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3 Ways PCM Reduces Costs in Aluminum and Steel Coil Coating

Posted by Mike Bonner

Aug 10, 2015 11:00:00 AM

aluminum steel coil coating system industrial paint
One of our coil coating customers in the Southeastern United States specializing in high quality aluminum coating and steel coil coating, found himself at a competitive disadvantage because his line is not equipped with a second top-finish head to provide “quick-change” capability.

Though not alone, this left him with no way to embed cleaning time into his coating system run time, which meant that every minute spent cleaning represented time that the line was down. This was limiting the capacity.

The Profile Correction Module (PCM) provided a low-cost solution to their problem.

It’s All About Fill Volume

In his recent blog, “3 Ways PCM Reduces Cleaning Costs in Metal Coating Operations," Mark Portelli stated:

“The PCM can help combat [cleaning] costs by reducing the system fill volume, enabling improved cleaning while using less solvent, and shortening color change time.”

The key to implementing the PCM to achieve these effects is to “drop the pan," converting it from a paint delivery system into a catch basin and paint return system. In taking this approach, our customer was able to:

  • Reduce paint delivery system volume by more than 70%
  • Reduce the length, volume and complexity of the paint return path
  • Reduce surface area in contact with paint during the coating operation

1. Reducing Drain Time

For these guys, it is clear that virtually everything that is important about cleaning is related to time. Reducing fill volume has some real advantages. To begin with, less paint in the system means less time to drain the paint at color change. This means getting to the process of cleaning sooner.


2. Reducing Surface Cleaning Time

It seems counterintuitive that you could add a device nearly the size of a roll and still reduce the surface cleaning time. But by converting the pan to a catch basin, the pan is angled toward the outlet to speed the paint back to the drum.
As a result, the only paint in the system is comprised of the paint in the pump and lines (no different than without the PCM), the paint in the metering gap formed by the PCM, the film of paint on the pickup and metering rolls, and the film of paint in the “pan” moving to the outlet.

In their case, the paint returned to the drum via a complex system involving pumping, piping, and other parts that were no longer necessary at this lower fill volume. These were hard-to-clean parts, too. And hard-to-clean = time-to-clean.

After the system was drained with these changes in place, the pan could be dropped down and squeegeed out to reclaim as much usable paint as possible. A premier feature of the PCM is its ability to drop away from the rolls for cleaning purposes. Once the rolls were cleaned, the PCM was cleaned with a solvent soaked sponge, then, the pan, pre-washed by the solvent from the rollers, was also cleaned with a sponge.

3. Reducing System Fill Time

And now we’re back to the beginning. Just as less paint in the system meant less time to drain the system, it also meant less time to fill the system with the new color. This means getting to the process of painting sooner.

Objective Realized

This concept is not new. Folks have been trying to improve their pan designs to achieve minimum volume, optimal coating application quality, and easier cleaning for years. But by leveraging the unique configuration of the PCM, our customer was able to develop an innovative cleaning procedure that reduced their color change time by more than 30%.

Download our free Coil World Article to learn more about the module and how it can help your business.

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Topics: coil coating, coating aluminum, PCM

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