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11/1/1998 | 3 MINUTE READ

Integrating Paint Systems

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IFT specializes in liquid paint application and turnkey finishing system integration ...


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Industrial Finishing Technologies (IFT) neither manufactures finishing components nor is it a finishing job shop. Yet, IFT's Midwest and Southeastern divisions thrive right in the thick of the finishing industry. IFT represents a new generation turnkey finishing systems integrator, a small specialized corporation that is equipped to accommodate the exclusive needs of finishers moving into the 21st century. IFT's system designs represent reliability and repeatability by design, not good fortune.

IFT's Midwest division in Plymouth, Michigan, is said to offer the largest and most advanced liquid application and validation test center in North America. The center's goal is to demonstrate a partnership and strengthen customer relations by emulating and simulating production liquid finishing processes and the best available control technology prior to purchase and installation of a turnkey system.

Customers are the company's most valued resource and during their initial visit are greeted by company President and CEO Dane K. Ball. Mr. Ball gives the potential customer a tour of the center and reviews IFT's engineering and installation capabilities. IFT staff members may then provide trial runs and demonstrations using the most advanced liquid application coating techniques. All visitors are also issued electronic key card passes for ionizing air shower (decontamination) entry into the cleanroom application center.

Whenever a finishing company researches, invests in and installs a turnkey finishing system, it usually relies on the supplier to ensure that the system works. IFT's new facility is capable of validating proposed industrial turnkey finishing systems prior to construction.

IFT's facility is 30,000 sq ft, with approximately 12,000 sq ft of cleanroom test area. The unique feature of the facility is the design versatility. The center is capable of simulating all application techniques and environments when applying liquid coatings. Also within the perimeter of the center is the ability to fully control the environment, temperature and relative humidity.

The center's system design begins with a four-stage pretreatment power-washing system for particulate contaminant removal. The center also features multiple finishing cells, each equipped with the latest electric servo-driven painting robots. The finishing robots are housed in high-efficiency spray chambers or cells. Power-and-free, overhead inverted monorail and indexing shuttle conveyor systems are used to transport parts into the automated test cells.

Mobile telephone parts are spray painted using robotics.

Ancillary spray equipment includes rotary atomizing robotic bells, single- and dual-head electrostatic air spray (conventional and HVLP), air-assisted airless and other conventional spray systems.

Control measures include custom air-logic panels for automatic off-station control of the spray outlets, programmable electronic metering and mixing systems and a paint kitchen complete with heated and non-heated fluid-feed modules and circulating systems. Infrared and convection ovens are used to cure water- and solvent-borne, single- and two-component coatings.

IFT also offers custom-designed features and products that are not readily available on the market. Some of these products include custom end-of-arm robotic tooling with dual positive locators; custom fluid supply reservoirs; waste recovery systems; specialized fluid pumping and circulating systems; precise fluid control; high-pressure automatic aircap, fluid tip and bell cup washers; mechanical fixed-ratio plural component metering and mixing spray systems; electronic plural component metering/mixing systems; automatic purge and flushing systems; and specialized manual spray systems.

IFT's support staff is equipped with mobile, modular demo labs to provide fast and efficient technical support and service for customers. Each mobile lab has conventional, automatic and manual spray technology, HVLP, electrostatic, air-assisted airless, mobile ovens and single- and plural-component fluid supply pumping systems for on-site application demonstrations.

In addition to conceptualizing, designing and building, the company also provides start-up support and complete training programs. IFT assumes full responsibility for system design and performance. However, the responsibility does not end there. The company can assume full responsibility for a turnkey installation or assist your maintenance staff with installation in order to reduce costs.

With all base and ancillary equipment supplied, regardless of the level of control given, IFT will assume full responsibility for integration. The company also offers warranty and service programs for long-term support. An IFT program manager supervises the delivery and installation of each turnkey system.

IFT has helped several customers with simple solutions to critical finishing questions, including Johnson Controls, Guardian Automotive, Cambridge Industries, Magna, A&K Finishing, and Lescoa Corp.

IFT will assist from start to finish; from preliminary concept and design to installation. The company provides detailed work specifications outlining a system that is built to fit a company's particular applications and budget. IFT tests the liquid coating system to ensure its quality before the customer commits to buying it.