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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 - 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.


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