High energy costs, low efficiency, uncertain supply situation: There are a number of disadvantages and risks relating to gas-powered drying facilities. A pioneering alternative is IRT booster drying with a special Teknos powder paint.
Powder coating processes using gas-powered convection ovens have a number of disadvantages: high energy requirements, low efficiency, long lead and follow-up times, and a high dependency on gas as an energy source. Teknos has developed a pioneering alternative for powder coating in collaboration with Hedson Technologies, the Swedish manufacturer of IRT infrared drying systems: an energy-efficient process with a special powder coating for low burn-in temperatures and booster drying with electric infrared emitters.
The powder coating of steel profiles, for example, showcases the advantages of the solution. Conventional processes in gas-powered drying facilities require a dwell time of approximately 9-10 minutes for heating and gelling plus an additional 10 minutes for burning in. The oven operates continuously, even when the production line stops.
The IRT booster operates with a different process: Here, electrically operated quartz glass lamps act directly on the component. Separate gold-coated reflectors ensure that 98% of the emitted energy is actually utilized.
The IRT emitters are only activated when components pass the sensor barrier, and only in the defined zones required for the relevant component length.
Maximum efficiency with special Teknos powder
Teknos offers a special INFRALIT powder for this process. The powder paint was developed for low burn-in temperatures and accelerates infrared drying, thereby fully exploiting the potential of IRT technology.
Teknos powder increased the energy efficiency of the process by up to 50 percent.
"During testing, it emerged that the process times of conventional low-temperature powders available on the market were three minutes or more", explains Jörg Andres, Regional Sales Manager for Industrial Curing at Hedson Technologies. "With the Teknos powder, however, the paint on the same workpiece had fully hardened in 90 seconds. As a consequence, Teknos powder increased the energy efficiency of the process by up to 50 percent. The gelling and stopping zone was also significantly shorter, which means lower investment costs."
The savings potential is phenomenal. Instead of 510 kWh of gas required for conventional convector drying, the Teknos powder coating with IRT booster mentioned in the above example only requires 235 kW/h of electrical energy, which is 54% less. In terms of actual operating times, the reduction can be as much as 64%, because instead of preheating and operating continuously like a drying oven, the IRT emitters switch to standby during shift and color changes as well as during cleaning and break times.
The booster process is more sustainable, economical and flexible. In addition to a significant reduction in CO2, it saves around 50% of the energy costs for the application example, which amounts to around 285,000 euros per year. In spite of the higher costs for the special powder paint, the investment amortizes in only 1-2 years, or even faster if the company uses a photovoltaic system to generate its own electricity.
Additional advantage: The process is faster and more flexible. Instead of spending around 20 minutes in the convector oven, the heating, gelling and burn-in process only takes about 90 seconds, which is more than 90% quicker.
Furthermore, set-up times no longer result in a loss of energy, which makes it easier to process smaller batch sizes and increase shift flexibility. The electric infrared drying of components with different sizes and masses is also more flexible because the emitter output can be adapted to each specific product using smart control technology.
Holistic optimization of the powder coating process
The IRT system has a modular structure, can be adapted to specific customer requirements, and can also be easily retrofitted to existing facilities. Teknos and Hedson Technologies provide joint support for process analysis and planning.
The optimization of coating processes is being driven to an increasing extent by the drastic increase in energy costs and the uncertainty of energy supplies. Only considering individual factors such as the cost of the paint is simply inadequate. Instead, a holistic approach is required that also puts the drying technology in use to the test. IRT boosters combined with our special INFRALIT powder coatings are a real game-changer here.
If you are interested in our special powder paint and IRT booster drying technology, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Over the last few years, we have developed a number of other energy-efficient, rapid-hardening products that have already proven successful in the long term. If you would like to optimize your individual coating processes, please feel free to contact us.