Q. I have read about systems that coat long aluminum extrusions that are held in the vertical position. We currently coat extrusions that are racked horizontally, and we need more capacity. Can you explain the pros and cons of a vertical system? T.J.
A. Vertical powder systems are quite popular in Europe, but there are not too many in North America. Vertical systems that apply liquid paint are more common in the United States. Racking an extrusion in the vertical position does have some clear advantages. Density is excellent, of course, and the part can be positioned for very good access to the Faraday areas (inside recesses). Drainage is good, so drain zones in the washer are much shorter than in a horizontal system. Application is strictly automatic and usually more reliable than horizontal systems. Ovens can be shorter, and the overall cycle time through the system is usually much faster. You can get a lot of capacity in a relatively small system.
Of course, vertical systems will not be inexpensive. You will have a very large booth, a lot of spray guns, a lot of nozzles in the washer and a very tall system. The booth is unique and expensive. You will have to run a lot of product to justify the volume and cost associated with the vertical system. All in all, if you have the need for the volume, the vertical system can be a very good way to run aluminum extrusion.