For companies with in-house painting facilities as well as job-shop coaters, increasing material and energy efficiency in coating processes has top priority. Appropriate solutions will be presented at PaintExpo, whose exhibitor list already includes roughly 230 companies nine months before the event opens (status as of 27 June 2011). The exhibition programme at the leading international trade fair for industrial coating technology, which will be held at the Karlsruhe Exhibition Centre from 17 through 20 April 2012, ranges from pre-treatment right on up to quality control.
Regardless of the industry sector for which metals, plastics, glass, wood, wooden materials and other materials need to be coated – strong demand for improved efficiency and, at the same time, enhanced quality and ecology is being felt in all market segments. Increased flexibility is an additional issue which concerns companies with in-house painting operations. On the one hand, this involves smaller and smaller manufacturing lot sizes in many areas. On the other hand, painting systems are in demand which can be flexibly expanded and set up for various processes.
Companies with in-house painting operations and coating job-shops will find solutions to these challenges at PaintExpo from 17 to 20 April 2012 at the Karlsruhe Exhibition Centre (Germany). After all, 230 companies from 17 countries have already decided to participate at the leading international trade fair for coating technology (status as of 27 June 2011). They come from the fields of equipment and application technology, paints, drying and cross-linking systems, conveyor systems, automation solutions and painting robots, pre-treatment, measuring and test equipment, quality control, environmental engineering, filtration technology, accessories, consumable materials, services and paint stripping – and nearly all of the market and technology leaders are included in the exhibitor list. As a result, the upcoming event will not only encompass the world’s most comprehensive offerings for liquid painting, powder coating and coil coating, it will also present innovative developments and new trends in all of the sectors represented at the exhibition.
Optimizing Painting and Coating Processes
In order to reduce energy and material consumption, efforts are being made to decrease the number of painting steps required when coating parts made of metal and plastic in various industry sectors One of the solutions to this problem involves primerless liquid painting systems. These make it possible to replace the conventional three-coat system consisting of primer, base coat and clear coat with a two-coat finish. This results in more demanding requirements for the surface of the substrate, and thus for pre-treatment as well. Apropos pre-treatment, a certain trend towards CO2 snow-jet technology is apparent in this respect, especially for cleaning plastic parts. This is not least due to savings of as much as 50% for investment costs, 20% for operating costs and up to 80% for floor space requirements in comparison with power washing systems. Where metallic substrates are concerned, a trend away from conventional zinc and iron phosphating and towards nano-based pre-treatment systems is taking shape. The reasons for this include, on the one hand, the better environmental compatibility demonstrated by this process. On the other hand, pre-treatment can be carried out lower temperatures, even at room temperature, thus resulting in reduced energy consumption.
Nano-technology is playing an ever greater role in paint production as well, amongst others the nano sol-gel process. Applications for these paint systems include, for example, the application of transparent, highly scratch-resistant protective coatings on high-gloss anodised, decorative aluminium parts. The significance of UV paints continues to grow as well – for plastic as well as metal substrates. In the field of solvent-based paint systems, the trend is moving towards higher and higher solid content levels in order to reduce the solvent percentage.
An optimised application technique which assures greatest possible transfer efficiency is a prerequisite for reduced material consumption. This is made possible by paint guns and high-speed rotary atomizers with a spray jet which is matched to workpiece geometry. Electrostatic application processes are even more efficient, and necessitate electrical isolation when processing hydro paints. New electrical isolation systems which are located directly on the robot arm not only minimise paint loss and rinsing agent consumption, they reduce time required for colour changeovers as well. The use of painting robots, which are available as standard products in the meantime, contributes to reduced paint consumption thanks to targeted application, reduced scrap rates and generally better quality. Another approach to reducing material consumption and increasing flexibility involves intelligent paint logistics with flexible paint feeding systems. For example, pipe-clearing technology makes it possible to recover unused paint from the feed lines and to dose defined quantities of paint to the application equipment.
Integrated Downstream Work Steps
In the case of job-shop coaters, a trend towards identifying painted/coated parts in house is becoming apparent as well. And it’s no wonder since this saves time, money and resources. PaintExpo will present suitable pad printing and screen printing systems to this end, as well as laser marking devices. Packaging materials for reliable, protected transport of coated parts are also included in the trade fair programme.