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Lab Data Quantifies Significant Cost Savings for Automotive Paint Finishers

Posted by Mike Bonner

Jan 28, 2018 1:02:00 PM

Saint Clair Systems rings out 2017 by offering automotive paint finishers detailed, objective data on the impact of paint temperature on their paint finish quality.

Automotive Paint FinishersIn a series of controlled laboratory experiments, Saint Clair Systems teamed with Carlisle Fluid Technologies and BYK-Gardner to test the relationship between paint temperature and finish quality. The resulting data demonstrates that the two are intrinsically linked, quantifying the incredible quality improvements and cost savings that temperature control can provide for automotive paint finishers.

This comprehensive study is a first for the paint finishing industry.

Saint Clair Systems, Carlisle Fluid Technologies and BYK-Gardner: Three global leaders in finishing technologies

To perform the experiments, Saint Clair Systems partnered with Carlisle Fluid Technologies leveraging the expertise in their Toledo, OH laboratory.  Carlisle Fluid Technologies is a global leader in precision finishing equipment, and the parent company of five brands recognized the world over for their pioneering history and finishing expertise: DeVilbiss, Ransburg, MS, BGK, and Binks.  They hold some of the earliest patents in the finishing industry.

To assure reliable, industry standard measurements, BYK-Gardner brought their Wave-Scan laser measurement technology to the team.  The Wave-Scan is the global “gold” standard for objective orange peel and distinctness of image measurements.

The design of experiments: Testing the relationship between the most important finishing variables and their impact upon finish quality

The goal of this study was to document the interactive relationship between temperature, atomization, and film build with respect to finish quality.

Using BYK-Gardner’s state-of-the-art measurement tools, the goal was to:

  • Quantify the direct relationship between temperature and finish quality.
  • Quantify the interaction between temperature and film thickness and their impact on finish quality
  • Quantify the impact of temperature on finish quality at various atomization rates.

To accomplish this, Saint Clair Systems, Carlisle Fluid Technologies, and BYK-Gardner executed a series of carefully controlled experiments specifically designed to test the relationships between all three of these variables and their impact upon finish quality.

Measuring the impact of varying application parameters on surface imperfections

Taking advantage of the carefully controlled conditions in Carlisle’s Toledo, Ohio laboratory, over 100 panels were robotically sprayed using a Ransburg 560 bell atomizer and RCS Ratio Control System coupled with Saint Clair Systems’ point-of-application temperature control.  This state-of-the-art system allowed clearcoat temperature, film build, and atomization to be varied independently to determine their impact on finish quality.

The BYK-Gardner Wave-Scan II was then used to measure the finish quality.  The Wave-Scan was the perfect choice for this study because of its ability to break each finish measurement down into shortwave, longwave, and DOI (Distinctness of Image) components.  Its on-board calculation capability allowed the measurements to also be supplied in several industry specific formats (R, N1 & N3, CF, etc.).  This provided objective, comparable numbers by which to judge the surface imperfections on each panel.  The automated logging capability of the device meant that each panel was measured in the same way – assuring correlation between panel measurements – and the hands-free uploading assured that no transcription errors were incurred in the data transfer process.

Finally - the ability to control finish quality!

100 panels yields an incredible amount of data.  The analysis of this data shows:

  • There is a direct, predictable relationship between temperature and finish quality.
  • The optimal temperature to get the best results varies depending upon atomization and film build.
  • Controlling temperature allows better finish quality at lower film builds.

A good demonstration of these results is contained in the graphs below, which show N1 and N3 as a function of temperature and film thickness, at a cup speed of 25,000RPM.  (N1 & N3 are mathematical values, calculated from the raw Wave-Scan data, developed and used by BMW to evaluate finish quality.)  These graphs show that, for a film build of 1.8 mils, the best finish quality (as determined by N1 and N3) is obtained at 80°F.  When the film build is reduced to 1.6 mils, however, the optimal finish quality (again determined by N1 and N3) is obtained at 90°F.  Finish quality is also better (based on the lower N1) at the lower film build.

This example shows that finish quality can be significantly improved while simultaneously reducing clearcoat usage — by 11% in this case — through the utilization of point-of-application temperature control.

Improving the bottom line

The impact is obvious. Controlling temperature at the point-of-application in finishing operations means reducing cost while improving quality.   This will:

  • Reduce paint consumption
  • Improve overall appearance
  • Reduce rejects and rework
  • Increase throughput
  • Reduce waste

Interested in creating a controlled lab experiment for your finishing application? Saint Clair Systems is looking for partners who would like to quantify their application performance. Contact us for more information.



Topics: Temperature control, Industrial finishing, paint temperature control, automotive finishing

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