

 

Before Before 2

 

 

 

 

 

Air Power’s Solution

Equipment utilized – Graco fixed automatic spray guns coupled to a Graco dual regulated pressure pot with agitation.  All controlled via an Air Power custom designed pneumatic control panel for system optimization and performance.

Air Power, Inc. proposed replacing their single gun setup with two guns.  These guns will be mounted on mounts that can be adjusted to effectively cover the various size parts.  This will minimize the amount of overspray and improve the transfer efficiency of the system.  The controls for this system will be contained in a centralized control box.  Fluid supply will utilize a 5 gallon pressure tank.  This will allow the operator to place a 5 gallon bucket of primer into the tank.  This system will be enclosed to minimize solvent flash off.  This will help improve the consistency of the coating as it will not need to be constantly adjusted.  The paint supply will also be exhausted in roughly a week now.  This will allow fresh primer to be sprayed, also improving consistency.

 

Results

  • Customer experienced increased transfer efficiency which saved them money by minimizing the amount of overspray and waste. It also reduced the amount of filtration they were purchasing due to the reduced overspray saving them time and money.
  • Customer reduced solvent flash off due to the switch from 55 gallon to 5 gallon pail saving the operator time from adding additional solvent to the 55 gallon drums.

 

Air Power Solution Air Power Solution

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clamping with QX

Manufacturing defects are expensive and removing these errors prior to equipment leaving the production floor is an achievable result when utilizing the proper assembly equipment.  In the below case study, implementing proper tooling resulted in a significant reduction in warranty, service work, and recalls.

Customer

A global manufacturer of grain and sugar cane harvesters located within the Southeastern United States.

 

Challenge: Warranty, Service Work, and Recalls

During the manufacturing process; a sub assembly cell was responsible for proper tightening of fluid hose clamps.  The specified torque and angle of these hose clamps was not being achieved by current in plant tooling.  This failure was a direct result of joint conditioning and relaxation associated with the hose clamp tightening process.  In order to confirm clamps were properly tightened a manual QC measure was put into place in order to catch the issue prior to units leaving for in field use.   However, manual processes are reliant on operator execution and improperly tightened units continued to leave the production floor incorrect.  This issue was exaggerated once units reached final destinations for use within the field, as inadequate torqued hose clamps, were continuing to loosen causing costly warranty, recall, and infield technician repairs.

Air Power’s Solution

In partnership with the customer, Air Power implemented an Ingersoll Rand QX Precision fastening System. The hand held, battery operated, transducerized tooling solution provided an accurate final torque, while providing the operators with tightening status feedback, actual torque values, and 1,200 rundowns of tightening data for review.  A proper torque strategy was developed allowing the hose clamp to be properly torqued, relaxed (conditioned), then final torqued; all within a single trigger pull delivered by the operator.  The need for a manual QC measure was removed as the torque data was verified, tracked, and retained by the manufacturing facility for spot check and validation.

 

Ingersoll Rand QX Series Right Angle Wrench

Result

Currently, thirteen (13) right angle tools are being utilized within this facility allowing production to reach new heights of process control.  Proper tightening of the hose clamps, torque data retention, and date/time stamping have reduced warranty, service work, and those costly infield technician repairs.  The Air Power solution ensures that product leaving the production floor is assembled correctly, the first time.

 

 

Paint Kitchen Automation Cleans up Inefficient Mess for Equipment Finisher

 

Graco E-Flo DC Pump

Graco E-Flo DC Pump

 

This case study demonstrates how the Graco Intelligent Paint Kitchen can improve the painting process by decreasing production downtime, lowering production costs and increasing process efficiency.

Customer

Heavy-duty lift truck equipment finisher.

Challenge

 

The maintenance manager at a heavy-duty lift truck equipment finisher was left with someone else’s mess. The paint room supervisor had designed a paint kitchen for a 24-hour operation, only to leave when production changed to five days a week. With no one taking ownership of the paint room, inefficiency took over.

• Friday afternoons, the paint room attendant shut down the paint circulation, air compressor and pneumatic agitators.
• Monday mornings, they lost at least six carriers of parts and more than an hour of production time, because material had settled in the paint lines over the weekend.

Circulating the paint on the weekends meant running a 500-horse power (HP) air compressor. The energy cost savings seemed to outweigh the cost of lost parts.

 

Solution

 

The maintenance manager consulted his local distributor, who wasn’t sure how to handle the situation. The equipment they had was sound; it just didn’t provide the flexibility they needed. Their Graco account representative offered an out-of-the-box solution. The Intelligent Paint Kitchen (IPK), powered by the E-Flo DC 4-Ball Piston Pump, could allow them to reduce downtime, save on energy costs, and remotely monitor the paint room. Some of their existing equipment could even be repurposed in the new set up.

Results

 

The Graco Intelligent Paint Kitchen system automated the paint room and made their production schedule more flexible. Electric equipment avoided air compressor costs, and allowed them to keep the paint circulating during non-production times. With presets and remote monitoring controlling the paint room, efficiency is the new norm.

• Friday afternoons, the paint room attendant sets equipment on sleep mode.
• Monday mornings, production starts smoothly without loss of parts, downtime or rework.

With the help of remote monitoring, the maintenance manager now spends less time with production supervision. Their newfound efficiency allows them to
take on and scale back production as needed without overextending their resources.

 

 

 

 

Air Power Partnered with Graco on this case.

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Ergonomics and Quality Control to New Heights

 
Manufacturers of passenger transportation systems make every effort to exceed in safety intelligence within the industry. This case study demonstrates safety improvements, as well as, operator ergonomic advantages, in an effort to decrease facility liability.

Customer

 
Manufacturer of vertical transportation systems.

Challenge

 
Operators manually load and unload valves utilizing an older pneumatic torque tool. The current tool utilized within production was non-shut off and provided no verification of installation. The operator was responsible for assuming the proper socket and torque combination capable for a successful installation. The inability to measure torque accurately resulted in an inconsistent quality of final product with no verification that it was done properly. In addition, this application proved labor intensive and was the cause of concern for operator safety and ergonomics.

Solution

 
Air Power implemented a custom Ingersoll Rand DC Electric Assemble tool, integrated into a GCI torque reaction arm, with a pneumatic clamping fixture omitting operator strain and removal before completion. Custom sockets were provided to insure precise fit.  The custom fixtured Ingersoll Rand DC Electric tool was coupled with a front end Norbar Multiplier producing actual real time torque verification and discreet I/O output, which was coupled with an Air Power provided PLC to monitor torque and track data usage.

 

 

Results

 

The solution realized by Air Power created a torque verified product that allowed for a safer work environment and smoother process for the operator. All build requirements can now be monitored, tracked and viewed through a transparent build as a result of system implementation.

 

 

 

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/

Can You Color Change Too Fast?

Manufacturing facilities strive to improve the quality of their finish while reducing color changeover time in an effort to produce the most desirable product quickly. In this study we will discuss the importance of recognizing every company’s desire to improve in these areas and how improvements can be made within a custom powder coating operation.

Customer

 

A local wheel remanufacturer and custom coater located within North Carolina.

Challenge

 

This facility was constantly losing valuable production time due to quality rejections.  Once rejected, the part was reworked and coated a second time.  This caused a cumulative effect on both powder usage and man hours proving rework within this facility a high cost and overhead factor.  In addition, the existing manner of color change resulted in the facilities inability to keep up with current workload. Daily operation consisted of: 4 main colors, an occasional “custom” color, and a clear coat.

Air Power’s Solution

 

Air Power proposed a Gema OptiFlex 2 Wall Unit with multiple dedicated fluidizing hoppers.  These fluidizing hoppers are plumbed for the 4 main colors.  A Gema cup gun was provided for the “custom” colors and clear coat. Air Power was able to provide an onsite demo at the customers facility allowing the customer to test, prove, and inspect the proposed solution prior to investment.  The improvement in both quality product output and line throughput was dramatic.  In addition, the facility was impressed with Gema’s five (5) year manufacturer’s warranty and Air Powers local support and service.

 

Result

 

The immediate improvement was first observed within the finish quality which was noticed within the existing customer base.  Due to this improvement, repeat business was observed more readily and additional customers were earned, growing an ever increasing need for a more expansive customer base. Even though workload was increased, production never had to slow down. The quick color change system, with dedicated pump/hose combination, allowed operation to change color quickly removing the former bottleneck.   An added benefit of the system was the removal of pre-heating parts to achieve powder thickness and build.  This result was observed due to Gema’s industry leading transfer efficiency, new found operator control, and recipe programing within the system.

Can you color change too fast?  If you ask this custom coater the answer is no; and their ability to change colors faster with an increase in finish quality has taken the operation to new heights.

 

OptiFlex 2 Wall Unit color change system

 

Gema Gun with Cup for small and test batches

 

 

Tire Lifting Solution Case Study

Material Handling Need

Aircraft Tire/Wheel shop activities require significant handling of large aircraft tires and rims weighing up to several hundred pounds.  Handling these assets by manual means/methods had resulted in several serious injuries, culminating in lost work days and long-term medical impact on shop personnel and worker well-being.

Original Process:  Two to Three operators required to lift C5 aircraft tire from pallet position, stacked up to four(4) levels high and onto rim assembly.  Assembly was then lifted from horizontal position to vertical in order to be rolled into rack staging area.

Tire Lift weight: 400 pounds+

Tire Size:  44”-56” outside diameter(OD), 17”-20” width

Air Power Solution

Upon review of operations, AirPower solution consisting of aluminum overhead rail, bridge crane to suspend one (1) manipulator for the tire lift process, and one (1) bridge to suspend a pneumatic hoist for the F15 Rim process for the original C5 aircraft application. C5 Solution installed in 2013.

Due to increase in the C130 aircraft process requirements, Air Power was contacted to provide an additional solution for the C130 unit in September 2015.

An additional bridge was added, to allow processing for the larger C130 tire application (tires in excess of 400lbs) to allow pickup, positioning and processing of these components.

Air Power Inc provided a TurnKey solution for both C5, and C130 tire applications.

 

Results

Implementation will reduce injuries, enhance efficiency, improve quality and ergonomics in the support of the war fighter mission.

“An effective and user-friendly solution that was way overdue” –Bobby Munda, WRAFB 402MXE

“Awesome, absolutely awesome!” –Candace Lauderdale, Safety Specialists, WRAFB

Original Pick Up Method Pick Up Solution Original Set Down Method Tire Set Down Solution

QX Drives Quality

Challenge

In order to distinguish themselves within the marketplace the current method of assembly: non shut-off impacts, clutch tools, and hand wrenches, was not satisfactory. Examination by Quality Control Engineers revealed that some critical fasteners were working themselves loose during shipment and installation. Implementing an accurate solution to provide operator feedback and data collection was deemed necessary.

Air Power Solution

In partnership with the customer, Air Power implemented an Ingersoll Rand QX Precision Fastening System. This hand held, battery operated, solution provided a much more accurate final torque, while providing the operators with tightening status feedback, actual torque values, and 1,200 rundowns of tightening data for manual upload and review.

 

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.