Case Studies

Too thick...too thin?

The mutual benefits of a close working relationship with our customers was recently demonstrated, when we were involved in the application of a single layer coating system to batches of cutting dies, used in a pharmaceutical manufacturing process.

Only the coating type was outlined within the OEM specification, without any reference to thickness requirements of the cured film. There will always be small variations in the finished film thickness, due to the fact that it is a manual process and there are always manufacturing tolerances to consider with the coating material.

After the initial batches were coated, we received a call from our customer to say that the dies were failing to cut correctly. Nothing had changed in the process, hence we were confused as to why this was happening.

Working closely with our customer, and through the process of elimination, it became evident that the smallest variation in coating thickness was affecting the cutting performance of the blade.

To achieve the required performance from the cutting die, we had to reduce the coating thickness well outside of the manufacturer’s specification to a film thickness that would compromise the integrity of many coatings. It was written into our process documentation that the cured film thickness must be between 8 – 12 microns. This can be very difficult to achieve consistently but using proven application techniques together with leading edge measuring equipment, we have developed the ability to repeat the application and ensure that our customer receives maximum yield from their process.

A clear indication that keeping a close working relationship with customers and working together to resolve problems is key to maintaining a mutually beneficial, long term business partnership.

Challenging seawater

We were asked to provide a coating solution for a heat sink for an LED lighting system that would be used to give underwater illumination in a marina in Dubai. The choices facing our customer were either to manufacture the part from a very high grade stainless steel or other expensive alloy or to manufacture the parts from a lower cost material, such as aluminium and apply a corrosion resistant coating.

After hard anodising, layers of a highly corrosion resistant Xylan coating were applied to the parts to give an extremely durable and effective barrier against a very challenging environment.

The range of Xylan coatings are widely used in sub-sea applications, particularly in the oil & gas industry where expectations upon coating performance are very high and need to endure incredibly harsh conditions. Xylan coatings have a first class reputation in this industry sector and are the obvious choice for this type of application.

There are many different formulations of fluoropolymer coating system available and most offer varying degrees of corrosion resistance. It is however, essential to understand the importance of selecting the correct system for each individual application, which is where our technical expertise and product knowledge come into play.

Droopy screens

The revolution in flat screen technology has seen a significant increase in use, largely due to their significant reduction in weight and size. In one of our particular applications, the end user in a very large organisation with multiple terminals was experiencing real problems with a flat screen mounting that incorporated a clamping system around an aluminium sphere, which was used to adjust the viewing angle of the screen.

When the clamping device was adjusted to allow the screen to move, frictional forces between the sphere and the outer clamping surface were relatively high, so it was not possible to tighten the clamp very much. A second issue came into play with variations in room temperature. When the temperature increased, the sphere expanded in size and the screen was difficult to move. Conversely, when the temperature dropped, the sphere contracted in size and the screen would droop down.

To solve the problem, we applied a single layer ptfe coating to the sphere, which significantly reduced the friction values between the two mating surfaces. This allowed the clamping system to be much tighter and still maintain much more consistent levels of friction. This completely eliminated the issues encountered previously and allowed much smoother and consistent movement of the screen by the operator.

Eliminating design problems such as this can be achieved much more quickly when we apply our knowledge and experience, particularly relating to the distinction between static and dynamic friction and the effect of thermal expansion/contraction on close fitting or mating parts.

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