Q. I am a manufacturing engineer in charge of the finishing facilities at my plant, one of which is the paint line. We apply a baking enamel on all of our painted products.
I have a problem in the paint bake oven. The oven ceiling is covered with oil, and during a recent maintenance inspection, the gang supervisor expressed his concern with the amount of oil, and its probability of causing a fire, and about plant safety in general.
What is the possible cause of this? How can we get rid of it? –V.P.
A. You are either using too much or the wrong type of lubricant on the conveyor chain and its associated parts. The necessity for lubricating a conveyor is well-known. Otherwise, conveyor chain parts will wear and break with disastrous results. The problem is that the lubricant on your conveyor mechanism is boiling, evaporating and then condensing on the paint booth ceiling.
Obviously, the oven ceiling is not well-insulated, and therefore it’s at a lower temperature than the rest of the oven enclosure. The bad news is that it is also possible that too much lubricant built up on the oven ceiling can start dripping onto painted parts.
A conveyor passing through a paint bake oven requires the use of a high-temperature lubricant. You may be using the wrong lubricant. I suggest you check the temperature rating of the lubricant and change it if necessary.
Another solution would be to insulate the oven ceiling. That would not only lower your heat loss through the ceiling, it would also reduce your fuel costs.