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How Saint Clair Systems Made Sealer Behave

Posted by Mike Bonner

Jul 13, 2017 8:00:00 AM


Saint Clair Systems has been a leader in fluid process control systems and viscosity control for nearly three decades, and in that time they’ve managed to revolutionized the industry and change the future of manufacturing operations. Most recently, Saint Clair tackled a sealer dispensing issue at Tata Motors in India, and today we’re going to tell you a little bit about our most recent feat and how we got to where we are today.

The Rusty Fate of Cars Before Sealant

Back in the good old days of automobile ownership, people use to joke that their cars started rusting before they drove them off the lot. And in reality, the truth wasn’t that far off, because this was in the days before car manufacturers used any sort of sealant or rust protection on their vehicles. As such, many vehicles suffered the same rusty fate, with certain parts, such as lower doors, rocker panels, floor pans, and wheel wells being the most susceptible.

The Rise of Automotive Sealant

As a solution, aftermarket auto body shops began providing undercoating services, and eventually, the automakers caught on. In the 1980s, most manufacturers started working sealer into the design and manufacturing processes for their vehicles, but the manual application process was tedious and time-consuming. When the first robots were introduced, automakers jumped at the chance to automate their sealer system applications. Unfortunately, this created a whole new set of problems.

Original Robots Weren't the Most Capable

Early robots weren't nearly as sophisticated as they are today, and they weren't able to adjust their application speed, angle, or distance when temperature changes affected the sealer viscosity. Enter Saint Clair Systems. In 1990, we devised machines and technology that could control the temperature of the sealant and, therefore, the viscosity and flow rate. Thanks to these innovations, robot-applied sealer is now the norm in the automotive industry.

Still Providing Sealer Solutions for the Automotive Industry

Fast forward to 2012, and Saint Clair Systems was at it again. We were approached by Tata Motors, which was having an issue with their robotic sealer applications, including bead quality and pressure faults. So Saint Clair went to work to diagnose the issue and find a solution, and here's a rundown of what happened:

  • The uninsulated headers were acting as heat exchangers and changing the temperature of the sealer
  • The drastic season-to-season and day-to-night temperature changes in the plant were affecting the temperature of the sealer
  • Unpredictable shutdowns caused by the sealer application problems were extending the time in the headers, further exacerbating the problem
  • Because the viscosity of every liquid changes with temperature, the sealer was undergoing drastic and frequent viscosity changes in the headers, thus changing the pressure drop

The solution that Saint Clair finally settled upon was a combination of approaches that involved installing traced-cover and coaxial-hose technologies all along the delivery path, installing a point-of-application temperature control at the nozzle, all managed by a temperature control unit.

Together, these solutions were successful in controlling the temperature and viscosity of the sealer all the way along the delivery path right up to where it was dispensed from the nozzle, which ensured the sealer was dispensed at exactly the right viscosity, thereby allowing Tata to produce perfect beads with their robotic system.

Since 1990, Saint Clair Systems has been successful in using innovative temperature control methods to maintain the right viscosity for sealer and adhesives, and this has helped countless automotive manufacturers to perfect their automation processes, and in turn increase productivity, yields, throughput, and profits.

Controlling viscosity is the key to achieving high-quality and consistent dispenses. Learn more about how it works by downloading your free copy of our Process Temperature Control Case Study.

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Topics: Temperature control, Saint Clair Systems, Point of Application, painting

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