"We have determined that our future is in the increased quality of our coating business, greater productivity in coatings and more emphasis on combining our coating services with other aspects of our business," stated Doug Stiglitz, president of the Stiglitz Corporation, Louisville, Kentucky.
Stiglitz's first powder coating line was created in 1986 from a wet paint processing line that had been at the company since 1967. The line features an eight-ft Ransburg Gema powder paint booth and a 72-ft oven. The line speed is 10 fpm so that parts have time to cure during the seven min bake cycle. This is now the company's Class II line.
"We were trying to get into some major appliance markets, and we needed a line that would produce a better quality finish," Mr. Stiglitz noted. The company ran into a number of road blocks with the older system. The finish quality was not good enough for parts that require a superior, attractive finish. "We ended up looking for non-appearance, lower quality work. We wanted to get back into the high-quality appearance coatings," Mr. Stiglitz admitted.
First, Mr. Stiglitz looked at the market and competition in the Louisville area. "We decided to base our company on service. Get the customer what it needs and have the proper attitude. We recognize that the customer is a vital link to our survival," he stated.
Since Stiglitz Corporation also does stamping, welding, fabrication and assembly, some of its customers are also its competition. "We are willing to step in and out at any stage of the manufacturing process," noted Mr. Stiglitz. "We are not looking to take business from any of our competition. But if there is new business, we will compete with them for it."
However, the new line was installed without any work dedicated to it. "We could not go out and pre-sell the line, because the customer would want us to start powder coating the next week," Mr. Stiglitz explained.
The process line begins with a six-stage pretreatment system. The first spray booth section is 22 ft long. Flash Clene 27A from Coral Chemical Co. is sprayed on the parts at 14 to 16 psi at 140F. The second stage is a counterflow rinse. Stage three features SurCoat 3 iron phosphate. This stage runs at 120F and at a pH of 5. Stage four is another counterflowing rinse. Process water from welding operations in the plant is used for the counterflow rinsing stations. This water is clean and has only been used for cooling purposes. There is also a pump at the rinse stages to pump this water into process tanks to replenish them as needed.
The fifth stage is a non-chrome sealer 161WW56. The psi in this stage is 12 to 14 and the pH 5. The sixth stage is a DI rinse. The Autotrol Corp. microprocessor deionizing unit surpasses industry standards in ohms of quality water.
Following pretreatment, parts pass through the dryoff oven for six min and then cool down for eight min prior to powder coating.
The powder application room is temperature and humidity controlled. Mr. Stiglitz installed a 15 ton air conditioning unit to keep the humidity at 45 pct and the temperature at 72F. Operators have found that these conditions provide the best powder fluidization.
As parts enter the booth, an automatic triggering package tells the application equipment how quickly the line is running. Sensors at the booth opening trigger the guns on and off. For some parts the guns may spray eight inches before the part arrives. Other parts may begin later. The program depends on the part's complexity.
The Gema booth features eight automatic reciprocating guns and two manual guns. It is 24 ft long and has a 10,000 cfm collector. Three interchangeable cartridges are dedicated to black, white and almond, and the fourth has been designated as a spray-to-waste cartridge. Each cartridge has a dedicated sieve to prevent cross contamination of powder.
Color changeover requires approximately one and a half hours. A central vacuum system from Invincible AirFlow Systems is used to clean out the booth and remove excess powder from the cartridge filters.
The convection curing oven provides an average of 18.5 min cure time. The oven was built overhead, with the cool down area underneath. Cool down is 17 min at 15 min fpm.
Paint hooks and hangers from both powder coating lines are cleaned in one of two Pollution Control Products' burn-off ovens. Mr. Stiglitz found that purchasing the ovens, rather than sending the hooks out for stripping, has saved both time and money for his operation.
Now Stiglitz Corporation is poised to offer first-class powder coating coverage as well as powder coating for parts whose appearance is not critical. The future of the oldest company in Louisville is in its coating line, so it made sure it installed the best for its customers.