Compressed air is readily available and simple-to-use, but it can be the most expensive form of energy in your application. Air leaving a compressor can also be dirty, and depending on the outside temperature, can contain moisture. The presence of moisture in the air line can damage and shorten the life of downstream equipment, such as pneumatic tools and Liquid/Powder spray equipment. Unregulated or improper air pressure can result in increased compressed air demand, which results in increased energy consumption. Excessive pressure can also increase equipment wear, resulting in higher maintenance costs and shorter tool life. Before compressed air can be used it should be Filtered, Regulated and in some applications, Lubricated.
Filters clean compressed air. Compressed air can carry condensed water, oil carryover from compressors, solid impurities (dirt and rust) generated within the pipelines, and other wear particles from the ambient air. These contaminants can cause problems at every point of use, and should be removed by installing suitable filters.
Regulators reduce and control pressure in compressed air systems. They are used to control pressure to: air tools, such as impact wrenches and sanders, liquid and powder spraying devices and many other pneumatically powered manufacturing applications. Optimally, a pressure regulator maintains a constant output pressure regardless of variations in the input pressure and downstream flow requirements. Downstream equipment flow and pressure requirements must be determined to properly size the correct regulator for the application.
Lubricators add controlled quantities of oil into a compressed air system to reduce the friction of moving components. Most air tools and other air driven equipment require lubrication to extend their useful life. The use of an airline lubricator solves the problem of too much or too little lubrication that comes with other methods of lubrication such as a grease gun or oil, as well as supplying the right kind of lubricant for the tools being used. Once the lubricator is adjusted, a metered quantity of lubricant is supplied to the air operated equipment and the only maintenance required is a periodic refill of the lubricator reservoir. Adding lubrication to a system can also prevent synthetic compressor oil build-up on system components.
Clean air is a key ingredient that enables effective and efficient operation of tools, equipment, and machinery in almost every industry. As such, the use of air preparation devices, such as filters, regulators, and lubricators (FRLs) is an excellent way to keep your air supply in top condition, as well as enabling your tools and equipment to operate at their peak performance. Air Power can help you identify the cause of your airline issues and find a solution to keep your airlines clean and controlled.
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We’ve put together some helpful how-tos to help you powder coat like a PRO! Check out these informational tech tips:
Powder Coating Gun Corona Field Explained
Proper positioning of a powder coating gun while powder coating your parts helps the proper powder cloud optimize proper transfer efficiency and even coating of the powder coating finish. Learn about the corona field and how utilizing proper powder coating cloud positioning can help achieve not only a better finish, but save you money on costly rejects and over use of powder.
Gema OptiStar Controls
Gema OptiStar controls and presets are easily explained for optimum powder coating performance.
Checking Wear Parts on a Gema OptiFlex 2 Powder Unit
Maintaining easy to replace Gema OptiFlex gun, hose and pump wear parts from a preventive maintenance perspective yields high transfer efficiency, powder savings and a reduction in part rejects.
https://www.airpower-usa.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/OptiFlex-Pro-Spraying-Blue.jpg528792Airpowerhttps://www.airpower-usa.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Logo_AirPower-white.pngAirpower2019-05-16 15:35:592019-05-16 15:36:28Air Power Live Tech Tips: Gema Powder Coating
The Air Power Sales team attended Graco’s 2019 Finishing Series Launch Event. It was held at the Georgia Power Center in Atlanta, GA and GEMA’s Training Facility located in Indianapolis, IN. This exclusive training is designed around Graco’s extensive product and application knowledge further equipping our team of Account Managers and supporting Application Specialist’s ability to support, promote, and identify opportunities within the manufacturing community. We were able to receive 10 hours of hands-on training directly with Graco’s team of product managers, engineers, and marketing leaders; allowing for a successful and mutually beneficial event. This training centered around cutting edge technology and product enhancements; with topics including: product messages, combating competition in the field, and proven examples (case studies) of how these technologies solve customer challenges. Below are the seven (7) topics that the Air Power and Graco team covered in detail.
Intelligent Paint Kitchen for Pneumatic Pumps
Graco’s intelligent paint kitchen is a system of smart sensors communicating with each other that optimize the performance of your circulation system. It is a less complex, less expensive alternative to advanced remote monitoring and control for the entire paint room — especially when compared to traditional custom built systems. All components are standard products, not a custom-built system, which makes them easy to be configured and install. And because both the initial investment and installation costs are lower, you’re able to be more competitive in a global market. With the intelligent paint kitchen, you can remotely monitor and control key circulation system parameters like pressures, flow rates, tank levels and agitator speeds. The enhanced awareness of key circulation system parameters in real-time enables quick diagnosis of issues and ensures your system is operating at peak efficiency.
Graco took their trademark, high performing electrostatic spray guns and made them better. They are smaller, lighter and designed to maximize your profits. Available in 40, 60 and 85 kV, the Pro Xp electrostatic spray gun also has a round spray option for when you need a bell-shaped pattern and a High Conductivity version for when you have low resistivity material.
Graco’s sealed lower not only has longer maintenance cycles, but it is also easier, faster and cheaper to replace than an entire pump assembly. The lower is completely sealed, so it can be used for every pumping application in your mix room, including catalyzed coatings. Common components make it simpler to maintain your pump, and it reduces inventory level on repair parts. Plus our positive displacement piston pumps displace fluid in both directions of the stroke, providing low cycle rates and high flow, ideal for applications using shear-sensitive materials.
Graco surge suppressors were designed specifically for the finishing industry from decades of pump technology research. The streamlined fluid path ensures low shear, smooth fluid flow, and superior flush ability.
Graco’s ProDispense is a cost effective, user-friendly electronic system that gives you the capability to quickly and accurately fill cavities with industrial fluids in assembly line environments. The ProDispense allows for Consistent fluid dispense that is compatible with manual or automatic applications. The easy to use interface allows for the tracking of volume. The fluid panel configurations allow for a wide range of material viscosity and flow rates with accuracy ranges of 1 to 3 percent.
Graco’s ProControl 1KE allows you to actively manage fluid and air pressure to lock in precise spray parameters. It not only monitors fluids, it has added controls to manage fluids and improve spray performance. These systems allow for precise control of pressure, flow rates, and atomizing air with the ability to easily adjust. The user interface allows for accurate reporting of material usage while remotely monitoring all fluids via the advanced web interface on your corporate network.
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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.
A leading manufacture within the truck and bus industry located in North Carolina.
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.
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
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Air Power Manufacturing Solutions Put PD2K to the Test with Graco and HB Fuller
The customer is switching to Swifttak 4431 Heat Reactivated Water Based Adhesive, a two-component adhesive, for better product quality. They need a system to effectively mix and spray the 2K adhesive. The Graco PD2K is the only 2K system that can effectively handle the Swifttak adhesive due to the industrial pump based unit which allows for operation in either flow or pressure made.
More about Graco ProMix PD2K System
More about Graco ProMix PD2K System
The ProMix PD2K mixes the material close to the gun so the flush zone is significantly smaller. This allows customers to use less paint, spend less on disposal costs and allows for faster color changes. And because there is limited mixed material in the system, the ProMix PD2K is ideal for short pot life materials. It is also compatible with acid-based materials.
Graco has specific ProMix proportioners that are designed to manage tough acid catalyst applications like cabinetry and bar countertops. The corrosion resistance fluid section, plus the smart fluid plate with 316 and 17-4 SST catalyst sections, can easily handle strong acid catalysts.
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The new generation of OptiFlex Pro manual units impresses with additional application performance due to the outstanding PowerBoost technology. With OptiFlex Pro, you easily process all powder types and coat complex parts in superior quality – all this worldwide and in the most difficult industrial environments. The use of the Electrostatic App is your first step into Smart Factory Automation and makes the manual coating process transparent.
Maximum Coating Performance
The first choice in manual powder coating
The OptiFlex Pro manual units are uncompromisingly and agilely designed for maximum industrial suitability and worldwide use. The intelligent and durable components fit perfectly together and form the powerful package for superior manual powder coating. The ergonomic and intuitive operation enables every user to achieve the best coating results at any time.
Safe technology for more power performance
The newly developed PowerBoost technology of the OptiFlex Pro series offers with the 110kV the highest powder charging capacity in the powder coating industry while complying with safety regulations. The operator benefits from an outstanding coating performance. The new feature completes the proven high-voltage functionalities, such as PCC mode, presettings an individual coating programs and extends the application range significantly.
highest industrial suitability
– The new OptiSelect Pro gun features a particularly robust and durable design. The ergonomic and light-weight gun is well-balanced in the hand, has a good grip and enables you to coat efficiently and faster.
– The new PowerBoost high-performance technology charges all types of powder even more efficiently. The benefits of the additional power provide higher productivity, faster conveying speeds and maximum area performance.
– The integrated remote control allows easily to activate the PowerBoost powder charging mode and to regulate the powder output right away.
– The integrated cleaning of the powder conveying components can be enhanced by the optional PowerClean module, which ensures a faster and efficient cleaning. This improves performance when processing difficult powders and facilitates colour change.
– The latest generation of nozzles ensures an excellent powder distribution and penetration.
Best Application Results
Be one step ahead of the competition!
With OptiFlex Pro you coat extremely efficiently and with consistently high quality.
The PCC (Precise Charge Control) mode regulates the spray current even in the lowest ampere ranges (0-10µA) with the highest accuracy. This prevents overcharging of even the most demanding powders such as metallic powder and ensures the highest quality in thick film and multi-layer applications and recess areas.
The DVC (Digital Valve Control) technology allows an exact and repeatable adjustment of the powder output and ensures an uniform layer thickness.
for repeatable quality
The new OptiFlow injector with cartridge design further optimises the venturi principle in terms of transport efficiency and low wear. By simply exchanging the one-piece cartridge, the injector performance is optimally maintained. The usage of fewer parts and the seamless design of the injector improves the ability for fast color changes.
Main features OptiFlow injector:
-Cartridge design merges injector nozzle and conveying insert into a single component
– Powder outputs of up to 450 g/min achievable depending upon hose length and diameter
– Quick release design for the powder hose
– Unique Inline-Design
– Cartridge sleeve manufactured from high quality non stick materials
– Robust diecast injector housing
– Quick disconnect air connections
If your production requires frequent and quick color changes, then we would recommend the OptiFlex Pro B, which is designed to use the manufacturer’s original powder box.
– Highest flexibility
– Shortest and cleanest color changes
– For direct transport from the original powder box
– Complete emptying of the powder box thanks to the tilted vibrating base
– Integrated fluidization
– Scratch resistant and easy accessible box plate
Are super-fast colour changes your priority? OptiFlex Pro Q is equipped with additional features that allow:
– Super-fast colour change in 30-40 seconds
– Suitable for all types of powder
– Minimal space usage
If continuous use of the same powder over a long period of time is the bulk of your production schedule, then we would recommend the OptiFlex Pro F with the 50-litre fluidized powder container.
– Ideal for large powder quantities
– Compatible with all powder types
– Scratch-free 50 litre powder container with fluidization
– Easy cleaning of the container
Do you need to economically process powders with a tendency to separation during fluidization? OptiFlex Pro S is your best choice!
– Unique stirrer system with 18 litre hopper capacity
– Processing of powders with poor fluidization capability
– Preventing the separation of powders
– Processing of small quantities without any loss
– Complete emptying of remaining powder
OptiFlex Pro C
For Lab use
Do you want to coat small batches or samples? Your solution is the OptiFlex Pro C with self-fluidizing application cup.
– Perfectly suited for small powder quantities
– Self-fluidizing application cup (optionally 150 ml or 500 ml)
– Processes powder quantities from 20 g to 250 g
– The application cup can be easily combined with every coating unit
OptiFlex Pro L
For small batches
Do you carry out lab applications or quality tests? The OptiFlex Pro L unit is the perfect solution for lab use and quality control.
– Fluidized powder hopper
– 4 litre hopper volume
– Removable powder hopper
– Easy cleaning
OptiFlex Pro W
The universal solution
For upgrades, to be mounted on booth walls or at your production site: OptiFlex Pro W can be integrated in any existing surrounding.
– Its bracket can be mounted on any powder booth
– Takes the powder from fluidized hoppers or original powder box
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A local wheel remanufacturer and custom coater located within North Carolina.
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.
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.
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Mini Conveyorized Powder Systems from Fosteria provides flexibility and efficiency for powder coating process.
Condense the footprint into areas normally too small for conventional systems
Reduce capital expenditures
Provide flexibility for pre-heat, dry-off, number of washer stages, and curing methods
Employ economical modular construction
A typical system includes:
Three-Stage Open Top Stainless Steel Washer
Two-Pass Cure Oven
Reclaim cartridge spray enclosure
Tube track conveyor design
Multiple Stage SS Pretreatment Washer
Stainless steel construction
Cast-iron barrel mount pumps on each station
Factory Mutual gas controls
UL listed control panel
Energy Savings Features
Burner tube designed for up to 80% efficiency
Fully modulating burners with 10:1 turn down ratios
High efficiency motors
5″ insulated walls in all heated stations
5″ thick galvannealed steel insulated oven panel construction
Low fire conveyor interlock connection
5″ thick galvannealed steel insulated oven panel construction
UL listed control panel
Energy Saving Features
8# density mineral wool insulation panels
Fully modulating direct-fired burners with 40:1 turn down ratio
Low fire conveyor interlock circuit
Panels forming the oven walls and roof will have mineral wool insulation between tongue and groove type exterior and interior 20 gauge sheets. When joined, the panels are all self-supporting.
Interested in this system? Contact Air Power at 800.334.1001
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Batch Powder Systems offered by Air Power at a competitive price. Financing options available.
Air Power can help you select the batch powder system that is right for you. This complete system includes the powder booth, curing oven and powder application equipment. Various booth and oven sizes available.
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