We are a manufacturing company that has been powder coating for about 7 years. We have been preheating our parts before applying the powder using both automatic and manual guns. We are planning to upgrade our pretreatment system this year. Part of this project will include rebuilding our current preheat oven into a dry-off oven and adding a cool-down tunnel before the powder application system. This will allow us to apply the powder coating at ambient conditions. How should we proceed? D.T.
All powder coating projects involve the same steps. Proceeding in this manner will greatly reduce your risk of making a wrong decision.
- Identify your production requirements such as product size and weight, the average and maximum weight per hou to be processed, the conveyor line speed and the part temperature required to evaporate the pretreatment moisture (usually 212F) or activate the pretreatment, if applicable. You will also need to identify the desired part temperature at coating (usually below 100F).
- Identify your plant requirements such as floor space issues and plant utilities.
- Enumerate any equipment features you want and describe the minimum construction requirements for this new equipment.
- Using the information listed in the previous items, communicate it in a written equipment specification. Use this document to inform the equipment suppliers of your requirements.
- Solicit equipment bids. Analyze the bids for conformance to your requirements and for differentiating equipment designs.
- Select the vendor who best understands your requirements and has the equipment features most suited for your needs.
- Write a contract using the equipment specification you have written.
- Verify the performance of the equipment to the original equipment specifications before making your final payment.
This methodology is how our company helps end users of powder coating systems select and install equipment for their powder coating requirements. We even documented this method in the book Powder Coating: The Complete Finisher’s Handbook, edited by Nicholas Liberto, published by the Powder Coating Institute. Of course, you could always call us and we could do this for you.