A hand-tool manufacturer drying solvent-based primer, top coating and varnish on steel strips faced problems needing correction for a better product and more economical production. The situation was complicated by the tool maker’s special requirements, which posed restrictions on how the production challenges could be resolved. They included:
  • A single drying system on the paint line had to accommodate the different drying characteristics of the primer, top coating and varnish.
  • There was little floor space to install an inline drying system.
  • The manufacturer expected to increase the initial line speed setting of 60 ft/min to a higher rate within 12 months. The revamped system had to keep up with the changes.
Infrared heating specialist Research Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn., handled the challenges adroitly. The company installed six of its Model 4185-25 infrared strip heaters to dry the coatings inline. A phase-angle fired SCR power controller was added for the heaters. The key to making everything fit in the tight quarters was vertical installation using vertical burn lamps.

The tool maker now has a single drying system utilizing infrared strip heaters. Vertical installation made good use of the limited floor space, and all three coatings can be dried within eight seconds, achieving the required line speed. In addition, the modular system can handle future line speed increases by adding more infrared strip heaters.