PaintExpo: Exhibitors Optimise the Coating Processes of the Future
The industrial coating technology industry is increasingly focussing on sustainable and energy-efficient processes. This is reflected in the numerous technological developments that exhibitors will be showcasing at PaintExpo 2024. These include energy-saving system concepts, applications that use fewer resources and modern software that all help companies consume less energy, thus saving valuable resources in their painting and coating processes.
At the upcoming edition of PaintExpo from 9 to 12 April 2024 in Karlsruhe, for example, application and plant manufacturers will be showcasing innovative solutions and products for greater sustainability and energy efficiency. While exhibitors at the world's leading trade fair for industrial coating technology will be taking a variety of approaches, they will all be pursuing the same goal of optimising coating processes to use as little energy as possible, thereby protecting the environment.
Energy-Efficient, Biological Exhaust Air Treatment System
AFOTEK, a coating systems manufacturer from Bad Hersfeld in Germany, will be presenting its "AFOTEK Clean" biological exhaust air treatment system at PaintExpo 2024. "The systems dominating the market right now are thermal afterburners, which generally need to be heated with gas. Our patented product offers an alternative by taking very little energy to break down pollutants in air contaminated with substances such as solvents. This is possible because the AFOTEK Clean breaks down materials exclusively through biological oxidation," says Kai Sinning, a member of AFOTEK's Executive Board.
The key component of the biological exhaust air treatment system consists of two cylindrical reactor towers filled with a unique substrate. This substrate is then moistened using an agent that has been enriched with nutrients. The mode of action is based on aerobic microorganisms that oxidise carbon dioxide and water via a biochemical process that converts gaseous, organic pollutants to products that are harmless and odourless. Unlike conventional solutions for treating exhaust air, this purely biochemical process needs very little external thermal energy, making it a cost-effective method of treating solvent-charged exhaust air streams without needing to concentrate the pollutants first. In the case of hot exhaust air flows, waste heat recovery systems can be positioned upstream from the air treatment system to make use of the excess heat and channel it into other processes.
Optimising Energy Consumption in Existing Systems
Among its customers in Europe, the company Eisenmann has observed a shift from greenfield to brownfield projects. The latter refers to efforts to save materials and reduce emissions by investing in modernisation and energy optimisation for plants that, in some cases, are 25 to 30 years old. This is an understandable shift, given increasing prices in the energy-intensive paints and coatings industry and the desire for cost-effective value retention. Eisenmann addresses this by developing customised solutions that allow clients to conserve valuable resources through the use of innovative products in a variety of fields. One example here is the company`s ongoing development of conveyor technology in an important step towards painting and coating processes that are skidless and therefore more energy efficient. Building on this success, the company then went on to develop VarioMover, a driverless transport system covering the full automotive paint shop process.
Eisenmann's E-Cube is the ideal technology for efficient, dry paint-separation processes, offering an answer to the growing demand for alternatives to the wet paint-separation processes widely used in the past. The potential energy savings here are huge, in part through the conversion of paint booth ventilation systems from fresh/exhaust to recirculated air modes of operation.
The SmartOven from Eisenmann delivers an outstanding energy balance in the drying process while maintaining excellent paint quality. The oven can be heated with electricity, gas, thermal oil or hydrogen, thus offering a great deal of economic latitude thanks to the wide selection of possible energy sources.
Sustainable Heat Sources and Modern Software
The Swiss coating systems manufacturer e. Luterbach will be at PaintExpo 2024 presenting various ideas for making coating technologies and systems more sustainable. For drying and firing ovens, CEO and co-owner Fabian Luccarini envisions a renaissance of old heating media: "There's a lot of talk about using hydrogen as a heating source but the physical parameters of existing ovens and systems make them impossible to retrofit. Thermal oil, on the other hand, can be transported at a high level from a central district heating source to the places where it is used. Currently, such projects are being driven forward."
Other developments promising greater sustainability and predictive maintenance can be found in the e. Luterbach software and IT portfolio. The company has expanded its IoT portal, for example, providing predefined telephone calls and voice messages to alert responsible parties of any irregularities. The on-site PLC makes real-time networking easier. Data are stored for up to two weeks as an MQTT protocol and remain intact even in the event of internet or electricity outages.
Development work on the PinCH software has also continued. "We can use pinch analyses to find the optimum pinch points between various energy flows with the aim of minimising the overall scope of investment and energy costs. The analysis is then used in strategic planning to develop heat recovery measures aimed at improving the supply of energy. The potential reduction in primary energy use can be as much as 40 per cent with a pinch analysis," says Luccarini, explaining the advantages of this system-oriented method.
Efficient, Environmentally Friendly Painting Processes
SEHON Innovative Paint Systems offers an extensive product and service portfolio for sustainable, environmentally friendly and efficient painting processes. Customers building new systems or modernising existing ones regularly contract SEHON to future-proof overall operations in terms of energy use and sustainability. As a result, paint shops will need only a fraction of the energy consumed in the past and may even achieve energy self-sufficiency. As CEO Tiemo Sehon notes, "Environmental protection, energy savings and sustainability have been part of our product and corporate philosophy for over 40 years. Even before we receive a contract, we give our customers precise written facts, figures and data showing the positive impact of sustainability measures. This goes well beyond just the theoretical targets. It allows our customers to budget precisely for every planned sustainability investment and maximise the amount of state grants they receive. When it comes to paint system technologies, painting processes or entire facilities, it's always worth talking to us when you are building from scratch, retrofitting equipment or modernising."
SEHON will also be at PaintExpo 2024 showcasing its innovative solutions for energy management, quality, efficacy and economic efficiency in paint shops.
Less Material Usage and Process Optimisation
WAGNER will be exhibiting its wide array of wet coating and powder coating solutions at PaintExpo 2024. For wet coating applications, the company's focus is on sustainability as well as reducing the amount of solvents, materials and energy used. Furthermore, the easy operability and optimised process control of their products and systems make the coating process more productive. Exceptionally effective application and conservative use of materials are the hallmarks of the company's many different manual and automatic airless, AirCoat and air spray guns. The new generation of high-speed rotation atomisers for solvent- and water-based coatings plays a major role in making highly automated wet coating systems and robotic solutions a reality while at the same time focusing on using fewer resources. The company supports this development with regular updates to its control technology.
WAGNER has also made its pumps for wet coating significantly easier to flush. The Cobra high-press double diaphragm pump, for instance, has been optimised to dramatically reduce the amount of flushing agent, therefore also significantly cutting the amount of time needed for changing colours. The highly efficient processes employed in WAGNER 2K systems help to reduce the environmental footprint of the coating process.
WAGNER assists its customers in designing systems and planning projects, taking a holistic approach to finding the ideal system for each coating job, thus optimising surface quality on the one hand and resource usage on the other.