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

 

 

New Fosteria Mini Conveyorized Powder Systems


Mini Conveyorized Powder Systems from Fosteria provides flexibility and efficiency for powder coating process.

Features:

  • 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
  • Water dry-off
  • Control Panel
  • 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
  • Honeywell controls

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

Dry-Off Oven

  • 5″ thick galvannealed steel insulated oven panel construction
  • Low fire conveyor interlock connection

Cure Oven

  • 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

Oven Panels

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

Fosteria Mini Conveyor system

Batch Powder Systems

Batch Powder Systems offered by Air Power at a competitive price. Financing options available.

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.

Batch Powder Systems

 

 

 

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

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.

Low Headroom-Low Pickup Solution

Customer Need

Customer installed new winders in a low headroom area which presented final product at a low pickup position. Rolls weighing 100lbs were required to be lifted from horizontal position, and placed into vertical stacked position onto pallet. Existing process required manual handling.

Area of equipment installation presented a restricted, low headroom area requiring the need to reach under, and around additional OEM equipment required for the winding process.

Air Power Solution

Upon evaluation of process, and area requirements, a dual extruded aluminum runway, with low profile carriage and custom adjustable stops were specified, and installed to provide coverage for the pickup and placement of rolls across a bank of six(6) winding machines. A custom steel frame was fabricated and installed in order to properly mount/position both runways for roll handler, and aspirator lines for the winding equipment. Due to area restrictions, an articulating arm with integrated air balancer was mounted to allow for reach under, and around process equipment, to allow for pickup and placement of the finished product.
A Dotec RH90Z45 Roll Handler (for low pickup) was provided which allows ergonomic pickup/placement of rolls to eliminate bending and manual handling by the operators of the finished product.

Roll Handling Solution for Flexible Packaging

Customer Need

An Arkansas based, Flexible packaging converters palletizing process required manual lifting and tilting of rolls being presented in the horizontal core position, onto a pallet- stacking to vertical orientation. The rolls being processed have weights up to 200 pounds, with roll widths up to 40 inches.

An existing overhead steel track was to remain in the process zone, which had to be considered for the process area location due to heights/clearance obstruction.

Air Power Solution

Upon initial discussion with manufacturer, end user contacted Air Power Inc, the Southeastern US Full service provider of Dotec Roll Handling Solutions, to discuss the project needs.Sample rolls were provided by the end user for evaluation.

A video demonstration by Air Power personnel was provided to end user, of the equipment proposed and in process.

A TurnKey solution was purchased, which included: One(1) Dotec RH90 Roll Handler – with auto roll engagement, ergo-handle controls, powered tilt function , One(1) Dotec 700LH Low headroom jib (to allow for coverage and clearance under the existing structure), Installation and Start Up training.

Results

Plant Manager Rod A. noted: “this is a welcomed tool for our operations, we have already identified additional areas which can benefit from this solution. Thanks to all for a job well done!”

 

Down Force Assist Tool Arm Solution

Down Force Assist Tool Arm Solution

 

Our Team at Air Power developed a solution for a tool operator.

This solution allows the operator to drill faster and more efficiently while the tool arm does the hard work.

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4 Spindle Electric Fastening Solution

Here is a demonstration of how the 4 Spindle DC Electric Fastening System works.