Metal and Coatings Are Important: But the Paintline and the People Who Run It Will Make the Difference

Everyone always talks about the quality of their aluminum and steel in metal construction and the importance of using a high end coating.

But very rarely do you hear anyone talk about a third key element in the manufacture of a quality metal roofing or wall product—the paint line on which it is made. Virtually every aspect of a paint line plays a critical role in the final quality of the product. Following is a quick visit to a modern paint line with a look at why a state of the art manufacturing operation is critical to the production of a superior product and to the economies of cost in producing it.

Paint line systems built within the past few years are environmentally superior. They capture 100 percent of solvent fumes from painting, drying and curing operations and recover virtually all of the heat from the burning solvent for return to the process in an ultra-clean system.Metal coil paintline.

Newer paint lines have systems  that can heat their ovens and metal cleaning and pretreatment operations with no cost, saving  a substantial amount of energy which otherwise would have to be built into the cost of the product. Their environmental systems burners destroy volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and solvents in their incinerator. The heat from there is passed through for heating ovens and the boiler which creates steam heat for the cleaner and rinse tanks. Then fresh air from the coater rooms is passed through the heat exchanger and into the incinerator to be burned to complete the loop. Any excess heat is then pumped out through the stack.

Modern paint lines have an oven and incinerator with one burner along the entire line, producing the highest grade of painted metal possible. Oven heat in these modern systems is better balanced internally to give a better product with color that is uniform across the entire roll. Samples of whites produced in older, multiple-burner manufacturing systems can have a yellow cast across the width of the strip because the heat is stronger on one side of the burner than the other. The new systems set the highest standard in the industry for quality, color and consistency.Load cells on the application rollers in newer systems allow paint to be applied with more consistent measurability, making the process more controllable and providing a smoother application of paint.

Most modern paint lines feature data acquisition archives and laser printers to print the company logo and a tracking code on each roll of coil. This allows the manufacturer and the customer to pinpoint when and how each coil is produced. A laser ink jet on the paint line provides production records on 100% of coated roofing product, providing an archive for warrantee and production records and a recipe builder for the system to record and retrieve requirements that go into future jobs for the same customer. Today’s paint line systems select the best components for the job, eliminating any potential for manual mistakes resulting from unfamiliarity with the specific task.  This results in time efficiency, accuracy and “closer-to-perfection” automation.

Painted Metal CoilsOne final factor, perhaps the most critical of all, defines a good paint line system: a team of coatings specialists that can tap years of experience to get the most from an advanced paint system.  Each coating line has a life of its own and experienced professionals have seen and run every kind of product imaginable. They are experts in orchestrating the speeds and the temperatures necessary to produce a superior product in an integrated process where quality metal must be painted, slit and prepared for the customer’s use.

Author: Brian Patrick is director of operations at Englert.

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