Meeting the E-Coat Racking Challenge
Boosting productivity is an ongoing challenge on any industrial finishing line, especially those lines where racks have to be reconfigured to accommodate different sized parts.
Boosting productivity is an ongoing challenge on any industrial finishing line, especially those lines where racks have to be reconfigured to accommodate different sized parts. Adding to the productivity dilemma in electrocoat operations is the need to maintain electrical conductivity after the rack has been coated.
According to Magic Rack/Production Plus Corp. (Columbus, OH), the new, patent-pending Magic Rack MP (Multi-Purpose) racking system enhances efficiency on e-coat lines by offering a new way to reestablish conductivity without taking the racks offline for cleaning.
"For a number of years we've been faced with the challenge of helping our customers with e-coat lines that are submerging the entire rack into the tank where literally every available point for liquid to reach gets coated," says Dan Davitz, owner of Magic Rack, which has been designing and manufacturing industrial hanging paint racks and paint hooks for powder coating, e-coating, liquid spray, flow coat, fluidized beds and plating processes for more than 30 years.
"Once the whole rack has been dipped and coated and it's time to reconfigure the rack for different sizes of parts, there is no means of reestablishing that electrical contact in order to begin the cycle again.
"So, the rack has to be taken offline, cleaned in a burn-off process that generally takes a minimum of three hours and then the rack has to be washed off and cleaned up before it can be put back on the line. All of that takes time and production away from the job of coating parts."
To eliminate the need to take the rack offline in e-coat operations, Davitz explains that the Magic Rack MP has a proprietary mechanical device that reestablishes an electrical ground. "Even after the rack has been dipped and coated a number of times, you can still reconfigure it and when you do that, you reestablish an electrical contact," Davitz says, adding that the new racking system also can be used for many types of finishing systems including wet and powder coating applications. It definitely establishes itself as a "multipurpose" rack.
The impetus for the new racking system, according to Davitz, was a large equipment manufacturer's conversion from wet coating to e-coating. "Our Magic Rack I and Magic Rack II designs have been developed specifically for spray painting either wet or powder. Magic Rack I & II allow the customer to reconfigure the rack after it has been coated without the need for cleaning," says Davitz. "The electrical contact points on the hooks and rack frame are shielded from paint in such a way that it will maintain electrical contact with multiple coatings. Our customer told us they loved how these concepts worked for powder coating, but did not think they would work for e-coating. So, they gave us this challenge to come up with a solution that would have a huge impact on their operation. Thus, the Magic Rack MP was developed."
Davitz reports that the manufacturer has purchased several hundred of the new racks during the past year and is currently using them on three finishing lines that process numerous pieces of varied sizes, reconfiguring the racks as needed. "They have told us that they saved 60% in their finishing production by the ability to reconfigure the racks which increased parts density, and by reducing cleaning time between cycles.
"Typically, what you find in most manufactured racks are that welded hooks on racks tend to break at the weld point," Davitz says. "One of the major problems in the racking industry is that management has a difficult time keeping track of how much production they're actually getting because half of the racks on the line might have hooks that are damaged, or missing."
For all of it's racking designs, Magic Rack has developed special hooks to eliminate the need for welding, thus making the hooks much more durable.