Infrared provides the heat, cure, bond and catalyst for a range of industrial processes. Its most important role, however, is the one in which it first found widespreadFostoria use: the curing of liquid coatings. Whether processing solvent-based, waterborne or non-reduced coatings, infrared is the curing technology of choice among manufacturers of metal, plastic, wood and composite parts. Most ferrous and virtually all non-ferrous metal surfaces and composites that are coated with paint can be cured using electric infrared systems. The ability to precisely control and zone infrared heat provides advantages over other curing methods. Additionally, infrared penetrates the coating and heats from the substrate out, preventing blisters that can result from trapped solvents.

The coatings industry has found that by implementing an electric infrared booster oven prior to final curing, the surface can be flashed off quickly, initiating the gel (polymerization) of the powder. This will reduce contamination, color inconsistencies and keep powder from being blown off the part.

Hundreds of powder formulations are used today. Film thicknesses ranging from below 0.001" to more than 0.015", and the variety of colors, gloss and applications is equally vast. What these diverse powder formulations have in common is compatibility with infrared radiation as a method of curing.

Infrared modular sections that incorporate custom high-density refractory board, composed of aluminum silicate and other non-organic binders, have been designed for higher watt density applications, including those for curing powder coatings. In many operations, these refractory boards are self-cleaning. High-density boards are capable of withstanding up to 100 W/in² and act as a generator (re-radiator) of medium-wavelength infrared. This benefits the powder finishing and curing process: As the coating cures, it heats the product being coated, accelerating the curing process.

There are multiple applications in which infrared heating is appropriate and will save time, money and energy while producing a uniform quality product.