Catalytic infrared heaters were key to improvements in painting process efficiency, reducing drying time from 6-8 hours to about 15 minutes for the plant's 20-ton and 23-ton hydraulic excavators, according to Pete Zimmerman, Senior Manufacturing Engineer.
The Catalytic infrared heaters not only accelerated paint drying, but reduced oven size by half. This significantly lowered building addition and conveyor system costs for Deere/Hitachi.
The length of the Catalytic oven is 100' compared to the more than 200' that would have been needed for a conventional convection forced air oven. A conventional oven that size would also have been cost-prohibitive,
according to a plant study.
The Catalytic infrared heaters eliminated the need for "parking space" for air drying assembled units, and shortened required conveyor length. The cost of the conveyor, which transports parts weighing up to 12,000 pounds, is $800 per linear foot.
Four basic weldments make up the excavators that the plant produces – undercarriages, frames, booms and arms. The booms and arms are the digging components of the machines.
Primer, black, yellow and orange paints are applied as two-component urethanes. The excavating machine weldments, which weigh 10,000 to 12,000 lbs, are painted using an electrostatic air spray system.
The Catalytic infrared heaters dry the paint sufficiently in 15 minutes, allowing workers to walk on the weldments,demask them and apply decals.
In addition to the 20-ton and 23-ton excavators, the Kernersville plant paints booms and arm weldments for Deere/Hitachi 27, 33, and 45-ton excavators.
Catalytic Industrial Systems has designed, manufactured, tested and installed gas-fired catalytic infrared heaters for industrial processes since 1963.
The long-wave infrared radiation produced by Catalytic infrared heaters is more readily absorbed by most materials than the shorter wave energy of conventional IR systems. As a result, Catalytic infrared heaters often produce major savings in total energy use.
In Catalytic Industrial installations, the catalyst and electric preheating elements are housed in modular emitter panels, which interlock in a range of sizes and configurations to direct the heat in a way that is most beneficial. System maintenance is minimal, because there are no moving parts to wear and no bulbs or tubes to replace.