Gas Catalytic IR-Does It Live Up To The Hype

Gas Catalytic IR: Does It Live Up To The Hype?

gas catalytic ir

​​​​The Pros, the Cons, and the Facts about this not-so-new Thermal Process

If you believe the buzz about Gas Catalytic IR, then it can cure your paint and powder, thermoform your plastics, or cure your resin (and even brown your pizza), quicker, better and less expensively than any other thermal process. Sound too good to be true? Let’s find out.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could find a thermal process that could carry out its designed tasks quicker, better and cheaper than your current system? Many manufacturers (including Heraeus!) of Gas Catalytic IR systems claim that it can, but how and why? Is this always the case? Why are some system designs better than others? Why do some never live up to the hype?

How to read this article:

If you are just curious about Gas Catalytic IR:

  • Feel free to skim and to learn whatever you like
  • The key takeaways are in the red and green boxes

If you want to ​learn more about Gas Catalytic IR, in depth, then read the bits in between the boxes!

Key PointS - ​About this article

​We Will Explore:

  • Convection Ovens
  • Why Convection Ovens Are Not All that Bad
  • What is Gas Catalytic IR?
  • ​How Does IR Work?
  • Will IR Work For My Application?


  • ​What Are The Alternatives?
  • When To Use Gas Catalytic IR
  • Why It Is Not Always The Best Solution?
  • ​Can Convection and IR Be Combined?

Before Gas Catalytic IR - Tried and Trusted Convection Ovens

In the old days, there was only one option. Processes that required heat to dry or cure either paint or powder when applied to a substrate were generally carried out using a convection oven. A convection oven can generally be described as an insulated enclosure with a heat source, usually a gas fired burner, heat ducts for distribution and finally an exhaust duct for combustion by-products. 

The hot air heats the parts and the coating up to the temperature that is required for the curing chemistry to be activated. The ovens can be either closed, "batch" ovens or continuous flow ovens where parts pass through, ​suspended from an over head conveyor or supported on a "chain on edge" conveyor.

​The overiding battle with convection ovens is very much a "rear guard" action. The two main battle lines are heat retention and the effects of moving air (powder blow off, dust creation and movement).

Heat retention means having a well insulated enclosure, which impacts initial cost. Also consider the amount of time and energy it takes to bring a convection up to its operating temperature from a cold start. The burner has to provide enough energy to heat the complete internal structure, including walls, ducts and conveyors up to temperature. This process can take up to an hour or more. Also consider workers breaks and the decision to either keep the oven running with nothing going through it or shutting it down.

Studies have shown, that at best the thermal efficiency of a convection oven is very low, at around the 7% level. This means that only 7% of the energy used in a convection oven is used to heat the part sufficiently to cure the coating. Over time, convection ovens became more developed with air curtains, heat recovery and recirculation systems introduced to increase their efficiency and reduce heat losses but advances in thermal efficiency have been very limited. There are, of course, also Gas Radiant and Electric IR Systems to consider.

The Problem With Convection Ovens

The effects of moving air are very much a double edged sword. Dry-off ovens, which use gas burners and high volume airflow, to remove water after a wash process, and before coating are without doubt the most effective solution available. But moving air in a powder coating oven can cause a number of problems.

Powder blow-off is a perennial problem. Much time is spent ensuring an even covering of powder at the right thickness, only to see it blown off when entering the convection oven. Cross contamination is another; two parts with different colors have to be very well spaced apart to ensure powder from one does not blow off onto the other. Lastly, air movement will carry dust which can land on curing parts thus creating a quality control problem. The only preventative measure is either air filtration (added cost) and regular cleaning of the oven.

Lastly, but not least is the issue of pollutants. Burning natural gas produces Nitrogen Oxide (NOX), Sulfur Dioxide (both of which are regulated pollutants), Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide and particulates.

So, do convection ovens still have a role in todays finishing industry? The answer is emphatically yes, as we will see when we talk about hybrid systems. But be aware that there are serious drawbacks that must be considered.

Key PointS - Convection Ovens

​Advantages

  • Lowest initial cost of all technologies
  • Works well with all part geometries
  • Readily available new & used
  • Can be a quick & expedient solution

​Disadvantages

  • Highest operating cost of all technologies
  • Not suitable for heat sensitive substrates
  • Largest floor area required of all technologies
  • Thermally very inefficient
  • Produces regulated pollutants
  • Not as efficient as Gas Catalytic IR for either curing or drying (dry-off)

Gas Catalytic IR Technology

​Gas Catalytic IR Technology uses Infra Red energy waves that are not converted into heat until they hit an object.

The Infra Red (IR) energy is produced by passing natural gas through a pad of special fibres that have been impregnated with Platinum. This creates a true Catalytic reaction (the Platinum remains unchanged) that produces Infra Red energy, Carbon Dioxide and water vapor.

The natural gas is not burnt, as it is with a convection oven, so it does not produce ​any regulated pollutants.

The main advantage of Infra Red when used in the finishing industry is that it is inherently efficient, as more of the available energy is used to heat the part, not the surrounding air. It does not rely on air movement so the problems of powder blow-off or cross contamination does not exist. When compared to convection ovens, with a thermal efficiency of only 7%, Gas Catalytic IR has an amazing 80% efficiency level. What this means in real terms is that Gas Catalytic IR ovens cost around 50% less to run than a convection oven. 

The main technical challenge with Infra Red energy is that it travels in straight lines, so it "heats what it sees", which is why it is not always suitable for all part geometries. This challenge is surmountable in the vast majority of cases by a combination of careful oven design, panel positioning and using natural heat conduction within the part.

​For industrial applications the Infra Red emitters are generally panels of various sizes that can be arranged in different configurations to suit the application. The level of Infra Red output can be controlled by regulating the amount of natural gas that is passed through the catalyst. To ensure a continuous catalytic reation, a gas flow equating to 20% of the total available output needs to be maintained. This means that during work breaks and line stoppages, a "stand-by" mode is available which requies less energy usage.

What Does A Gas Catalytic IR Oven Consist Of?

A Gas Catalytic Infra Red oven consists of a series of emitter panels arranged in modules or sections. Because there are a number of individual panels in each oven, they inherently lend themselves to be individually controlled, usually by PLC touch screen controls. The panels can be controlled in groups both vertically and horizontally. This features gives a very close control on the heat profile of the oven from entry to exit. More heat is required on entry to quickly raise the part temperature, but once the cure chemistry has started, less heat is required to maintain the process.

It is important to note that the gaps that occur between the Infra Red panels are filled in with a reflective material. This feature ensures that Infra Red waves that do not hit the parts are reflected back and either re-absorbed into the surface of the panels or redirected onto the part. This is what is called Fully Reflective Technology. Failure to use this will result in IR being wasted adding heat to the surrounding work area, including the back of the oven. This is often seen on "stick built" ovens, i.e. ovens which have Gas Catalytic IR heaters simply bolted on to Unistrut or welded angle iron framework. This leaves gaps between the heaters and presents a fundamental design flaw.

Heat The Part Not The Air

As it is the part instead of the air that is heated by the Infra Red energy, then there is no need for insulated contruction panels anywhere in the oven construction, except in poorly designed ovens that do not use Fully Reflective Technology between the heater panels. In this case Infra Red energy that misses the part escapes via the gaps between the Infra Red panels, out into the general workshop area or is absorbed by the insulated contsruction panels. A good guide to bear in mind is the 3:1 Rule, which says that one minute in a Gas Catalytic IR oven is the equivalent to three minutes in a Convection oven.

There is usually an air extraction facility which operates at a very low CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute). This does not give rise to any significant air movement within the oven, thus reducing any associated problems.

​One of the key points about Gas Catalytic IR is that it can be used on heat sensitive substrates such as engineered timber (MDF, Plywood etc.) as well as any type of metallic substrate. Well known Scandinavian furniture manufacturer IKEA are already well advanced in using Gas Catalytic IR technology to cure powder on MDF and thus remove the need for liquid finishes. The reduction in handling costs, by reducing a 3 or 4 coat finish to a single powder coat are staggering. Powder coated MDF products have another huge advantage over liquid finishes in that they can be used in high humidity applications.

​Key PointS - Gas Catalytic IR Ovens

​Advantages

  • ​Lowest operating cost of all technologies
  • Suitable for heat sensitive substrates (MDF, Plywood etc.)
  • Smallest floor area required of all technologies
  • Thermally very efficient
  • Fast warm up times
  • No regulated pollutants created
  • Improves quality
  • Improves output

​Disadvantages

  • Highest initial cost of all technologies
  • Complicated part geometires require careful oven design

​What About a Hybrid System - Part Infra Red Oven and Part Convection Oven?

​Now that's a sensible question! A very valid option is to place a Gas Catalytic Infra Red oven directly in front of a convection oven.

This form of Gas Catalytic Infra Red oven is commonly known as a Pre Gel Oven.

The main feature of this arrangement is that the parts are brought up to cure temperature very quickly in the Infra Red part of the oven before passing into a convection oven to maintain the temperature during ​cure completion phase.

The advantages include the overall reduction of the plant footprint when compared to a single convection oven. So, if you are short of space, but want to increase output without the expense of completely replacing your convection oven, then a Pre Gel Oven may be the solution.

Another major advantage is the reduced capital investment. Gas Catalytic IR Pre Gel ovens are smaller and therefore less expensive, so they do provide a big "Bang for your Buck". There will also be a modest reduction in overall operating costs.

It is also useful if parts have complicated geometries, as the convection oven ensures complete curing of hidden areas. Also very useful for parts that have elements with thick cross sections, as they do not need to reach cure temperature internally as they would with convection ovens.

Cross contamination is eliminated allowing closer spacing of parts on the conveyor. Powder "blow off" is also eliminated, thus making powder consumption reductions.

Key PointS - Hybrid (Pre-Gel) & convection ovens

​Advantages

  • ​​Provides Flexibility
  • Any Part Geometry
  • Higher Output From Same Floorspace
  • Very Cost Effective

​Disadvantages

  • ​Not Quite The Full Energy Saving Package
  • Not Quite The Full Space Saving Package
  • Still Produces Regulated Pollutants

What About ROI (Return On Investment)

​​​​Because of the huge savings in operating costs, improved quality and improved output, the ROI for new installations can be 12 months, well below the 2 or 3 years that most corporate accounting rules demand. That e​xperience is just based on Capital Cost v. Operating Costs savings. Delve deeper and there are savings on powder, improved production and a big reduction on the "Total Cost of Quality" and the ROI looks even better.

​Gas Catalytic IR - Are There Any Pitfalls?

Yes there are! The most important aspect of moving over to Gas Catalytic IR from Convection, is to ensure that your new IR oven has been correctly designed. The correct design comes from a process of assessing all the part geometires, the ​cure schedule for the coating and the substrates.

The best way to do this is to ensure that the manufacturer of the Gas Catalytic IR Oven carries out testing. If done correctly this will enable all the above factors to be taken into account, plus build in a contingency for future line speed increases, or other planned changes.

Every now and again, one hears of isolated incidences of Gas Catalytic IR ovens that do not work as intended. Experience has shown that either the technology has been incorrectly applied in the first instance, the oven has been incorrectly designed, or the system has not been built with enough thermal capacity. ​

Key PointS - ​Payback & pitfalls

​ROI (Return On Investment)

  • ​​Generally Very Quick (12 months)
  • ​Don't Forget Savings On:
    • Powder
    • Improved Output
    • Total Cost of Quality
  • Higher Output From Same Floorspace
  • Very Cost Effective

​Pitfalls

  • ​​Incorrectly Designed Oven
  • ​Insufficient Thermal Capacity
  • ​Ensure Your Application is Suitable for Gas Catalytic IR

What To Do Next

​​​​If you have read this far, you are probably interested in looking at Gas Catalytic IR (or not) as a potential thermal process!

​One of the following situations may apply to you:

  • ​Requirement for added capacity from within existing available space
  • Requirement to replace old and inefficient existing equipment
  • Requirement to reduce the "Total Cost of Quality"
  • Requirement to reduce running costs

In reality it will probably be a mix of "all of the above". The best place to start will be to:

  • Find out if your application is suitable for Gas Catalytic IR by testing
  • Read some Case Studies
  • ​Look at all aspects of your current thermal process and indentify potential areas that could be improved.
  • Talk to a designer of Gas Catalytic IR and get a ROM (Rough Order of Magnitude) costing.
  • Test your products at one of Heraeus's Application Test Centres (USA, UK & China)
  • Proceed to a full quotaion
  • Determine the Payback time

Key PointS - ​does gas catalytic ir live up to the hype?

​Well.....It's not all Hype!

  • ​​​Gas Catalytic IR has very legitimate place alongside other technologies
  • Overall, ​​It has huge advantages and minor disadvantages
  • Its very well established technology


  • ​​It is expensive to buy
  • ​It is consideraby cheaper to run
  • ​​It is very eco friendly
  • ​it produces a better product
  • ​Gas Catalytic IR is a valid choice for ​most thermal processes
  • Test before you buy
  • Deal with the experts in the field

Life Fitness Doubles Production with Gas Catalytic Infrared

​Life Fitness Doubles its Production with 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

​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

Managing Director

Climate Coating Ltd


“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

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 - 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.

Doughty Engineering Ltd. - Flexible Powder Coating System - Case Study

New Gas Catalytic Powder Coating Oven Improves Response Time

Powder Coating System Case Study

Apart from the reduction in operating costs and the improvement in quality; the intangible benefits such as improved customer service and the ability to be more responsive will help us maintain existing and gain new customers. The new powder coating system has surpassed our expectations and made an immediate difference to our business.

​Stephen Wright

​Director

​Doughty Engineering Ltd

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

New Powder Coating System Improves Response Time

Powder Coating System Case Study. Doughty Engineering is the world leader in the design and manufacture of rigging, suspension and lifting equipment for the film, TV and theatre industry. Prior to installing a new powder coating system, the company outsourced all their powder coating to two subcontractors. Whilst they were generally happy with service that was offered; typical turnaround time was anything from 2 days to a week. However, it became  clear to Doughty Engineering that over the last 5 years,  customers were becoming more demanding. They were holding less stock and so expected suppliers to hold large stocks and offer short lead times. Maintaining large stocks was not the answer, especially when there are 100's of products. However, the converse was not an option either. If a customer called for a part and it was not in stock, they would simply phone up another supplier. This created the risk of losing hard won business to competitors.

So the ability to become much more flexible and responsive became important. The answer was to bring 95% of their powder coating "in-house". Working with systems house Junair (Spraybooths) Ltd,  Gema UK and Caldan conveyors, the optimum system was designed and implemented. For the oven, Heraeus Vulcan Gas Catalytic IR technology was chosen due to its superior energy efficiency, small footprint, and improved finish quality over conventional convection technology.

What Happened Next?

The system has now been running faultlessly since February 2014.

Key improvements  are:

  • 10% operating cost saving
  • Increased throughput
  • Considerably reduced  lead times
  • Three hours not unusual
  • Rush jobs in custom colours carried out "While You Wait"
  • Improved quality
  • Increased capacity
  • Customer retention maintained
  • Production easier to manage


Energy Efficient Powder Coating System - Case Study

Energy Efficient Powder Coating Oven

Energy Efficient Powder Coating System - Case Study

It used to take 70 minutes to cure our parts with the old convection oven. With the new Heraeus Vulcan oven, it now takes only 12 minutes! We are very satisfied with its performance!

​​Mr Weikart

​Company Owner

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

Large Parts Curing in Record Time in Energy Efficient Powder Coating System

Working with our distributor in the Czech Republic, Surfin s.r.o, Heraeus Vulcan designed a new energy efficient powder coating system for Dikrt spol. s r.o. . The system is designed to cure powder on large agricultural parts, and the performance of the oven has exceeded expectation. Mr Weikert, the company's owner stated: "It used to take 70 minutes to cure our parts with the old convection oven. With the new Vulcan oven, it now takes only 12 minutes! We are very satisfied with its performance!"

How Did We Do It?

Working with our distributor in the Czech Republic, Jaroslav Blazek of Surfin s.r.o., the customer was able to see an existing Heraeus Vulcan system at another location and carry out part testing. Heraeus Vulcan then designed the powder coating oven to meet the customer's requirements using SolidWorks. Heraeus Vulcan then provided Surfin s.r.o with a package that included the sheet metal design, the Heraeus Vulcan infrared heaters and the controls. To see a video on how Heraeus Vulcan designs and builds ovens, please follow the link. The system was then easily constructed at the Surfin factory, with the sheet metal parts being produced locally from the SolidWorks files. The new energy efficient powder coating system was then installed and commissioned at the customer's site within a few days.

Advantages of a Energy Efficient Powder Coating System from Heraeus Vulcan

All Heraeus Vulcan energy efficient powder coating systems operate using the principles of gas catalytic infrared heating. This type of system has an energy to effective heat conversion ratio of 85%, compared to traditional convection oven which is only 5% - 7% efficient. In practical operation this results in curing  taking a third less time in a gas catalytic infrared oven than a gas fired convection oven. This translates into significantly reduced energy bills. The flameless nature of our systems means that there is no noxious emissions such as Nitric Oxide or Nitrogen Dioxide, so Heraeus Vulcan ovens are environmentally friendly. 

Wheel Refurbishment Case Study

New Wheel Refurbishment Powder Coating Oven Delivers!

wheel refurbishment powder coating oven case study

The successful conversion has allowed Snider Fleet Solutions to stay ahead of growing demand. The line is currently operating around the clock and we have the capacity to exceed 10,000 wheels per month. The biggest advantage of the new system is our ability to continually move parts through our process. It works very well now.The benefits of using efficient Gas Catalytic IR ovens has saved us a ton of gas already! Our old convection oven was very inefficient.The gas savings alone since the conversion have completely paid for the new ovens within 18 months of installation.

​Dave Double

​Plant Manager

​Snider Fleet Solutions

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

Wheel Refurbishment Powder Coating Oven

Snider Fleet Solutions in Greensboro, N.C. supplies tires, retreads and vehicle services to the transportation industry. The company operates a growing auto and truck wheel refurbishment service in Bluffton, Ind.

Until 3 years ago the company utilized a single convection oven that limited production to 3,000 wheels per month. They were also experiencing very high utility bills. Dave Double, Plant Manager at Snider Fleet Solutions needed a more flexible and cost effective solution. Dave carried out his research and concluded that Vulcan Catalytic Systems (now Heraeus Vulcan) was the best choice for revamping their systems.

So, the company installed a Vulcan (now Heraeus Vulcan) Gas Catalytic Infrared Powder Coating Oven to keep up with the growing demand for wheel refurbishment. They also adopted a new overhead track from Nikotrack, which incorporated staging areas to provide flexibility in the routing of parts through the system. This layout adopts a Lean Manufacturing approach, which ensures flexibility in batch sizes, to ensure that product is completed according the "pull" of the customer.

Overall, the new system has helped production to triple with the line currently running around the clock, powder coating 9,500 wheels per month, with the capacity to exceed 10,000 wheels per month. The full case study was published in Powder Coating Magazine.

Powder Coating Ovens - How To Choose

Powder Coating Ovens - How To Choose

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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 - Comparison of Available Technologies

Gas Fired Convection (batch or conveyor line)

Advantages

Disadvantages

Lowest Capital Cost

Inefficient

Suitable for complex geometry parts

Expensive to run

Large floor space required

Long start up time

Cannot be shutdown during work or production breaks

Produces noxious gasses

High Carbon footprint

Large batch sizes required

Not suited for heat sensitive substrates

Gas Radiant

Advantages

Disadvantages

High Heat Intensity

Expensive to run


Inefficient

Produces noxious gasses

High Carbon footprint

Not suited for heat sensitive substrates

Gas Catalytic Infrared

Advantages

Disadvantages

50% less expensive to operate

Initial cost 50% higher than convection

Short ROI (return on investment)

Improved quality and consistency of finish

No noxious gases produced

Low Carbon footprint

Allows small batch sizes

50% smaller floor footprint

Proven for heat sensitive substrates

Ideal for Lean Manufacturing Implementation

Electric Infrared

Advantages

Disadvantages

High Heat Intensity

Very high capital cost

Highly controllable

Very high running cost (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.