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3 Ways PCM Reduces Cleaning Costs in Metal Coating Operations

Posted by Mark Portelli

Jul 15, 2015 11:00:00 AM

metal coating coil coating system
The demand for coil coating has increased significantly, yet there remains excess capacity in the marketplace, so being a strong global competitor is a challenge. These truths have changed the metal coating industry, with downward price pressure making it more difficult than ever to stay profitable and successful.

While Coil Coaters are focusing on leaner operations to achieve real cost reductions, trying to maintain profitable margins, their customers are demanding higher quality, smaller lot sizes, and more frequent shipments – which would tend to reduce efficiency and drive an increase in cleaning costs. Many coaters adding Saint Clair Systems’ Profile Correction Module (PCM), have found it helping to reduce the cleaning costs in their metal coating operations.

There are many ways that coaters can improve their coating system's efficiency. However, identifying the most time and cost effective option available to them is key. Cleaning costs in the coil coating world consists of four major expenditures:

  • Solvent cost
  • Labor cost
  • Waste paint and disposal cost
  • Downtime cost (which, in turn, creates a lost opportunity to produce a saleable product)

The PCM can help combat all of these costs by reducing the system fill volume, enabling improved cleaning while using less solvent, and shortening color change time. By combining the best of two-roll and three-roll coating systems, the PCM system helps to reduce these costs.

1. Reducing Fill Volume

Although decreasing the system fill volume directly relates to other cleaning cost reductions, the advantage of having less paint in the system primarily impacts the amount of wasted paint that a coater must deal with. This, in turn, decreases the number of partial drums that coaters need to handle and store.

As with other major industries, the cost of raw material is on the rise and manufacturers are constantly trying to find ways to offset these costs. At $30-$300 per gallon, or even more, these “partial drums” often go onto overhead – not job cost. When you add in the leftover paint cost to the cost of setup and cleanup, those small orders can get very expensive to produce. Having less paint in the system means less surfaces that need to be cleaned and reduced time to clean those surfaces.

2. Improved Cleaning with Less Solvent

By driving down the volume of paint in the delivery system, there is less paint to clean up at color change time. With the pan reduced to functioning only as a “catch-basin”, it can now be designed with smooth straight surfaces that direct paint quickly to the outlet.

These surfaces can be cleaned with a squeegee followed by a solvent soaked sponge, instead of using gallons of cleaning solvent. Furthermore, because there are fewer “nooks and crannies” to trap paint, it is easier to achieve a more thorough cleaning, even with this reduced solvent level.

3. Shorter Cleaning Cycles

Coil coating systems require multiple color and formulation changes daily. Short-run requirements, often just portions of a coil, increase the amount of downtime spent changing colors. With the PCM’s positive stops and quick release mechanisms, it provides fast and easy cleaning.

When balancing the increased downtime associated with short-runs, and the shorter cleaning times that the PCM provides, coaters often see a net increase in the amount of available production time. Although often not recognized as a benefit, this can be worth much more than all of the above combined. More saleable production time means greater revenue potential with no change in overhead.

Reverse the Slide

Coil coaters are operating under greater pressure than ever before, and many of these pressures manifest as cleaning costs. By implementing the PCM into their coil coating process to reduce system fill volumes and minimize cleaning cycle times, many coaters have been able to convert some of their cleaning downtime back into valuable production time.

Download the free Dimension Request Memo to learn how we can customize solutions for your line.

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Topics: coil coating, Coating Technology, PCM

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