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You Don't Have a Paint Problem; You Have a Business Problem

Posted by Rob Gladstone

Feb 20, 2020 12:46:42 PM

If your company sprays paint, you already know that this is likely the most expensive operation in your plant. 

So, when you’re having a problem with the paint system, it’s not just a paint problem. It’s actually a business problem quite capable of affecting your company’s bottom line.

Case in point: 

One global supplier of painted parts to automotive manufacturers was suffering surface appearance issues with their output. Their first pass was yielding less than 40% due to the Orange Peel effect, with rework causing delays to overall performance. 

Because the supplier couldn’t support the requirements of luxury manufacturers, they were ultimately prevented from expanding their business due to this paint application issue. 

In terms of what was wrong and what needed to be fixed, is this just a paint problem? 

Not “just.” 

It is also an efficiency, quality, market share and profit problem, when you look at it holistically!


Where’s your bottleneck?

In a multi-step process, the capacity of your whole system is always limited by the slowest component of the process. 

Your machinery can only produce so much, so you’re smart to manage and plan around your bottleneck, doing everything you can to keep things running through that point as smoothly as possible. 

When there is an issue here, however, the flow of production backs up behind it. You might have to scrap work-in-progress. Deadlines get pushed back or passed, budgets shoot through the roof, and things can get messy and unpredictable.

Bottom line: you never want your bottleneck to run out of parts and you never want it to stop since your maximum process relies on your slowest process. 

Consider this:

How often does your bottleneck disrupt the consistency of your output?

If the answer is more than you’d like, what can you do about it? 

Well... you can build in longer deadlines assuming there will be sporadic production delays, or you can do a simple bottleneck analysis and get some systematic prevention measures in place. 

That’s what we did for the global supplier mentioned above:

The Problem

Thermal analysis of their painting process revealed that the paint being applied could range from 65º to 95ºF. However, wave-scan analysis of finished parts showed that the application temperature required to get the ideal surface finish was in a +/- 3-degree window. 

Obviously, the temperature ranging far beyond that was causing quality problems.

The Solution

Rapid Results Process Front - SCS

We determined a paint application temperature required to achieve the surface finish specified by each automotive customer.

Our patented equipment and process then could control the paint temperature to within +/- 1ºF at the point of use. 

This solution added no additional paint volume to the system and required no additional cleaning time or solvent.

The Results?

Upon implementation, the desired finish was established for each paint color and each part supplied -- and the plant’s first pass yield increased to over 90%.

Guess what else? 

That luxury car manufacturer accepted 100% of the next shipment and agreed to additional business, with the stipulation that Saint Clair Systems Temperature Control was part of the process. The ROI was less than 5 months!

Since 1990, Saint Clair Systems has supplied over 3,600 temperature control systems around the world. Our engineering team provides cost effective solutions to manufacturers who understand that quality and productivity are too important to leave to uncontrolled variables. 

Topics: paint and coating, automotive painting, industrial painting, robotic painting, paint temperature control, paint surface finish

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