In typical industrial coating and coil coating process, drums – partial or full – are brought to the line at the beginning of a job. This is where it all begins. As the coating is consumed, empty drums are taken from the line. Empty drums are the goal. They are easy and relatively inexpensive to dispose of. In fact, many coating suppliers have recycling programs set up to make the process even easier.
Partial Drums are Inevitable…
In a perfect world, the drum(s) are brought to the line full, the order is painted, and there is no paint left at the end.
Of course, that never happens.
Only the first drum(s) in the run can be emptied. There is always some paint left over in the last drum. This is a partial drum – and partial drums must be resealed and placed back into inventory. Therefore, the more partial drums you have, the more handling you will incur.
So is Dead Paint…
So what’s the difference between partial drums and dead paint?
The reality is, there isn’t much…
Both are partial drums of paint left over after an order has been processed. But, by industry definition, a partial drum is a recurring color that will be painted again, so this leftover paint, if carefully handled to avoid contamination and properly stored, will get used on the next order.
Dead paint, on the other hand, is leftover paint that cannot be used again. Maybe it is too old. Maybe it is contaminated. Maybe it was improperly stored. But usually, this is paint left over from a custom color order that will not be repeated, and therefore, whether the paint is good or bad, there will not be another order to use it on. It is simply waste.
The Problem with Dead Paint
Obviously, a partial drum takes up just as much space as a full one, so having a bunch of partial drums of dead paint around just takes up valuable real estate. Therefore, dead paint must be consolidated, and consolidating dead paint means more handling.
And handling = time.
And time = money.
But on top of all the handling and logistics costs, drums of waste paint are expensive to dispose of. And all of these costs run counter to the low margins that are the norm in the coil coating industry.
Where Do Partial Drums and Dead Paint Come From?
We can all agree that fewer waste paint drums means less handling and lower disposal costs, and that’s a good thing. But in order to reduce our waste drums, we need to understand where they come from in the first place.
As we mentioned above, dead paint may be too old to use, or it may be contaminated. But the primary source of partial drums and dead paint is excessive system fill volume – the number of gallons of paint required to be in the pump, the hoses, and the pan in order to keep the system coating. And of these, the greatest volume is in the pan. It is the volume of paint required to get enough depth to keep the pickup roller from starving out.
When the job is finished, this is the volume of paint left over – either as a partial drum, or as dead paint.
So How Can the PCM Help?
The PCM takes the pan out of the equation. In fact, the pan becomes nothing more than a catch basin whose sole function is to return the paint to the drum. This reduces pan volume from “a fill” to “a film” – and that represents a significant reduction in total system volume. As a result, much less paint is left over at the end of the job – which reduces waste paint.
And less waste paint means fewer waste paint drums.
And fewer waste paint drums means less handling, and lower disposal costs.
And lower costs mean higher margins and a more healthy business.
Addressing the Problem at the Point of Application
The problem with drum handling, storage, and disposal costs originates at the point of pickup – the point of application for the coil coater – and it is there that we have to address the problem. While incremental gains can be made by reshaping the pan, eliminating the problem requires bold new thinking in the way we supply paint to the pickup roll.
And that bold new thought is the PCM.
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