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Appearance Issues: What Happens When a Powder Coating Equipment is Already Failing?

December 12, 2018

Quality control issues on powder coating production lines have been known to cause long periods of equipment downtime. An appearance issue, according to the quality control report, has spread through a new batch of workpieces, and the management guys are worried the blemishes indicate a deeper problem. What's their next move? Assuming the workpiece is untainted, the cause of the appearance issue seems equipment related.

Inspect Product Rejects

Gathering the snubbed parts, the powder coated components that the quality assurance department marked unacceptable, the detective work starts. Frustratingly, the process has passed all the way to the curing oven, so time is a-wasting, and the clock is ticking. Checking the defect box on the paperwork, the problem is outlined in black and white. The finish isn't uniform, nor is it evenly coloured. It's hazy, with a smoky pattern threading its way through what should be a perfectly distributed surface finish.

Powder Coating Equipment Glitches

Skipping back to the cleaning room and phosphating station, everything checks out perfectly. It's a head scratcher alright. The powder coating equipment is failing, and the cause is hidden somewhere between the coating booth and the curing oven. Incidentally, the medium could also be responsible for the quality control breach. For example, substandard coating resins can cause the patterns and "blooming" effect spotted in the above paragraph. Action should be taken, but it should be effected wisely. Before contacting the powder supplier and chewing them out, check the oven to see if a low-temperature setting has introduced the blooming effect. Damaged elements can also cause this ugly pattern.

Subpar Grounding Continuity

This practice mirrors the circuit integrity that takes place back at the electrostatic equipment. The circuit is correctly linked, so the electrostatic guns spray charged powder, and the charged material forms an even film on a part's surface. Completing the circuit, grounding linkages are located on the conveyor hooks and line assemblies. If these grounding links fail, process transfer efficiency is hampered. Dirt and oily build-ups can create insulating films, which impede grounding connections.

And the powder coating equipment failures don't stop there, not with so many other system parts waiting to introduce a coating discontinuity. Air pressure faults, located back at the air compressor, prevent even clouds of powder from discharging. The electrodes on the powder coating guns develop flaws. Furnace elements, failing infrared lamps, clogged air compressor filters and ailing aftercoolers, the potential culprits in a powder coating system are limited, but there are certainly enough of them to cause big headaches at the quality assurance station.

GP Industries Pty Ltd

Head Office

1 Regal Court,
Vermont South VIC 3133

Phone: (03) 9802 1355

Fax: (03) 9802 6027

Email: gp_ind@bigpond.com

Factory

Factory G,
20 Burgess Road,
Bayswater North VIC 3153

Phone: (03) 9761 7676

Fax: (03) 9761 7671

Email: gpfactory@bigpond.com

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