Getting the “Dust-off” from your suppliers?
The professionals that design and operate paint processes, especially Class “A” paint process, will go to great lengths to ensure their finished products have the very best paint finishes. Dirt, dust, and contaminates are major targets that paint departments focus on eliminating. In order to maintain quality in class “A” finishing, manufacturers typically maintain a clean room environment and within this clean room, several processes are in place to prepare, paint and inspect the vehicles to achieve the top quality paint finish they require.
Sources of dust and dirt in a paint shop run the gamut from airborne particulate emanating for various sources inside the facility, to dust and dander coming from shop personnel. Conveyors shed particulate as do robots and plant traffic of all sorts. Particulate size can range from obvious to hardly visible. Contaminants can be inert or like the dreaded, and banned silicone based products, reactive with the paint.
For these reasons, substrate prep is of high importance in the modern paint shop. Ever since a class “A” finish has been a measured and targeted thing, a number of ever more modern and technical methods have been employed to prep substrate. Everything from CO2, flame and even plasma pre-treatments, have been tried. But as is true with every other manufacturing process, absolute repeatability, and perhaps more importantly, quantify-ability, is vitally important to creating, and maintaining an optimized process. When this is possible, quality control, and cost control is the result.
Sometimes a simple solution works well. Sometimes that simple solution combined with one or two other solutions, all repeatable, in an integrated process, works best. Such is the case with typical substrate prep for Class ”A” paint finishes.
Troy, MI based AutoTac (www.autotac.net) is the undisputed leader in the “blow-off, tack-off” world, with major OEM automotive customers in their list of satisfied customers. The AutoTac Automatic Tack-off (Feather Duster) with Ionizing Blow-off system, is designed to effectively automate the vital process of removing contaminates from the job surfaces prior to painting. This process has been incorporated with most manufacturers since the mid 1980’s as a replacement for, costly and variable manual process for wiping vehicles. The manual process proved inconsistent, ergonomically challenging and cost prohibitive.
The most common AutoTac Tack-off Blow-off process consists of;
- Articulating High Volume Ionizing Blow-off (HVBO)
- An Automatic Five (5) tack-off (Feather Duster) machine
- Stationary Low Volume Ionizing Blow-off (LVBO)
Articulating High Volume Ionizing Blow-off (HVBO) is used to remove the large contaminates from the job and dislodge contaminates from hard to reach areas such as, ditch rails, fender/hood crevices, etc. Ionization is an important component in this process. Ionization must 1st remove the static charge on and around the job to ensure that the contaminants are removed and not just re-located on the surface. The air supply for the HVBO is derived from a high-pressure blower as opposed to compressed air, which was more common several years ago. The elimination of compressed air usage is a major cost savings to the plant.
The Automatic 5Roll Tack-off (Feather Duster) is considered the finesse cleaning portion of this process. There are three (3) major components in a Feather Duster process, genuine female ostrich feathers, ionization and a high-volume exhaust system. The female ostrich feather has an inherent static charge that is ideal for attracting and removing particulates from surfaces. It is no surprise that these very same feathers are common in most households for everyday dusting. It is the static charge on the feathers that attracts and secures the contaminants to the feathers. As the jobs pass through the PLC controlled feather duster system, the rotating feather rollers gently dust the surfaces. The feathers are arranged as rollers, designed and contoured for the specific jobs that are manufactured at each customer’s paint department.
The duster is typically designed with the horizontal roller cleaning the vehicle hood, roof, and deck lid or tailgate sections. The upper vertical rollers are designed to clean the vertical window sections, and the lower vertical rollers clean the vertical fenders, doors and rear quarter sections of the jobs. The Feather Dusters are all programmed to maintain an optimum feather “crush”, or coverage, on the job.
The feather rollers are enclosed in an exhaust shroud, ducted to a high-volume exhaust system which is engineered to exhaust the particulates from the feathers and from the zone. An Ionization system is incorporated on the trailing edge of each exhaust shroud to reduce the static charge on the job surface and booth atmosphere, after the dusting process is completed.
Low Volume Ionizing Blow-off (LVBO) is the final stage of this process. The LVBO utilizes a lower volume/velocity of ionizing airflow to ensure that the job and the surrounding area is free of static charges, which would attract contaminates back to the surface of the job.
Ionizing Fan Generated Blow-off systems are a preferred cleaning method in small parts industries wherever quality paint finishes are essential.
Automatic Tack-off (Feather Duster) with Ionizing Blow-off is a system that has effectively automated the vital process of removing contaminates from job surfaces prior to painting.
The OEM and Tier automotive industry, power-sports manufacturers as well as manufacturers of, consumer goods, finished wood products, furniture and office divider industry, have all used this system to ensure their products have the very best finishes.
Automatic Tack-off (Feather Duster) machines can be a very effective cleaning process in any industry that seeks to produce “class A” paint finish as well.
Autotac business development manager, Tim Miller commented, “Autotac continues to be the industry leader in automatic tack-off technology and performance, we have successfully adapted to the challenges that our customers are facing today and we’re excited to remain an integral partner and solution provider for many years to come.
Founded 1994, Autotac has installed numerous feather duster systems in major OEM car manufacturing facilities throughout North America, including GM, Toyota and Ford. Contact them at www.autotac.net.
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