Processing epoxy is tricky. Just like Goldilocks and the three bears' porridge, if it is too thick or too thin, it doesn't satisfy.

Chromalox, a manufacturer of heat and control products in Pittsburgh, was called in to help the maker of skid-mounted epoxy spray systems reduce the footprint and expense of its controls that maintain system temperatures.

Controlling temperature is critical, because providing proper viscosity allows the adhesive to flow at the proper rate. And there's another heat-critical factor: Epoxies have a short "pot life," which means the coating must be applied within a prescribed amount of time or the batch becomes unusable.

The solution was Chromalox's DTS digital heat trace thermostat, which took up just 25 percent of the space that was used by the original control panel, and reduced the customer's production costs by nearly 60 percent. The DTS provided temperature control from the system's compressor to the nozzles, maintained minimum temperatures for proper flow rate and eliminated clogging. It also provided existing process temperature information, plus high and low temperature alarms, and sensor-failure alarms. The solution allowed the manufacturer to add a "soft start" function to the spray systems, reducing the size of the power supplies, which added another cost benefit.

In all, DTS gave the equipment manufacturer a smaller footprint that reduced its shipping expenses and costs, yet added features, with an end result of more reliable operation.