Mike Stowe, senior energy engineer, will travel to the Alabama Power Technology Application Center in Calera, Alabama, later this month to present at the Powder Coating and Curing Processes Seminar. He will be giving a talk titled “Curing: Infrared Basics.”
Mike’s presentation will cover curing as it relates to powder coating. Powder coating is a type of paint that starts as a powder-like substance sprayed onto an object. Curing uses heat (around 350-450°F) to first liquefy that paint and then solidify it. The result is a solid, smooth coating.
Infrared curing is one particular way to cure paint and uses heat transfer via radiation. For infrared curing to work, the product to be heated must absorb the infrared energy being transmitted from the infrared emitter. However, depending on characteristics of the product and infrared, the energy can also be reflected off or transmitted through the product, failing to heat it.
Infrared curing is beneficial because it has a smaller footprint (both physically and environmentally) and is more efficient than other curing methods. It can also perform curing in just a few minutes, unlike natural gas convection ovens or hybrid systems (which use infrared and a natural gas convection oven), which take longer. Additionally, the variety of infrared emitters makes the technology flexible and usable in many applications. With these advantages, infrared’s popularity is growing; however, certain factors still need to be considered. For example, there must be a direct line of sight between the infrared emitter and the piece being cured, so it tends to be better suited for smaller products.
The 1 1/2-day seminar is hosted by the Chemical Coaters Association International, the Infrared Equipment Division of the Industrial Heating Equipment Association and Products Finishing. It will feature both classroom sessions and hands-on demonstrations about powder coating and curing processes. Therefore, attendees will be able to experience first-hand the information they learn earlier in the event. They will even be able to take home a souvenir that they design. You can hear Mike’s session on Tuesday, Feb. 20, from 2:45-3:45 p.m.