Cleaning an E-Coat Oven
How can we clean an electrocoat oven for producing high-quality parts?
Q. How can we clean an electrocoat oven for producing high-quality parts?—J.X.
A. Cleaning an e-coat oven at adequate frequencies is necessary to maintain good operating performance.
The climate and geological environment, whether or not you are in a heated/air-conditioned facility or have many open doors and direct exposure to outside conditions, in many cases influence the proper cleaning frequency. In the electrocoat industry, oven cleaning frequency typically ranges from once per quarter to once per year, but what works for some companies does not necessarily work for others. Local conditions for oven cleaning prevail over all other design or operating conditions or recommendations.
To clean an e-coat oven, proper lighting and the availability of compressed air are necessary, as are working tools such as brooms, rags, a vacuum sweeper, etc. A proper oven cleaning must include at least the following four basic steps:
- Use compressed air to blow off all oven surfaces, including monorails, oven fans, oven structures, and all sheet metal surfaces and corners.
- Use brooms and a vacuum sweeper to remove all loose debris and dirt.
- Use wet rags to wipe clean all surfaces, including monorails, fans, structures, sheet metal surfaces and corners. Make sure there is no loose red dust residue (iron oxide) on any walls or surfaces.
- After steps 1, 2 and 3 are completed, operate the oven fans (circulation and exhaust) at ambient temperature with the burner off for at least 4 hrs so that the oven can perform a final self-cleaning.
Never use water to hose down the oven. This can damage the heat insulation in the oven panels and significantly decrease its effectiveness. After completing these steps, the oven will be clean and ready for testing and verification with production parts.
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This paper is a peer-reviewed and edited version of a presentation delivered at NASF SUR/FIN 2012 in Las Vegas, Nev., on June 12, 2012.
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