Contract coaters and in-house coating companies are kept busy around the globe as they strive to make coating processes more efficient. At the same time, there is also a demand for systems to be more flexible. With over 250 exhibitors already on the exhibitor list 14 months before the trade fair is due to start, PaintExpo will be presenting solutions to these tasks. The spectrum ranges from pre-treatment through application systems, plants and coatings right up to quality control, labeling and packaging.
A coating process is considered to be efficient when defined surface qualities and high productivity are achieved using minimum quantities of materials and energy, irrespective of the material to be coated and the branch of industry concerned. In order to become more competitive, contract coaters and in-house coating companies alike are focusing on improving both efficiency and quality, as well as on increasing productivity, flexibility and environmental compatibility at the same time. Ways of achieving this can be found along the entire process chain.
More efficient painting and powder coating processes
This already starts in the pre-treatment stage. As a result, because they have lower operating temperatures, energy can already be saved by implementing the increasingly used nano-based pre-treatment systems for metal substrates. The systems also have environmental advantages. To clean and pre-treat plastic components, alternative techniques such as CO2 snow-jet cleaning, plasma and steam-cleaning processes are being used more and more often to replace cost-intensive, space-consuming and energy-intensive power wash systems with downstream residual water dryers.
When it comes to plant engineering, the general motto is often “no more than is necessary.” In consequence, people search for cost-effective solutions which don’t compromise on quality. In contrast: high coating quality is a demand which has top priority among coating companies throughout the world. At the same time, contract coaters especially, as well as companies with a broad spectrum of coating products, expect high levels of flexibility. On the one hand, smaller and smaller lot sizes, shorter product lifecycles and an increasing variety of colors play an important role. On the other hand, demands to be able to expand the facility as required and to depict different processes are core issues. Users are quite prepared to invest in energy-saving equipment, provided added costs are amortized within the space of about two years. New developments in drying technologies and conveying systems also contribute towards improved energy efficiency; the compact construction of the latter enables small openings to be made to the various treatment stations, thus reducing losses due to conditioned air and heat.
In the field of wet-coating, development trends both for metal and plastic substrates are still moving towards coating systems which allow the number of coating steps to be reduced through so-called integrated processes. Originating in the automotive industry, this development replaces the traditional three-layer system of primer, base and varnish with a primer or primerless two-layer coating. Unceasing efforts also continue to be made to replace solvent-based coatings with water-based systems.
With powder coatings, there is a trend towards thinner layers in order to improve material and energy efficiency. Coating systems which crosslink at lower curing temperatures are also still a priority.
It can already be foreseen that in-house coating companies and contract coaters will find the solutions they are looking for at the next PaintExpo, which will be held at the fairground in Karlsruhe from April 8 tol 11, 2014. Already by the middle of February this year, over 250 companies from 16 countries had confirmed their bookings for booths at the leading international trade fair for industrial coating technology – among them almost all of the market and technology leaders. The exhibitors come from the fields of plant engineering and application technology, coatings, drying and crosslinking systems, conveying technology, automated solutions and coating robots, pre-treatment, testing and measuring technologies, quality control, environmental and filtration technologies, accessories, consumables, services, paint stripping, printing and packaging – right the way along the process chains of wet coating, powder coating and coil coating.