The efficiency improving in a powder coating line is very important. Those companies taking the time to investigate and implement automation concepts and new tools will find their products being produced with a superior looking finish while realizing improved performance in finishing line operation costs. Many powder equipment users have taken the time to evaluate new spray gun, recovery booth technology and automation. Those that have invested in these items realize many benefits like reduced material usage, improved film control, lower operating costs and extended equipment life.
Another key to improving system efficiency is to utilize automation. Automation includes the use of a programmable logic controller (or PLC) to operate gun positioning, gun controls, airflow controls, and other system variables. The use of PLC’s is more popular with many users of new powder systems and powder paint. But a large portion of the industry is not using automated controls to improve upon the efficiency of their systems. There is the value of powder guns moving in and out or real value in having powder guns turn on and off. Many users don’t understand these advantages and chose to ignore them.
A simplistic definition is that a PLC is an industrial computer replacing complicated hardwiring with soft wiring. This soft wiring is a program that simulates an electrical circuit. A PLC contains of several components: an I/O (Input/ Output) and CPU (Central Processing Unit) modules. The I/O modules provide sensory input and controls output to the system components. Examples of the types of PLC inputs are push buttons, photo sensors, pressure switches, or relay contacts.
For instance outputs can be indicator lights, motor starters, relay coils while other types of devices that can be monitored and controlled are analog. These analog devices might be pressure sensors, position transducers, temperature sensors, and variable speed motor drives.