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6 Ways Changing Colors Can Disrupt Coating Technology

Posted by Mike Bonner

Jun 24, 2015 2:00:00 PM

coil coating technologyColor 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…

Cost Mistakes

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:

1. Increased Coating Waste
Often, in an attempt to shorten the color change cycle, we sacrifice paint to waste in exchange for time. The real problem here is that a small amount of waste paint ends up costing significantly more than the time saved.

2. Increased Cleaning Solvent Usage
There seems to be a prevailing opinion that using more solvent allows you to clean faster/better. We demonstrated this is not true in our article, “Minimizing Cleaning Costs in Modern Coil Coating Operations” in the September/October 2012 issue of Coil World magazine.

3. Increased Scrap
In the rush to get color changes done, significantly more scrap is often generated in the form of cleanup waste, trials, etc.

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.
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Topics: coil coating, Coating Technology, PCM

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