Coating Applications Using IR Heat

Coating Applications Using IR Heat

Wood processes benefit from infrared technology in a number of ways. Infrared can provide process heat for panel forming, preheating, drying, curing of coatings, and many other uses. The targeted properties of infrared lamps from Heraeus Noblelight mean that heat is applied just where it is needed, and the quick heat-up of IR means that heat is provided only when it's needed, on demand.

Popular uses of IR in wood applications include:

Curing of Powder Coating

Curing of Powder Coating

The curing of powder coating is a popular and especially effective use of infrared technology. IR's consistent application of heat across surfaces means that the coating is activated evenly, resulting in a smooth finish.

Examples of IR in Powder Coating Applications

  • By installing an infrared oven from Heraeus Noblelight, a gasket manufacturer achieved significant savings in energy costs in the curing of powder coatings on a range of sealing gaskets at its manufacturing plant. In addition, the infrared system occupied less than half the space required by the previous gas-fired convection oven and also allowed component throughput to be considerably increased. Because IR ovens in this application are switched on only when needed, there was a significant reduction in energy costs. In addition, curing speed and output increased, as there was no longer a need to wait for the oven to reach temperature before components are passed through. Moreover, the new infrared oven required less than half the space of the old convection oven.
  • A manufacturer replaced their inefficient 250kW long-wave heaters for powder curing oven with shortwave twin tube heaters from Heraeus. The retrofitted system provided higher curing temperature, higher production speed and elimination of cold spots on the outline.
  • A manufacturing process made use of a gas-heated air oven for powder coating of steel cylinders. The manufacturer upgraded to a Heraeus infrared system. The new system offered rapid heat-up time; more even curing of the powder; low maintenance costs and a reduction in oven size from 30m long to only 6m.
  • A compressor manufacturer's process required preheating of the compressors. Their previous means of doing this -- a tunnel oven -- was effective, but higher efficiency was desired. Heraeus Noblelight supplied a solution in the form of fast mediumwave heaters. The new system allowed semiautomatic power control via potentiometers. The quick on/off characteristics of the fast mediumwave heaters made this possible, increasing efficiency and line speed.
  • As part of an ongoing upgrade to its facilities, a manufacturer of aluminum and steel signage set a goal of increasing production line speed and quality for the powder coating component. Previously, the sprayed-on powder had been pre-heated by a gas-fired heat system before entering a warm air convection oven for final curing. That system was plagued by maintenance problems. The solution was a purpose-built medium wave infrared oven from Heraeus Noblelight, conveniently retrofitted into the existing powder coating and curing line. The oven helped to speed up the powder coating process, heating the powder faster than the old system. It also reduced the cure dwell time in the convection oven. In addition, quality has improved, as the medium wave heaters provided a uniform flow and fusion of the powders.
  • A powder coating process for an electric motor casing with stator package had been using a solvent-based lacquer, with drying by ambient temperature. This system had a number of disadvantages: the use of solvents caused problems with regard to some environmental regulations; the powder coating process required a great deal of energy; and curing time was long. A new infrared system from Heraeus Noblelight allowed use of a non-solvent based lacquer, reduced heat-up time, maintained high throughput and reduced curing time by more than 90%. The systems feature heating zones to accommodate various size casings.
  • A manufacturer of vehicle brake pads, shoes and linings wanted to increase production speed in one of the factory's most critical stages of production, the application of an anti-corrosion coating to brake pads. After this epoxy is applied, it must be cured. That time-consuming process caused a production bottleneck. Improved powder coating technology -- employing Heraeus Noblelight Fast Reponse Mediumwave Infrared Heaters -- increased production speed. And because IR technology applies heat only where it is needed, damage to other parts of the product was avoided.
  • A major US-based lighting standards manufacturer sought to increase its market share by offering a higher quality product to the marketplace, and to do so without raising prices. The solution was to increase productivity. To help achieve that goal, they turned to Heraeus Noblelight. Heraeus worked with the company's engineers to develop a powdercoating system that cured the finish with medium and shortwave infrared lamps. The new system was far more efficient than the previous paint-and-air-drying process. What's more, the new system eliminated the costs associated with removal of noxious fumes and hazardous waste, and it occupied a smaller footprint in the plant.
  • A die casting facility was experiencing bottlenecks in its production due to inherent inefficiency of their gas-fired curing oven. Working closely with the process heating expert application engineers at Heraeus Noblelight, the company replaced the oven with electric infrared heaters. Not only did the infrared system provide more efficient targeting of the heat, but IR's unique properties gave system operators greater flexibility. A four-zone system means that the heat can be precisely applied where and when it is needed.
  • A fabricator of perforated metal plates for use in control cabinets was dissatisfied with production time: the powder coating phase of production forced a delay of fifteen minutes to allow the drying and setting of the coating. Consulting the with process heating applications engineers at Heraeus Noblelight, the fabricator installed carbon infrared heaters on the production line. The unique quick-heating properties of IR lamps meant that the powder coating was quickly activated, and the need for holding time was reduced more than 85%, from fifteen minutes to only two.
  • As part of its ongoing efforts toward innovating and improving its processes, an internationally acclaimed paints and coatings manufacturer maintains a research and development facility. The facility carries out R&D into coating and finishing operations, and assists customer companies with the optimization of their own processes. Among other components, the test facility includes a powder coating system, a product conveyor system, convection drying ovens, and a medium wave infrared oven from Heraeus Noblelight. The Heraeus IR oven is zoned with mediumwave lamps of varying size, length and power, allowing any number of situations to be tested. The precise control afforded by infrared lamps -- coupled with their quick on/off and heat-up/cool-down properties -- means that testing can be conducted quickly and efficiently. According to the company's project leader, "virtually every powder heating and curing condition which our customers experience" can be simulated in this test environment.

Curing of Water Soluble Lacquers

Water soluble lacquers require curing onto their surfaces during processing. Infrared technology is well suited to such applications; for one thing, IR is superior to other methods that create wind as part of their operation. And the high level of precise control afforded by infrared technology means that heat is targeted, and can be used only where and when it is needed. Here are a few real-world examples.

  • A manufacturer of decorative wood panels uses Heraeus Fast Mediumwave IR technology to control process and save energy. Seamless integration of the infrared module into the production machine allows IR power to be constantly switched on and off, conserving energy. The process is controlled by limiting temperature rise of the wooden panels to between 20°C and 50°C. This efficient system now processes 10m of decorative wood per minute.
  • A fabricator of architectural plates (made of stone, concrete and/or marble) used a hot air circulation oven to dry the water-based coating applied to the plates. They replaced this inefficient system with a modular system using fast mediumave IR technology from Heraeus Noblelight. The new system reduced drying time, allowed doubling of the conveyor speed, and reduced power consumption. The direct thermal radiation of the heaters afforded intensive drying.
  • A manufacturer of linoleum flooring replaced their hot air system for drying lacquers with a carbon twin-tube infrared heating system from Heraeus Noblelight. The new system facilitated in-line drying, greatly increasing production speed.
  • A pallet manufacturer needed a quick and efficient method to dry paint onto the wood pallets. The chose a modular system of infrared heaters from Heraeus Noblelight. Power oscillates left/right between modules to provide even, uniform heat to the process. The system provides very short drying times (as little as 20 seconds!), and quick on/off power switching during pallet transfer.
  • A major injection molding facility sought a method for drying a protective clear lacquer applied to parts. Previously, the components had to be dried for around 20 minutes in a hot air oven. During this extended period, dust could settle on the product to adversely affect the quality. An infrared oven from Heraeus Noblelight is now drying and curing the coatings on the parts in less than 20% of the time required by the convection ovens. The small-footprint IR oven fits easily into the available space. Pre-installation trials proved the mediumwave infrared system as a successful and faster alternative to hot air.
  • Even processes involving powder lacquer coatings designed to be activated by Ultraviolet (UV) can benefit from Heraeus infrared technology. Immediately before the UV curing step, a manufacturer of high value cosmetic packages preheats the powder lacquer to 100°C-120°C with carbon infrared heaters. This combined approach offers the highest energy efficiency and allows the process to take place using a minimum of plant floor space.
  • A manufacturer of high-end consumer retail products required a fast and high-quality means of drying water-based paints and lacquers on its products. Working closely with the applications experts at Heraeus Noblelight, the manufacturer chose medium wave carbon infrared lamps because of their energy-saving qualities and unique ability to apply heat evenly across contoured surfaces. Comprehensive tests demonstrate that carbon lamps require up to 30% less energy than conventional heaters in the drying of lacquers and water-based coatings. High power and very fast reaction times are characteristics of carbon lamps from Heraeus Noblelight.

Paper and Plastic Coating

Paper and Plastic Coating

The paper processing industry enjoys many benefits when integrating infrared technology into the process. IR applies heat evenly across surfaces, a quality essential in paper applications. And the quick on/off controllability of infrared lamps avoids application of too much or too little heat, keeping the process moving at optimal throughput. Here are a few uses of IR in the paper industries:

  • A manufacturer of high-end wallpaper products replaced its hot air system with infrared from Heraeus Noblelight. The new system dries water-based print on the wallpaper, and allows several types of paper to be dried using a single system. Line speed increased 50% due to high power density at the right wavelength.
  • The manufacturer of food trays for commercial transportation sought a more efficient method of drying the non-slip coating on the tray liners. Working with the application experts at Heraeus Noblelight, the company installed a carbon mediumwave infrared system to dry the water-based coatings. Infrared is especially well-suited to this application, since IR removes water efficiently and evenly across the product surface, ensuring a consistent finish to the product. And infrared's fast control means that the system can be switched on an off quickly as the situation demands. This also increases energy efficiency.
  • A roll-form paper products company faced a challenge: One of the company's products requires a water-based adhesive to be applied to paper prior to lamination. Previously, the adhesive was dried in a warm air oven, but colored adhesives yielded inconsistent results and an inferior-looking product. The short-term solution was a slowdown of the production line. Working with Heraeus Noblelight application engineers, the company devised a long term solution: a pre-drying system using carbon medium wave heaters immediately before the existing warm air heaters. Infrared's quick on/off properties afford maximum control. The end result is a consistent and high quality product without production slowdowns.

Additional applications

  • Powder coating or paint curing of oil filter housings, engine blocks, cylinder heads, pistons, other motor parts, steering columns
  • Welding of fluid reservoirs, filter assemblies, air filter boxes, automotive batteries
  • Drying flux powder for radiators, battery plates, insulating coating on windings for starter motors
  • Brazing of radiators
  • Heat shrinking of protective tubes over wiring looms
  • Heating wiring looms for easier mounting
  • Airbag assembly
  • Preheating steel prior to punching
  • Vulcanizing of tire tread
  • Fixing of sound deadening material
  • Silvering and protective coating on mirrors
  • Laminating of glass
  • Drying screen printed ink on car glass
  • Heating glass prior to PU-foam application of convertible tops to improve flexibility
  • Heating chrome strips
  • Bonding of roof rack
  • Powder coating aluminum wheels and rocker panels
  • PVC Coating of sill panels
  • Curing coating on rubber seals
  • Preheating doors and door seals
  • Activating adhesive on protective trim/strips
  • Activating adhesive on door panels
  • Drying lacquer on loudspeaker covers
  • Drying and curing: car body painting, spot repair, hydro wax protective painting, reflective coating on light assemblies, protective powder coating on brake discs, paint on fuel tanks, paint on plastic bumpers
  • Bonding of friction material on brake part materials
  • Welding filter tube to fuel tank
  • Welding light cluster assemblies
  • Curing of coatings on bitumen sound deadening material

As this (partial) list illustrates, virtually every part of a car comes into contact with infrared during its manufacture. It's important to select the right system to suit the application. Heraeus Noblelight's application engineers work closely with you to develop a solution that meets your specific needs. Infrared heat is an effective and efficient means of applying process heat in many other industries.

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