For example, companies fabricating parts in the past have applied so much oil
that it made it impossible for robotic equipment to grip the steel because the
metal surface was too slick to grasp. By switching to a dry film lubricant (DFL), a
material that when in a solid phase is able to reduce the friction between two opposing surfaces, the companies can increase productivity and keep plants clean.
A customer of Chemcoaters Inc., Gary, Ind., discovered unexpected cost savings from using a dry film lubricant, which was applied at the coil stage to pre-treat the metal. When handling the steel that used to be pretreated with oil,
workers’ gloves became saturated, and the company found that the average
worker used 5. 7 pairs of gloves per week. After the manufacturer switched to a
dry film lubricant, glove use decreased to just 2. 4 pairs a week per worker.
“With a team of 1,800 workers, the savings to the company alone from gloves
is enough to justify the costs of using a DFL,” said Chemcoaters’ Vice President
of Sales and Marketing Mike Tieri.
No. 2: Preprimed Metals Make Their Mark
Coil coaters offer a variety of options for manufacturers that postpaint products
too. If a preprimed material that has been cleaned, treated, and primed at a coil
line is purchased, even parts that require postpainting can use the coil coating
process to eliminate the first step of the painting process.
Outsourcing the cleaning, treating, and corresponding waste treatment that
occur with these operations can make for sound financial and environmental
decisions. Using a good primer from a coil line also can provide temporary protection from corrosion and debris when steel products are stored in warehouses
before they are ready for postpainting.
In addition, coil lines can apply primers suitable for welding. These primers
are conductive and can be used with resistance welding. Weldable primers also
protect products from rust.
Trying to weld mill-finished products with their corresponding mill oil can
cause a smoke hazard. Using a coil line to apply a weldable primer, which also
eliminates the oil, not only delivers a better-quality product, but also leads to a
much safer work environment.
No. 3: A More Environmentally Friendly
While using metal pretreated from a coil line helps keep a shop floor clean, coil
lines also help manufacturers keep up with the growing number of environmental regulations. The coil coating process is considered an environmentally responsible way to apply a pretreatment to steel and aluminum substrate.
Coil lines use a closed-loop process, which means the coating line includes
a thermal oxidizer that burns the harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
and returns the heat energy created during the thermal oxidation process back
to the manufacturing facility. This saves energy and eliminates pollutants. Coil
coating achieves at least a 98 percent rate for capturing and destroying those
hazardous compounds, which eliminates toxic air pollutants that would otherwise be released in the air.
Coil lines reduce the amount of VOCs released to the atmosphere through material substitution, using water-base or high-solids coatings. The coil lines also
reduce flue gas emissions by maximizing thermal efficiencies and minimizing
the volume of air sent to the control device. Coil lines reduce energy consumption because they have a workable system that minimizes the quantity of fresh
air being used in the curing ovens and thermal oxidizer.
In addition, outsourcing pretreatment removes the associated risk from the
manufacturer’s facility. Workers aren’t exposed to chemicals or solvents. Any
environmental issues are concentrated and controlled at the coil coating facility, not at the manufacturer’s site. These coil line companies are more than prepared to handle these responsibilities, as they are subject to very tough Environmental Protection Agency standards.
No. 4: A More Productive Coating Process
The best electrostatic paint spraying system fails to deliver a coating as consis-
tent and efficient as a coil line can. Coil lines are designed for speed and ef-
ficiency, with a transfer efficiency of more than 90 percent and no overspray,
waste, or release of chemicals into the atmosphere. Coil lines run full metal coils
in a continuous process, which provides consistency from head to tail and edge
“There’s a lot of waste with powder and spray coatings,” said Kristine Bertucci,
coatings development manager, Precoat Metals, St. Louis. “A lot of paint doesn’t
even make it to the product and is instead released into the air. With coil lines,
there’s very little waste and nothing is released into the atmosphere. A liquid
coating is applied by precision application rolls that pick up the exact amount of
coating necessary for the strip.” Whether a manufacturer is looking for a cleaner
and safer plant floor, a more precise pretreatment, or an easier way to abide
by the latest environmental regulations, using a coil line can greatly improve a
company’s productivity, lower costs in the long run, and reduce the amount of
inventory in warehouses.
Laura Lanza is president, National Coil Coating Association, 216-241-7333,