Paint Application Without Atomizer Eliminates Overspray
Dürr's EcoPaintJet applicator applies paint in continuous jets, eliminating overspray, enabling quick color changes and improving efficiency.
EcoPaintJet’s nozzle plate has around 50 capillary nozzles that produce parallel paint jets.Photo Credit: Durr
Dürr (Southfield, Mich.) has focused in recent years in automation for liquid coating applications, particularly in the automotive sector. Its recent innovation, the EcoPaintJet, started primarily in automotive production. It is designed to apply paint over a large area or in simple patterns with high edge definition without any overspray, making it a sustainable solution that reduces waste. It also enables fast color changes. After a successful year on the market, the technology is available for integration into general industry applications beyond the automotive sector.
The EcoPaintJet’s story began back in 2008, when engineers at Dürr began investigating how to increase transfer efficiency up to 100%. They explored different inkjet technologies and read dozens of patents. The first iteration was an attempt to create homogenous droplets, but with paint instead of ink. From 2010 to 2012, the company worked on this as part of a government-funded project, and in 2013 they made the decision to expand the project independently, increasing efforts and manpower.
The extended R&D and hard work has paid off. The EcoPaintJet won 2020’s “Deutscher Innovationspreis” innovation award in Germany. As part of Dürr’s overspray-free application set, the EcoPaintJet is designed to eliminate overspray, thereby reducing waste and the need for masking or film-wrapping to get a paint job with sharp edges.
The most important component in the overspray-free application set is the paint supply, combined with the cleaning and pre-painting process. The EcoPaintJet controls this using three valves. The heart of the applicator itself is a nozzle plate with around 50 capillary nozzles that produce parallel paint jets, depending on the design. These can be activated or deactivated at any given moment to start or stop the coating process or enable quick color changes. It works without an atomizer, leaving no overspray to be filtered from paint booth air.
It’s specifically designed to cover large surfaces, but it is customizable. The width of the painting path can be adjusted via the applicator’s angle of application, enabling a path from 30-50 mm wide. Narrow widths can be produced by adapting the nozzle plate. The desired coating thickness is controlled via the applicator speed and solid content of the paint.
“The overspray-free application set enables application with high edge definition, fast color changes, and a custom surface design,” according to Holger Beiersdorfer, vice president industrial products at Dürr. “This makes our technology attractive even in scenarios where an automated painting method was not previously conceivable.” The company continues to expand application possibilities — it has currently experimented with coating fire helmets, champagne bottles and window frames, among many other parts.
The Austrian paint manufacturer Adler has developed colorless and pigmented coating solutions that are precisely tailored to work with this technology. “We developed innovative and environmentally friendly, water-based products that deliver maximum durability and at the same time visual individuality for more than just sheet material,” says Dr. Albert Rössler, CTO at Adler.
Dürr Group | 866-387-7178 | durr-group.com/en/
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