A manufacturer curing a rubber coating on steel brake lines ran into problems that affected production and posed environmental concerns.

The plant's existing gas oven limited line speed to 40 ft/min. Floor space was limited and the oven an excessive amount of it: 12'. The plant operators also were concerned about OSHA and environmental issues stemming from the gas oven.

After calling in Research Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn., a maker of industrial infrared heaters, heating systems and controls, the solutions were clear.
  • Two model 4185-38 infrared strip heaters to apply heat to cure the rubber coating.
  • One phase-angle SCR power controller to manage the power going to the heaters.
The benefits were equally clear, according to the case history on www.researchinc.com. The curing operation now had instant heatup and cooldown based on signals from the power controller. Line speed picked up also, increased by 75 percent to 70 ft/min. The plant regained 8' of floor space that can be used for other processes. And the infrared equipment, which replaced the gas oven, eliminated all OSHA and environmental issues, according to Research Inc.

In addition, the heating system became more flexible because power to the infrared strip heaters could be adjusted easily when part size changed. And finally, the instant on/off capability afforded by infrared meant there was no warmup time eating into the production process.