New, custom-built infrared system makes flat roofs more reliable with better sealing

By means of a simple retrofit with a Heraeus infrared system, a British manufacturer of roofing systems has made its production process more reliable and has achieved a significant improvement in product quality.
Thick, tear- and weather-resistant polymer material layers ensure that flat roofs are water-tight. Great care must be taken with the manufacture of multi-layer systems, as the individual layers must be joined such that they are stable and keyed together. With infrared, this is possible safely and quickly, as the thermal radiation heats the surface in a targeted manner homogenously over the total web.

Heraeus Noblelight will be showing this and many other innovative infrared solutions at the ICE exhibition, which takes place in Munich from 21st to 23rd May.

IKO is a UK market leader in the design, manufacture and installation of roofing and waterproofing systems. Single and multi-layered systems for flat roofing are the main products manufactured at its Clay Cross site. This involves joining a first layer of polymer material with a textile base scrim and this assembly can then be completed with the addition of one or more further layers of polymer.
The addition of additional polymer layers is carried out in a continuous process where the web of scrim-backed polymer, at speeds up to 10 m/min, is brought into contact with a further polymer web on a drum. The surface of the scrim-backed polymer is heated to allow fusion to take place under pressure. Fast response medium-wave and Carbon Infrared from Heraeus Noblelight are helping IKP PLC to achieve a successful bond between the layers of polymer material at the Clay Cross site.



Infrared system features a special reflector
It is important that the polymer layers are heated quickly on the surface but it is equally important that they are not heated all the way through, as this would soften and expand them. This requires a high energy infrared radiation which can heat the surface homogenously in a short time over the complete web. Consequently, IKO PLC installed an infrared system featuring a special reflector, which follows the surface of the drum to achieve homogenous heat transfer. The infrared system uses six, 11kW fast response medium wave (FRMW) emitters and two 11 kW Carbon Infrared (CIR) emitters. The CIR emitters ensure that all moisture is driven from the polymer while the shorter wavelength of the FRMW emitters is more penetrative.

The Heraeus system which was developed and built to meet the exact customer specifications and requirements, replaced an Italian system which had proved unreliable. Andrew McArthur, production engineer at IKO, points out, “The retro-fit of the new system proved quite easy, even though we had little space for manoeuvre. And we are now obtaining more reliable and better quality polymer adhesion at this important stage of production.”



Infrared Emitters Apply Heat Exactly Where It Is Needed
Many products made of plastic, from polymer layers for roofing to containers, handles and instrument panels, are manufactured from individual parts which then need to be finished by welding, adhesives or lamination. These joining processes have to be reliable and need to provide high quality end products. Very often joining is effected using heat and the required heat source needs to integrate seamlessly into the total production system, an important consideration for machine- and plant builders. Infrared emitters have been used for many years, as they are compact and apply high power heat exactly where it is required.

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