Paint Processes Perfected
Ever since Henry Ford in 1909 offered the Model T in “any color you want – as long as it’s black,” paint has been an important consideration for manufacturers. Ford opted to limit consumer choices in order to support the efficient production of as many vehicles as possible. Cost and production efficiency were paramount as Ford tried to get the newly invented automobile to as many consumers as possible.
Painting has come a long ways since the first cars rolled off of the assembly line. In this century, it’s not only necessary to respond to the customers’ desire for a rainbow of color options but also keep costs low for manufacturers and reduce the environmental impact as much as possible. Fortunately for everyone, the technology has evolved to make all of these requirements achievable.
Just to name one example: the benefits of technical developments can be seen in the paint booth, certainly the heart of all paint shops. This is where the magic happens, and high-quality car surfaces are created with highly efficient paint-spray atomizers. The downside, however, is that paint overspray always occurs during the spray application of wet paint. Even in optimized highly automated plants, 35% of the paint does not reach the surface of the car body. In order to “catch” this so-called overspray, there are various overspray separation systems, which significantly vary in price and energy-efficiency. Alongside the classical wet scrubber, new plants are equipped with dry overspray separation systems, which bind overspray with pulverized limestone.
A dry scrubber solution actually requires 60% less energy than a similar wet scrubbing process. It also provides a reduction of around 80% less water consumption for the supply air conditioning and entirely eliminates the need for chemicals. It’s important to recognize here that no paint process can be a “one size fits all” solution for every manufacturer.
This is where Durr comes in and the reason why the company, a pioneer in dry separation, has complemented its well-established, fully-automated system, EcoDry Scrubber, with a cost-effective, semi-automatic solution. EcoDry X is a multi-stage, easy-to-handle filter system consisting of a filter trolley with six disposable filter boxes that can be changed quickly and simply.
These disposable cardboard filter boxes can be swiftly replaced with minimum effort using the filter trolleys, even during production, if necessary. Once the cardboard filters are saturated, the interchangeable trolley is manually undocked and replaced by a filter trolley prepared with new filters. At a ventilated preparation workplace, the saturated cardboard filters can then conveniently be disposed of in containers. The exchange can take place within a few minutes, an important consideration during the production process.
As the trolleys are standardized, they can be filled with cardboard filters manufactured by third parties – this means that the users aren’t tied to the suppliers. It also means that they can buy the item wherever they find it is cheapest. Dürr has developed a dry separation family from semi- to full-automatic. The customer therefore has a choice and can use the system best suited to his or her requirements. Enabling this is a great asset and allows all the colors of the rainbow to be offered.