Paint Line Energy Reductions
Q. I wasn’t here, but I heard that because of the natural gas shortages during the Winter of 1976-1977, our paint line was shut down for nearly two weeks. Since that time, the costs for running our paint baking oven has increased. These costs have risen dramatically over the past month and are eating up our profits. We are applying a baking enamel on steel cabinets in a very competitive market. The enamel is baked 20 min at 350ºF in a direct fired gas oven. What can we do to reduce the amount of energy used in our paint line? S. R.
A1. One suggestion is to investigate the high-quality paints based on two-component polyurethane technology. These products can be formulated to have almost any degree of hardness, flexibility, corrosion resistance and weather resistance. Although this technology is not new, the coatings have been improved to increase their versatility.
Low-temperature curing polyester and acrylic modified polyurethanes are marketed today having drying times of 20–30 minutes at ambient temperature, which is essentially the same as your cure time. If a force dry is desired, or a little heat is required to raise ambient temperatures during Winter months, an electric or gas infrared oven may be substituted for your present gas oven. Although there are other alternatives, such as paints based on polyester and epoxy resin technology, the use of polyurethane coatings offer one of the best chances for reducing energy use and finishing costs.
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