Color changes are becoming more frequent for all industrial finishers and coating systems, but nowhere is it more apparent than with coil coaters. Saint Clair Systems' Mark Portelli notes:
“While Coil Coaters are focusing on leaner operations to achieve real cost reductions…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.”
Another driving factor is the increasing trend toward custom colors. Here are 6 things that you are probably messing up as you try to meet these demands…
Many of the issues associated with color changes increase operating costs. In a tight margin environment like coil coating, this can be a real problem for your business. The most obvious are:
2. Increased Cleaning Solvent Usage
3. Increased Scrap
4. Increased Labor
With the need for speed in color changes, comes the perceived need for more people to expedite the tasks that need to be done in the shortest amount of time. Often this path is taken to keep the procedures the same when a change in procedure would accomplish the same objective with the same staff.
5. Throughput Mistakes
More time spent changing colors means more downtime, which equates to less time painting, resulting in a reduction in throughput. Less production time means fewer jobs/day, and that limits the upside revenue potential of the business – and that’s not a good situation.
6. Quality Mistakes
Often, the problems above are the result of a failure to execute stable, repeatable setup recipe practices. This extends both color change time and setup time. This leads to issues in quality and even an increase in rework. In addition to the problems cited above, this makes it harder to meet your customer’s expectations with regard to quality and delivery.
All of These Issues are Solvable
From this list, it is pretty apparent that these issues can be readily addressed. In order to solve them, you need to be able to simultaneously:
- Reduce the volume of coating in your system
- Improve repeatability and reliability of setups
- Maintain and even improve finish quality
- Improve edge-to-edge and head-to-tail film consistency
An Ongoing Problem
We have watched the industry struggle with these issues for the past 10 years. We have watched the consolidation in the industry as many coaters struggled to survive in these new constraints. The sad part is that many of the failures in the industry were due less to the economic conditions (which were dire to say the least) and more to a continuation of past practices that were unsupportable. Do you really want to be in that group?
Download the free Cost Reduction Calculator to see where you can trim your budget without cutting quality.