Life Fitness Doubles Production with Gas Catalytic Infrared

​Life Fitness Doubles its Production due to Gas Catalytic Infrared

Gas Catalytic IR Powder Coating Case Study

​“I have been truly impressed with final result we achieved by working with Heraeus. The process of planning, testing and implementation has been smooth and we now have a very effective powder coating system which incorporates the latest technology.”

​Adam Pederson, Manufacturing Engineer at Life Fitness

Adam Pederson, Manufacturing Engineer of Life Fitness
https://catalyticovens.com/heraeus-assists-metsa-improve-output-quality-reduce-operating-costs

Gas Catalytic IR Powder Coating Case Study. Life Fitness has been offering high quality fitness solutions for 45 years to benefit both facilities and exercisers, using a wide range of cardio, strength and group training products. The fitness equipment is coated with powder lacquer, which is cured by heating.


Growth Required Change

The predicted growth in their product line and coating schemes required a significant expansion of their powder coating operation with only a limited increase in plant size. Until now the curing process was achieved exclusively with a convection oven. Some parts require two top coats and these are rehung after the first coat to facilitate the second coat and cure. In order to integrate single and double coated parts into the continuous flow line, whilst preventing powder contamination, pre-planned gaps are required to re-hang parts requiring a second coat. This process had always been an ergonomic issue as no mechanical lifts are available due to lack of space. The line was operating at 2.4 m/min, but effectively with the double application, the part yield for two coat parts was only 50%. One option was to add another convection oven to cure the first coat before applying the second coat. Since floor space was at a premium this was not going to be a feasible or a cost-effective alternative.

The smartest solution was to add two Gas Catalytic IR Pre Gel Ovens from Heraeus. After successful tests were carried out in our Buford facility, a two-line system was launched. Today, two lines run parallel, one for parts with one coating and one for parts with two coatings. Each line has a gas catalytic infrared oven and a corresponding paint booth. For the final curing, the lines run through the existing convection oven. This system achieved the desired 2.4m/min. line speed along with the option of going to 3m/min. More importantly, even though the line speed has not changed, the output of the powder coating plant has doubled.

The new system was installed quickly during scheduled facility down-time and was operational in less than a month.

 The introduction of Gas Catalytic IR technology from Heraeus has ensured additional savings on Natural Gas and Electrical costs. The adoption of the latest technology has also attracted local Utility grants which has helped to reduce the overall capital spend.
 
Features

  • Curing of powder coating on fitness equipment
  • Output of plant doubled
  • Energy and cost savings

Technical Data

  • Installation of 2 gas catalytic infrared pre gel ovens
  • Two-line system as some parts require double coating
  • Line speed from 2.4m/min. to up to 3m/min. if desired
Life Fitness has been offering​ high quality fitness solutions for 45 years to benefit both facilities and exercisers, using a wide range of cardio, strength and group training products. The fitness equipment is coated with powder lacquer, which is cured by heating.

The predicted growth in their product line and coating schemes required a significant expansion of their powder coating operation with only a limited increase in plant size. Until now the curing process was achieved exclusively with a convection oven. Some parts require two top coats and these are rehung after the first coat to facilitate the second coat and cure. In order to integrate single and double coated parts into the continuous flow line, whilst preventing powder contamination, pre-planned gaps are required to re-hang parts requiring a second coat. This process had always been an ergonomic issue as no mechanical lifts are available due to lack of space. The line was operating at 2.4 m/min, but effectively with the double application, the part yield for two coat parts was only 50%. One option was to add another convection oven to cure the first coat before applying the second coat. Since floor space was at a premium this was not going to be a feasible or a cost-effective alternative.

The new system was installed quickly during scheduled facility down-time and was operational in less than a month.
The smartest solution was to add two Gas Catalytic IR Pre Gel Ovens from Heraeus. After successful tests were carried out in our Buford facility, a two-line system was launched. Today, two lines run parallel, one for parts with one coating and one for parts with two coatings. Each line has a gas catalytic infrared oven and a corresponding paint booth. For the final curing, the lines run through the existing convection oven. This system achieved the desired 2.4m/min. line speed along with the option of going to 3m/min. More importantly, even though the line speed has not changed, the output of the powder coating plant has doubled. The introduction of Gas Catalytic IR technology from Heraeus has ensured additional savings on Natural Gas and Electrical costs. The adoption of the latest technology has also attracted local Utility grants which has helped to reduce the overall capital spend.
 

Features

    Curing of powder coating on fitness equipment
    Output of plant doubled
    Energy and cost savings

Technical Data

    Installation of 2 gas catalytic infrared pre gel ovens
    Two-line system as some parts require double coating
    Line speed from 2.4m/min. to up to 3m/min. if desired

Powder Coated Timber in the Construction Industry

​Powder Coated Timber in the Construction Industry

Powder Coated Timber in the Construction Industry
Powder Coated Timber Case Study

“Having the world leading industrial IR process heating guys on board from the outset was an inspired choice on our part. Their in-depth knowledge and experience was key in enabling the Climate Coating Ltd concept to become a reality”

Kyle True (MD Climate Coating Ltd [climatesurfaces.com])


“Having the world leading industrial IR process heating guys on board from the outset was an inspired choice on our part. Their in-depth knowledge and experience was key in enabling the Climate Coating Ltd concept to become a reality” Kyle True (MD Climate Coating Ltd [climatesurfaces.com])
https://catalyticovens.com/heraeus-assists-metsa-improve-output-quality-reduce-operating-costs

How Gas Catalytic IR technology from Heraeus has enabled a unique breakthrough in the construction industry

Powder Coated Timber Case Study. It is often said that brilliant ideas are 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Jeff Stewart, co-founder of Climate Coating Ltd, found his 1% whilst watching a large wooden wall being painted single handed by a weary decorator. If it were a steel section wall, Jeff would have powder coated it, so why not try powder coating timber to see if it worked? Then the 99% perspiration kicked in and Jeff joined up with Kyle True from the timber industry, and the rest, together with ground breaking technology from Heraeus (formerly Vulcan Catalytic Systems) is history.

Substrate Heat ​Sensitivity

One of the primary problems with powder coating a timber substrate is its heat sensitivity. The time required to cure powder in a conventional hot air oven (20 – 30 minutes) would cause significant damage to the timber. The creative solution was to use Gas Catalytic IR. The IR waves are easily absorbed by the powder which will now cure (7 – 10 minutes), without overheating the substrate. The result is a patented process that is having a big impact in the construction industry. As the world population continues to increase, the need for sustainable, low waste, energy efficient commercial and residential buildings has become a necessity. The founders of Climate Coating Ltd. in New Zealand have pioneered and patented innovative methods of creating powder coated surfaces on plywood, MDF and plasterboard. The majority of these products can be fitted without any further finishing requirements and are available pre-cut to size and in many colors. They include:

  • Pre-coated plasterboard for walls and ceilings
  • Decorative MDF board for commercial fit-out
  • Moisture resistant exterior grade plywood
  • Pre-primed exterior finishes that do not need to be finished for up to 3 months

​So how do Climate Coating Ltd.’s products contribute to the drive for sustainability? The answer is multi layered and is evidenced not just by the product itself and its place in the market, but also by the innovative, energy efficient method of manufacture.


Product Advantages

The advantages of pre-finished products themselves are self-evident. By creating pre-finished and pre-sized materials that are commonly found in every type of construction, the reduced need for wet trades (brick laying, plastering and painting) has a significant impact on building lead time. Delays due to weather, material supply and waste are all but eliminated. Consider the number of half used tins of paint and wasted bags of plaster that are commonly seen on building sites! The products are also ideal for the pre-fabricated building industry.
Manufacturing Advantages

Dig down deeper, and further very significant advantages can be discovered. As Climate Coating Ltd pre-finish the board materials in a purpose built factory, the efficiencies of having a precisely controlled process means that waste is virtually eliminated and a consistent level of quality control is achieved which far surpasses that which can be accomplished “on site”. One of the vital elements of the production system is the use of Gas Catalytic IR ovens to efficiently cure the applied powder on the chosen substrate. The system, designed in conjunction with world leaders Heraeus (formerly Vulcan Catalytic Systems) has proven to be a wise choice. The systems produced by Heraeus have proven to be the most controllable, energy efficient powder coat curing solutions available today. The powder curing system details are as follows:

  • Two coat system
  • 2 PLC controlled Gas Catalytic ovens (2 section preheat and 5 section main cure)
  • 3000m2 per hour output
  • Space saving design has small footprint
  • Programmable to control the heat output horizontally and vertically through the oven
  • Perfect cure obtained by using only the exact amount of required Infra-Red.

Key Product Points

  • Sustainable, no VOC’s produced in manufacture
  • Extremely high level of quality control that is unachievable “on site”
  • On site wet trades eliminated
  • Ideal for pre-fabricated buildings

Key Gas Catalytic IR powder curing points

  • Measurable and consistent process
  • Highly controllable (PLC) and adaptable
  • High quality finish
  • Energy efficient process
  • Small footprint
How Gas Catalytic IR technology from Heraeus has enabled a unique breakthrough in the construction industry

Powder Coated Timber It is often said that brilliant ideas are 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Jeff Stewart, co-founder of Climate Coating Ltd, found his 1% whilst watching a large wooden wall being painted single handed by a weary decorator. If it were a steel section wall, Jeff would have powder coated it, so why not try powder coating timber to see if it worked? Then the 99% perspiration kicked in and Jeff joined up with Kyle True from the timber industry, and the rest, together with ground breaking technology from Heraeus (formerly Vulcan Catalytic Systems) is history. One of the primary problems with powder coating a timber substrate is its heat sensitivity. The time required to cure powder in a conventional hot air oven (20 – 30 minutes) would cause significant damage to the timber. The creative solution was to use Gas Catalytic IR. The IR waves are easily absorbed by the powder which will now cure (7 – 10 minutes), without overheating the substrate. The result is a patented process that is having a big impact in the construction industry. As the world population continues to increase, the need for sustainable, low waste, energy efficient commercial and residential buildings has become a necessity. The founders of Climate Coating Ltd. in New Zealand have pioneered and patented innovative methods of creating powder coated surfaces on plywood, MDF and plasterboard. The majority of these products can be fitted without any further finishing requirements and are available pre-cut to size and in many colours. They include:

Pre coated plasterboard for walls and ceilings
Decorative MDF board for commercial fit-out
Moisture resistant exterior grade plywood
Pre primed exterior finishes that do not need to be finished for up to 3 months

So how do Climate Coating Ltd.’s products contribute to the drive for sustainability? The answer is multi layered and is evidenced not just by the product itself and its place in the market, but also by the innovative, energy efficient method of manufacture.
Product Advantages

The advantages of pre-finished products themselves are self-evident. By creating pre-finished and pre-sized materials that are commonly found in every type of construction, the reduced need for wet trades (brick laying, plastering and painting) has a significant impact on building lead time. Delays due to weather, material supply and waste are all but eliminated. Consider the number of half used tins of paint and wasted bags of plaster that are commonly seen on building sites! The products are also ideal for the pre-fabricated building industry.
Manufacturing Advantages

Dig down deeper, and further very significant advantages can be discovered. As Climate Coating Ltd pre-finish the board materials in a purpose built factory, the efficiencies of having a precisely controlled process means that waste is virtually eliminated and a consistent level of quality control is achieved which far surpasses that which can be accomplished “on site”. One of the vital elements of the production system is the use of Gas Catalytic IR ovens to efficiently cure the applied powder on the chosen substrate. The system, designed in conjunction with world leaders Heraeus (formerly Vulcan Catalytic Systems) has proven to be a wise choice. The systems produced by Heraeus have proven to be the most controllable, energy efficient powder coat curing solutions available today. The powder curing system details are as follows:

Two coat system
2 PLC controlled Gas Catalytic ovens (2 section preheat and 5 section main cure)
3000m2 per hour output
Space saving design has small footprint
Programmable to control the heat output horizontally and vertically through the oven
Perfect cure obtained by using only the exact amount of required Infra-Red.

What Climate Coating Ltd say about Heraeus:

Key Product Points

Sustainable, no VOC’s produced in manufacture
Extremely high level of quality control that is unachievable “on site”
On site wet trades eliminated
Ideal for pre-fabricated buildings

Key Gas Catalytic IR powder curing points

Measurable and consistent process
Highly controllable (PLC) and adaptable
High quality finish
Energy efficient process
Small footprint

Powder Coating Oven Makes Light Work

​Powder Coating Oven Makes Light Work

Light Fitting Manufacturer Powder Coating Oven Case Study

"The flexibility that the new Gas Catalytic Ovens has provided us with means that we can now de-gas our die castings as well as powder coat our main volume product. The move to continuous flow from batch
production has resulted in shorter lead times and reduced operating costs. The ability to react quickly to customer’s needs is transforming our business. Our costs have been significantly reduced whilst producing a high quality product. Everybody is a winner including the most important person, the customer!”

Bill Pritchett  - Owner of Lumetta

https://catalyticovens.com/heraeus-assists-metsa-improve-output-quality-reduce-operating-costs

Custom Light Fixture Manufacturer Chooses Gas Catalytic IR

Light Fitting Manufacturer Powder Coating Oven Case Study. Lumetta, based in Warwick RI, manufactures custom designed light fittings for the hotel and restaurant industry. Previously, the powder coating of the steel and aluminum products was out-sourced. Although quality was good, damage in transportation and a weeks processing time meant that a different approach would be required if end user lead time was to be reduced.

Outsourcing of Powder Coating not the answer

Lumetta decided it was time to get their own Powder Coating Oven. The two oven solution suggested by Heraeus required a Gas Catalytic IR dry off (after washing) and a Gas Catalytic IR final cure
oven (after powder application) together with an overhead conveyor to allow continuous flow. The complete system takes up less than 3,000 sq ft and requires only two operators. Lumetta can now fabricate, powder coat and ship on the same day, if required. Faster inventory turns, lower costs and very happy customers are just a few of the advantages of adopting Gas Catalytic IR technology from Heraeus.

Gas Catalytic IR Powder Coating Oven Reduces Costs

​Cutting Edge Company Doubles Business

Saw Blade Manufacturer Powder Coating Oven Case Study

"A 30 ft Gas Catalytic IR Oven from Heraeus proved to be the answer. The system is capable of curing yellow, black, green, white and silver powders within a 4 minute cure cycle. An added requirement is the need to pass die cast products through the same oven to eliminate out gassing. A task which the new Gas Catalytic IR oven handles with ease."

Beth Zastawny (Owner of Die Cast Connections)

https://catalyticovens.com/heraeus-assists-metsa-improve-output-quality-reduce-operating-costs

Powder Coating Oven for Saw Blades

Saw Blade Manufacturer Powder Coating Oven Case Study. Die Cast Connections of Chicopee MA, custom coats hundreds of thousands of hacksaw and reciprocating saw blades every week by using a powder coating oven. With business forecast to double, a move from a hand spray, batch oven type of production to a continuous, conveyor layout was required. Even though the coating on a cutting blade will wear off with use, the need for a good quality powder coated finish is essential to enable:

  • Screen printing of brand logo
  • Product presentation within retail packaging
  • Damage free transportation

​Heraeus yet again were able to provide the perfect space, energy and money saving solution with a Gas Catalytic IR Oven.

Die Cast Connections of Chicopee MA, custom coats hundreds of thousands of hacksaw and reciprocating saw blades every week by using a powder coating oven. With business forecast to double, a move from a hand spray, batch oven type of production to a continuous, conveyor layout was required. Even though the coating on a cutting blade will wear off with use, the need for a good quality powder coated finish is essential to enable:

Screen printing of brand logo
Product presentation within retail packaging
Damage free transportation
"A 30 ft Gas Catalytic IR Oven fro

Gas Catalytic IR Oven Double Capacity

​Gas Catalytic IR Oven Doubles Capacity

Wheel Rim Powder Coating Oven Case Study | 50% Time Reduction

​"I have been extremely impressed with the performance of our new Heraeus Gas Catalytic IR Ovens. Process time has been reduced by 50% and the resultant increase in productivity and quality has been impressive. Repeat-ability of our high standard of quality has improved significantly and the overall impact on our energy bills has been remarkable."


Herman Mansbart  - Owner of Elite Rim Repair

https://catalyticovens.com/heraeus-assists-metsa-improve-output-quality-reduce-operating-costs

Rim Refurbishment Company Reduces Lead Time With Gas Catalytic IR Oven

Wheel Rim Powder Coating Oven Case Study. When Elite Rim Repair, of Plainview NY, a leading company in the rim refurbishment industry, approached Heraeus for advice on how to increase production capacity and quality, we suggested two new Gas Catalytic IR ovens which would dovetail into existing procedures:

  • Preparation - Rims are stripped of tires and existing finish followed by straightening if required.
  • Pre Gel Gas Catalytic Oven - Base color powder applied before entering the Pre Gel Gas Catalytic IR Oven. This gels the powder and adds heat to the rims.
  • Final Cure Gas Catalytic IR Oven - Clear coat powder then applied to hot rim before entering final cure Gas Catalytic IR Oven to co-cure the base and clear coat together to provide a flawless finish.
  • Fit Tires & Ship - Tires are then refitted and rims are ready to ship. All possible within 24 - 48 hours.

Lean MDF Powder Coating - Case Study

Lean Manufacturing - MDF Powder Coating

Lean Manufacturing, MDF Powder Coating, Case Study

“Increased productivity, reduced costs, winning business back from China. Now looking at 2nd line. I haven't even begun to advertise yet!”

Bells Powder Coating

https://catalyticovens.com/heraeus-assists-metsa-improve-output-quality-reduce-operating-costs

Still Skeptical About Lean Manufacturing?

If there are still sceptics out there about Lean Manufacturing, the please read this Lean MDF Powder Coating Case Study!

Some time ago we were contacted by Bells Powder Coating in Massachusetts. They had just gone through a Lean Manufacturing Program, and the savings allowed them to invest and expand. They chose to move into powder coating MDF, and bought a specialist Gas Catalytic Infrared oven from Vulcan Catalytic Systems (now Heraeus Vulcan). Gas Catalytic IR technology fits well with the principles of Lean Manufacturing as it helps to reduce some of the major sources of waste.

 Here are a few of the Before and After comment from Bells Powder Coating:

Before:

  • "Half a million $ in lost revenue"
  • "Another half million $ in work going offshore"
  • "We needed to get a handle on costs right away"
  • "Competition was intense"
  • "We wanted to move into hot new markets, like powder coated medium density fiberboard (MDF)"
  • "Return on investment was too long"
  • "At about $98,000 per year, our natural gas bill was a huge expense"


After:

  • "Increased productivity by 7%"
  • "Reduced costs by $70,000"
  • "Winning business back from China"
  • "Able to take a second look at launching the MDF product line"
  • "The Vulcan Catalytic (now Heraeus Vulcan) oven alone saved us $27,000 per year"
  • "15 companies interested in our powder coated MDF, through word of mouth alone"
  • "I haven't even begun to advertise yet!


Lean MDF Powder Coating

The added benefits of the MDF Powder Coating oven from Heraeus Vulcan, which is perfect for use in a Lean Manufacturing environment, means the benefits are multiplied, as they can make best use of the Lean advantages that an oven from Heraeus Vulcan can offer. Wait till we tell them about the advances in single coat technology for MDF. But I suspect they already know!

Heraeus Vulcan Leads the way

Heraeus Vulcan are the undisputed experts in MDF powder coating, having built the two largest, high production ovens in the world. Recent full production trials in Slovakia, ran faultlessly, with 0% defects. The trial only came to a halt when part production could not keep up with the powder coating line, and they ran out of parts to powder coat! Please contact us for further information.  


Powder Coating Ovens - How To Choose

Powder Coating Ovens - How To Choose

https://catalyticovens.com/heraeus-assists-metsa-improve-output-quality-reduce-operating-costs

Powder Coating Choices

If your company is involved in powder coating products and parts, then you will either be subcontracting the work out, or will have your own in house powder coating oven. Alternatively, you may be thinking of moving from a liquid finish to a powder finish. Whatever your situation, the drive for cutting the cost of manufacturing is ever present, so this article will outline the various powder coating oven technologies available, to help you choose either a new system, or upgrade your existing facility.

Liquid or Powder Finish?


The move from liquid to powder is well established. The advantages of powder over liquid can be summarized as follows:

  • A powder coated finish is significantly tougher than a liquid finish.
  • Over spray losses for liquid finishes can be as much as 75%.
  • Around 80% of liquid finishes used in the USA are solvent based and present environmental issues.
  • Even aqueous based finishes still contain some solvents contained within the resin structure
  • The storage and transportation of liquid finishes requires the use of IBC’s (Intermediate Bulk Containers). These require special handling and storage techniques.
  • Overall, powder finishes represent a more cost effective way to getting a better finish.

Powder Coating Ovens - Available Technologies

Gas Fired Convection (batch or conveyor line)

Advantages

  • Least expensive capital cost
  • Suitable for complex geometry parts

Disadvantages

  • Inefficient
  • Expensive to run
  • Large floor space required
  • Due to long start up time, cannot be shut down during breaks in production
  • Produces noxious gases
  • High carbon footprint
  • Very large batch sizes required
  • Not particularly suited to heat sensitive substrates

Gas Radiant

Advantages

  • High heat intensity

Disadvantages

  • Expensive to run
  • Inefficient
  • Produces noxious gases
  • High carbon footprint
  • Not particularly suited to heat sensitive substrates

Gas Catalytic Infrared

Advantages

  • 50% less expensive to run
  • Short ROI (Return On Investment)
  • Improved quality and consistency of finish
  • No noxious gases produced
  • 50% smaller floor footprint
  • Highly controllable
  • Allows small batch sizes
  • Ideal for Lean Manufacturing
  • Proven on heat sensitive substrates

Disadvantages

  • Initial cost 50% higher than convection

Electric Infrared

Advantages

  • High heat intensity
  • Highly controllable


Disadvantages

  • Very high capital cost
  • Very high cost of running (4 x cost of gas per kW)

How To Choose?


Perhaps the most important factor to consider when purchasing a new powder coating oven, is the initial Return On Investment (ROI). Then, the long term cost of operation. Do your calculations carefully, talk to as many different operators of the different technologies as you can. It is vitally important to run trials of your products. Do not forget to factor in the ongoing "Total Cost of Quality". Lastly do not forget to consider the overall reduction in your Carbon Footprint.