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Paint on Plastic Dries More Quickly with Infrared Emitters

Published on 2008-01-15. Author : SpecialChem

Modern cars, computers and electronic equipment contain components, which are printed and then coated with a protective or a metallised lacquer. Conventionally, these lacquers and coatings are dried or cured by means of hot air. Increasingly, the market requires faster production speeds, which, in many cases, can be achieved by means of infrared drying. A British manufacturer of key boards and keypads is drying its protective lacquer coatings in less than four minutes using infrared, compared with the previous 20minutes required by a hot air oven.

Kestrel Injection Moulders in Great Britain produces keyboards and keypads for cars or for use in electronic equipment, computers or white goods. These pads are injection moulded plastic products and need to be printed and coated with a protective clear lacquer. Previously, the components had to be dried for around 20 minutes in a hot air oven. During this extended period, dust could settle on the product to adversely affect the quality.

An infrared oven from Heraeus Noblelight is now drying and curing the coatings on the keypads in less than 20% of the time required by the convection ovens. With its 1.5m length and 1m height, the infrared oven fitted easily into the available space. It consists of two modules, each of 3 kW output and is fitted with medium wave infrared emitters, which in pre-installation trials had proved themselves as a successful and faster alternative to hot air.

Currently, the new ovens handle two different types of keypads. One type is coated with a water-based lacquer after manufacture, is pre-dried, printed and then finished with a clear protective lacquer. Other keypads do not require a pre-coating and can be immediately printed and coated with the protective lacquer.

Since the installation of the infrared ovens, the rejection rates have been significantly reduced. Naturally, this enormously reduces the time in which dust can fall on the keypad surfaces. In addition, the infrared system has also proved itself to be extremely energy-saving, as, in contrast to the convection ovens, it needs to be switched on only when heating is required.

Heraeus Noblelight offers a comprehensive range of infrared emitters to heat plastics, lacquers or coatings rapidly and efficiently. Infrared ovens are so compact that they can be easily retrofitted into existing production systems and layouts. This saves space, time and cost.

Source: Heraeus Noblelight


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