Kevin Howe, IntelliFinishing Project Manager
Kevin just finished the setup on IntelliFinishing’s latest project installation. During the construction process he took us on a brief tour. It was an active construction site so the system wasn’t running yet. View the tour video >>
The IntelliFinishing system starts with a lift, which is basically an elevator-style, drop section. The orange pieces of the conveyor will come down to a lower height making it more ergonomic for connecting the parts to the carrier. Then it will rise back up after the part information is loaded and send the carrier into the system.
The control stations will have a touch screen monitor that will display different part information.
The uninstalled load bars are the mechanical pieces that support picture frame style hangers that will in turn support the customer parts. The metal trolleys are the load trolleys that support the weight of the entire piece. The rubber wheels on the top contact our spinning tube and provide the propulsion for the conveyer system. It is a friction setup with a spring tension pressing against the tube. The IntelliFinishing system is unique as it goes forward and reverse directions. This typical configuration is capable of supporting 3,000 pounds, including the weight of the load bar.
From the elevator-style lift section we proceed downstream towards a manual wash booth area. In this instance, we’re interfacing to a customer provided wash booth. We are going to control the doors that will slide open and closed pneumatically. Internally the wash booth will be similar to a manual car wash bay. The operator will select a cleaner rinse, a phosphate rinse and a sealer to keep the parts from flash rusting.
From the wash bay we head to the small drip zone. Currently this is a manual pull through section, which the customer requested for Phase 1. In Phase 2 we will add an automated wash parallel to this section. At that time most of the parts will go through the automated wash so in the future, less volume will run on the pull through section.
Parts will then be pulled to the first motorized section after the wash booth to air blow off. The air blow off is also similar to a car wash system with nozzles and large, electrically powered air blowers. The nozzles will be directed at the parts to dry off any of the residual water.
After the blow off area is a dry off oven. This oven is a little smaller, holding one carrier at a time. The oven is used to help boil off any leftover residual water that was not taken care of in the air blow off stage. It also helps to preheat the part, getting it ready prior to powder coating.
We head out of the dry off oven and around the corner to the powder coat booth. This is a manually applied powder station at this time. They will have several operators, one on each side, applying the powder coat to the parts. Monitors will also let the operators know what color they are supposed to be painting and what is coming up next.
The last station is the cure oven. This is a 450° powder oven. It has 3 motor stations and will be able to hold 3-4 carriers worth of parts at a time. When the units are finished curing, they come out to a several storage areas to give them time to cool.
Since our system is an oval it then brings us back to the beginning. This is the backside of the lift elevator section we saw at the start.