Every operator of a paint shop is probably familiar with the problem that errors or irregularities repeatedly creep into the process and can only be eliminated again with a great deal of reworking and coordination with suppliers. But is this an irrefutable law of nature? We think not – and describe here how this “operational accident” can be cleverly circumvented and which innovative measurement methods offer optimum support in this respect.
In principle, one should for success:
- consider the entire process chain and not just their own.
- do not aim for retrospective quality control, but for prospective and proactive process control.
- include the customer requirement already in the development phase.
Control of the material
To be on the safe side right from the start, the properties of the material should be examined very early in the process. The task of measuring a color as it is present in the liquid paint due to pigments, binders and additives is performed by the Q-Chain LCM system. The paint is applied to a rotating disk and the spectrum is then measured without contact from three angles. Various color data can be determined from the spectra. Since the material is examined in its liquid state, a major source of process scattering, the influence of the coating, can be excluded.
The study of the coating
During further processing of the coating material, the process result depends on some measurable parameters. For example, in order to evaluate coating systems, a correlation is established between the appearance and the coating thickness – a job for the Q-Chain® Surface Scanner Automatic. It measures test sheets that have previously been painted with a coating thickness gradient. This provides information about the coating thickness range in which the painting process will produce the desired results. The coating thickness can then be used as a control variable in the subsequent application process.
The advantage of process optimization
In addition to the corresponding measurement technology, production systems support the alignment of processes to a prospective and proactive approach. With Flow2Grow®, an optimization approach related to the paint and coatings industry has now been developed for the first time. The system uses a combination of statistical methods, project management tools and optimized measurement technology.
The combination of these different optimizations makes it possible to almost completely eliminate material-related coating defects – a goal that should definitely be strived for in view of the ever-increasing demands on quality, speed and efficiency of production processes.
If you are interested in what other ideas we can use to optimize processes in the paint and coatings industry, just take a look at our newsletter. Or drop by here again sometime. We will report regularly on this in our blog.