Determining the Best Racking Arrangement for Powder Coating

Use common sense to figure out the optimum hanging patterns for coating parts, advises powder expert Rodger Talbert.

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Q. We struggle to find the best hanging patterns on racks. Can you give us some guidelines on how to decide the best racking arrangement?

A. The best racking arrangement relies heavily on common sense. Pay attention to how much space you have to work with on the line and how much part surface area you can effectively cover per minute or other measure of time. Fill the line up as much as possible, so long as the yield is high in volume and acceptable in quality. Do not leave unnecessary gaps and do not overload the line so that operators have to stop it to keep up or generate excess rejects.

Make sure the parts are positioned so that they can be easily reached and covered. Make sure each part is held in a stable position, and that parts do not swing into one another or into the rack frame. Be certain that you have a good ground contact that can be maintained. Hang parts in a consistent fashion and make sure you limit bare hooks on a rack. Simple hooks are fine as long as they provide the needed density and stability, but custom racking can be very helpful in achieving the best possible throughput. If you do decide to try a custom rack, you should consider making up three sample racks and use them for a while to see if you have the best pattern and density. When the sample racks prove out, you can go ahead and build a larger quantity.

I have found that when a job shop is struggling to show a good profit, they are often losing a lot of money because they do not follow good racking principles. Making good decisions about how to rack a part, even if it means investment in new tooling, can provide a much better margin than just using hooks for everything.  

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