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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.


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