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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/

Choosing Your Powder Equipment Partner

 

Choosing Your Powder Equipment Partner

 

In this video, two of Air Power’s application specialists Travis Stirewalt and Eddie Rhodes discuss the things you need to take into consideration when choosing where to buy your powder coating equipment. Air Power shows our true dedication to supporting the needs of our customer base by not only distributing industrial equipment, but also offering repair services in-house and in the field, engineering services for integrated solutions and over 50 years of industry experience. Contact us today to find out how we can help Powder Coat like a Pro!

1 (800) 334-1001

 

Find us Online:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AirPowerUSA

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/206581

Twitter: @Air_Power_Inc

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

 

 

Air Power Enters 2019 with a New Corporate Brand

Industry-leading manufacturing supporter unveils new corporate branding with a new website, logo, corporate video and it’s most defining element, the corporate tagline

Air Power Corporate brandingAn established, well-recognized, industry-leading brand, Air Power has created a place for itself as the manufacturing community’s provider of choice. And while the achievements and capabilities of Air Power have carried the company through the last 50 years, its success has never come from remaining idle. Air Power enters 2019 with new corporate branding that more accurately reflects what the company offers and the value it provides to the market.

With an updated website, logo and corporate message, Air Power’s rebrand provides clarity to its mission as an organization and its commitment to the manufacturing community. The rebrand includes bolder colors, user-friendly and interactive website navigation, a more refined company message, a brand anthem video and Air Power’s most defining element, the new tagline: Assemble. Move. Coat.

The  “Assemble. Move. Coat.” tagline exemplifies the core of the company. For manufacturing organizations that assemble, move or coat product at any point in the production process, Air Power is the partner to turn to.

The brand anthem video offers an audible and visual representation of the values that define Air Power. By showcasing the core of Air Power’s culture, it’s employees, the brand anthem video sets the expectations for what customers and prospects can trust Air Power to deliver on.

“Air Power has been the industry-leading partner for the manufacturing community for 50 years. We’ve been the brand organizations turn to for quality products and highly-engineered, innovative solutions that effectively assemble, move and coat the products that shape our world,” said Dan Senff, President of Air Power. “Our rebranding efforts go far beyond a marketing exercise. These changes were intentional, allowing us to more effectively tell the story of our brand and what we bring to the table for customers, prospects and the industry at large.”

Air Power Corporate branding

Air Power Attends BHP Chamber of Commerce 2019 Membership Awards Celebration

Air Power Manufacturing Solutions was invited to the BHP Chamber of Commerce 2019 Membership Awards Celebration held on Tuesday, February 19th. The event was held over lunch at the beautiful High Point Country Club. The 2019 Membership Awards Celebration is an annual event held by the Business High Point Chamber of Commerce. This event is the Business High Point Chamber’s opportunity to recognize all the people who make their organization great.

The celebration kicked off with a welcome from the President and CEO of the BHP Chamber, Patrick Chapin. The welcome was followed by a short prayer led by Reverend Dr. Frank Thomas of Mt. Zion Baptist Church of High Point. Thereafter, we heard a brief message from the Sponsor of the event, Phillip Morgan of Piedmont Natural Gas. Lastly, there was an address from the BHP Chamber Chairman David S. Congdon, CEO of Old Dominion Freight.

Congratulations to All the Winners and Nominees

 

We’d like to thank the Business High Point Chamber of Commerce for recognizing Air Power Manufacturing Solutions for reaching our 50 year milestone. We would also like to congratulate the nominees and following winners:

Small Business of the Year – Northwood Animal Hospital

Business of the Year – Bethany Medical Center

Minority-Owned Business of the Year – Karma Contracting

Community Organization of the Year – Bobby Labonte Foundation

Young Professional of the Year – Cyril Jefferson of Communities in School

President’s Award – Christi Barbour & Christi Spangle of Barbour Spangle Design

Volunteer of the Year – Eric Abeles, 2019 Co-Chair of Leadership High Point

Vision Investor of the Year – Mark A. Norcross of X8 Aviation

Distinguished Citizen of the Year – Robert G. Culp III

 

Goodbye to Manual Mixing

Introduction

This customer manufactures underground boring equipment for gas and water lines. They used “hot potting” or manually mix 2 paint components 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. The parts being fabricated were staged all over the plant waiting to be painted. Due to backlog and space contingencies, some items were stored outside. Rainy days would slow down the process even more.

Air Power Solution

Air Power’s solution recommended using a Graco Promix 2KE with gun flush box and using 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

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

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

Air Power Solution

Upon evaluation of the process, and area requirements, a dual extruded aluminum runway, with low profile carriage and custom adjustable stops were specified, and installed to offer coverage for the pickup and placement of rolls across a bank of six(6) winding machines. A custom steel frame was fabricated and installed to properly mount/position both runways for roll handler, and aspirator lines for the winding equipment. Due to area restrictions, an articulating arm with an 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.

 

Graco Liquid vs Electrostatic Spray Gun for Waterborne Paint

 

 

 

Graco Liquid vs Electrostatic Spray Gun for Waterborne Paint

 

Welcome to Air Power’s Finishing Lab! In this video, we show the capabilities of the Graco Electrostatic Spray Gun for Waterborne paints. The electrostatic feature can be switched on and off making this spray gun versatile to fit any customer’s needs.

 

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