With the vast varieties of paint, materials and application processes, the achievement of an efficient, high-quality and consistent automated painting process can often seem elusive. How can the director of the painting operation optimize output and quality while controlling costs? Output is useless without quality. The cost of scrap and rework adds up quickly, and can delay the overall project. For example, if a painted plastic bumper cover has flaws and needs to be reworked or scrapped, then that component will not be available for assembly to the designated automobile, potentially impacting the production line or the customer (and who wants rework stacking up?). This is a disruptive and costly nuisance.
A clean painting environment promoting "high transfer efficiency" is always a good place to start. But that alone does not guarantee a flawless paint finish. A major contributor to poor paint finish quality in plastics is ineffective electrostatic grounding resulting from poorly grounded components. Yes, something a simple as grounding! Paint departments use a variety of grounding methods including conductive tape, foil, clip assemblies, and grounding fixtures (of which some are internally integrated). Each of these grounding methods have varying degrees of effectiveness and cost. Here are some of the cost factors to consider:
- Inventory: What are the associated costs to purchase individual grounding components and to monitor / maintain inventory levels?
- Labor: What are the associated costs to build assemblies in-house, using your own staff, as opposed to buying a complete assembly?
- Set-up/Clean-up: What are the costs of set-up and clean-up?
- Effectiveness & Ease of Use: Is the grounding method reliable, repeatable, reusable & cleanable?
Many paint shop process foreman are inclined to think that a "do-it-yourself" grounding solution is the best, cost-effective option. In reality, a solution engineered to your specific set-up will provide a superior, LOWER-cost result. Don’t do it yourself!
- Customized to the exact requirements of your process. Each is precisely made and consistent.
- Finished assembly cost is less than the cost to purchase individual components and build them yourself with in-house labor.
- No scrap, broken or missing parts. Fully built assemblies arrive ready to use.
- Less administration cost to order, stock, receive and count not to mention – fewer SKUs.
There are many outlets offering standard grounding assemblies and individual components, but it's the application knowledge and expertise that make it work. Mueller Electric Company has that proven electrostatic grounding solution expertise and field experience. Mueller offers applications engineering, a wide range of grounding solutions for any plastics painting production line, and samples for testing. The right solution is a phone call or email away.
For more information on grounding, read our whitepaper Static Electricity and Grounding in Industry.