Every year just before the summer, fitness studios experience a boom because everyone wants to look their best at the swimming pool or lake.
To ensure that the exercise equipment with its smooth and glossy surface can look its best as well, gas catalytic ovens from Heraeus Noblelight are used to dry and cure the powder coated parts.
Fitness equipment by Life Fitness of Chicago, Illinois, is coated with powder lacquer, which is cured by heating. The predicted growth in the product line and coating schemes required a significant expansion of Life Fitness’ powder coating operation with only a limited increase in plant size.
Until now the curing process was achieved exclusively with a convection oven. Some parts require two top coats and these are rehung after the first coat to facilitate the second coat and cure. In order to integrate single and double coated parts into the continuous flow line, whilst preventing powder contamination, pre-planned gaps are required to re-hang parts requiring a second coat.
This process had always been an ergonomic issue as no mechanical lifts are available due to lack of space. The line was operating at 2.4 m/min, but effectively with the double application, the part yield for two coat parts was only 50%.
One option was to add another convection oven to cure the first coat before applying the second coat. Since floor space was at a premium this was not going to be a feasible or a cost-effective alternative.
The smartest solution was to add two Gas Catalytic IR Pre Gel Ovens from Heraeus Noblelight. After successful tests were carried out at the test center in Buford, USA, a two-line system was launched. Today, two lines run parallel, one for parts with one coating and one for parts with two coatings.
Each line has a gas catalytic infrared oven and a corresponding paint booth. For the final curing, the lines run through the existing convection oven. This system achieved the desired 2.4m/min. line speed along with the option of going to 3m/min.
More importantly, even though the line speed has not changed, the output of the powder coating plant has doubled. The introduction of Gas Catalytic IR technology from Heraeus has ensured additional savings on natural gas and electrical costs. The adoption of the latest technology has also attracted local utility grants which has helped to reduce the overall capital spend.
Please refer to our special pages for further information on gas catalytic infrared systems.
Heraeus Noblelight GmbH
Phone +49 6181 35 8539
Fax +49 6181 35 16 8539
Dr. Marie-Luise Bopp | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH
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