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3 Ways Custom Color Jobs Eat Up Your Coil Coating Run Time

Posted by Mike Bonner

Jun 30, 2015 11:00:00 AM

coil coating

Custom color orders place unique demands on coil coaters – and it seems that virtually all of them consume time. Let’s look at the three ways that custom colors suck up available run time from your operation:

1. Cleaning

Custom colors are usually one-time runs, and often quite different from the other colors that you normally run. And in most cases, because their primary criteria are centered about color, there can be no chance for cross contamination.
As a result, they require a complete cleaning before, and often after, they are run. This can require even more time than usual to do a clean-up for a color change.

In addition, because these are one-time events, the leftover paint is usually waste. This means it must be handled as dead paint and combined with other dead paint to consolidate the waste stream.
And handling = time. Time not spent running salable product.

2. Setup

You know how to setup and run your repetitive colors. You’ve got that down to a science. But with custom colors, everything is new. There are no well-established recipes available to guide your setup.
Yes, you can start with something you know that you (and your paint supplier) think to be close, you still have no guarantees that your roll speeds, nip pressure, kiss pressure, and wet film estimates are going to produce the desired results.

This means that your setup is going to take longer before you can start coating.
And setup = time. Time not spent running salable product.

3. Trials

If you aren’t certain what your setup is going to produce, you are going to have to run a trial to find out. And the chance of getting it right on the first attempt are slim to none. As a result, custom colors often require multiple trials (test shots, test strips – whatever you call them in your operation) to get the settings correct. In fact, it is not uncommon for two to four trials to be required to get everything right.

The problem is that every trial takes 20–40 minutes to process. Furthermore, if your line is not equipped with two top coater heads in quick-change configuration so you can embed the trial in another coating job, it will also require a night strip to pull it through oven and deliver it to QC.

Even if you do have a quick-change configuration, the custom color trials must be carefully scheduled so the same width and gauge coil is run on both heads, otherwise you might end up leaving witness lines on one job or the other – and that’s not a good situation.

So, you might still have to run a night strip – leaving the line sitting dormant.
Either way, trials = time. Time not spent running salable product.

A Disturbing Pattern

Are you seeing a pattern here?

I know – stupid question.

But often we let these things pass through our operation and let the actual costs get washed away in overhead. We tell ourselves that it is the cost of doing business and there is nothing that we can do about it. But they pile up – and they suck away our valuable resources. Our valuable time.

And make no mistake. Time = money.

And I can’t help but wonder, would you feel the same way if you thought about that “wasted” run time, as lost revenue? As lost opportunity to ship billable product?

That puts a whole different spin on things.

What does that mean to your business?


Download the free Cost Reduction Calculator to see where you can cut your overhead without cutting quality.
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Topics: coil coating, paint and coating, Coating Technology

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