- An in-house, gas catalytic curing oven, with panels supplied by Heraeus Noblelight, has allowed Doughty Engineering, of Ringwood, Hampshire, to save high costs.
Doughty is a world-leading manufacturer of rigging, suspension and lifting equipment for film, TV, theatre and concert halls. All of its products are powder coated, both for cosmetic reasons and also to ensure long life in service.
Powder coating used to be sub-contracted at an annual cost of £400,000 and, some time ago, Doughty decided to bring the finishing operation in-house. Consequently, they contacted Junair, the UK’s leading manufacturer of spray booths and paint finishing systems to design and install a complete powder-coating system at the Ringwood site.
It was decided that the curing section should feature a gas catalytic oven with the gas catalytic panels supplied by Heraeus Noblelight. The gelling of powder coatings has traditionally been carried out by convection ovens, which are energy inefficient and require a large amount of floor space. They can also be expensive to run and, because of their long start-up time, they cannot be quickly shut down when there are breaks in production. In addition, they can produce noxious gases and are not particularly suited to heating parts with sensitive substrates. Gas Catalytic heating can cure paints typically 50-70% faster than conventional ovens and offers a very short return on investment. They are also highly controllable and can be used for smaller batch sizes.
The in-house powder coating plant has proved eminently successful. As Stuart Rodgers, general manager at Doughty, comments, “We now have total control over our product finishing quality and have mitigated a substantial sub-contracting cost. Moreover, the system is easy to maintain and control.”