Whether you’re an experienced powder coater or you’ve just started coating, you know that your powder coating oven is an expensive appliance and an important part of the entire coating operation. Keeping your coating oven in good condition is critical to long-term success. A well-maintained powder coating oven can last over a decade, produce thousands of high-quality parts for your customers, and be a considerable source of income for your business – if taken care of properly.
To help you avoid making a costly – and potentially dangerous – mistake, here are five tips of what not to do with your powder coating oven.
1. Don’t run the batch oven above the recommended temperature
While most powder coating ovens are built to sustain operation at temperatures of up to 450º F, there are some models that can withstand up to 500º F or higher. It’s important to determine the type of powder coating oven that you own and the appropriate temperature settings it can handle. Significantly jumping up in temperature in an attempt to save curing time can harm your equipment, possibly trip the safety devices, and ultimately damage the finish on your parts.
Every powder has a specific temperature range. Going above that range will make the finish of your part brittle, less durable, and can cause discoloration issues – especially with glossy white finishes. The extra minutes you might save aren’t worth voiding your batch oven warranty or damaging expensive components.
2. Don’t reduce the exhaust airflow in an attempt to save on heating costs
All professional-grade, gas-fueled ovens are built to exhaust a certain amount of air when the oven is being used. The exhaust causes the air to move in a particular pattern throughout the oven cabin, maintaining a stable temperature. If you reduce or eliminate the exhaust airflow within the oven, you can create hot and cold spots. These temperature changes will cause the powder to either overbake or underbake, which can result in poor part finishes and lots of reworks to be done.
This can also cause problems with safety devices. Disabling the safeties to prevent them from tripping violates important safety codes that can void your warranty.
3. Don’t overload your batch oven trying to increase throughput
If you are putting too many parts and racks into it, there’s a high chance that you will accidentally block the oven exhaust or airflow ducts inside the cabin. If blocked, stress is added to the exhaust fan and can shorten the service life of both the fan and the drive motor. Blocking the exhaust can also promote hot spots inside the oven that can damage the parts, racks, or even the oven itself. If the supply ducts from the heater are obstructed, the coating powder can be blown off of the parts.
It’s an even bigger problem if the airflow through the heat unit gets reduced. Not only will it kill fuel efficiency, but it will also cause the temperature inside the heat unit to increase significantly. This can result in the heat unit’s fan failing, reduced motor service life, erratic operation due to safety circuits being tripped, and even structural damage to the heat unit itself.
4. Don’t skip oven maintenance
No matter how busy your coating line is, skipping scheduled maintenance for your powder coating oven will shorten the service life of crucial oven components and eventually lead to critical failures. Routine maintenance procedures include keeping your oven clean, servicing the burner regularly, lubricating bearings as directed, checking the ductwork for obstructions, and not letting minor issues be put off for too long before fixing them.
5. Don’t install the oven too close to other equipment
Installing your oven too close to other equipment for the sake of “saving shop space” can violate safety regulations and allow debris, fumes, or even powder from other appliances to cause problems with your oven or your finishes.
Routine maintenance and scheduled service can keep you in operations for years to come. At Reliant Finishing Systems, we pride ourselves on providing some of the best and most efficient batch coating equipment on the market. By following these tips, making sure you’re following a set maintenance schedule, and contacting us for service visits when an issue arises, you can help increase the lifespan of your equipment and maximize your ROI.