Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

PROTECC — Result In Brief

Project ID: 31253
Funded under: FP6-SME
Country: Germany

Eco-friendly powder spraying for car parts

The automotive industry has been limited to the use of liquid spray coating of metallic parts to add colour. EU-funded researchers have developed a unique conveyor belt system that overcomes technical limitations previously encountered and finally opens the door to eco-friendly powder spray coating.
Eco-friendly powder spraying for car parts
Paint powder offers many advantages to liquid spray. It adheres well, is resistant to wear and overspray can be easily recovered and reused making it environmentally friendly. However, one of the main industries that paints metals, the automotive industry, has heretofore been unable to use powder coating techniques. The stumbling block centres on the type of conveyor belts used to move the parts, which are dictated by load weight.

The ‘Powder protected cardan chain in industrial floor conveyors’ (Protecc) project was initiated to develop a novel chain floor conveyor (CFC) system capable of moving heavy automotive parts and suitable for use with powder spray application. The focus was on protecting the chain itself from the paint powder and enabling easy spray booth cleaning when colours are changed, the latter of which decreases production time and cost.

In particular, the research team focused on a redesign of the chain track including electrical loading of the track and application of a non-metallic outer skin to inhibit powder adherence to the track itself.

Commercialisation of the Protecc concepts could result in important environmental and economic benefits. Adoption by the huge automotive sector of the eco-friendly alternative to liquid spray coating made possible by the CFC system would also significantly impact occupational health of automotive workers. Implementing the new CFCs with powder spray would also enable recovery and reuse of up to 95 % of overspray powder, decrease costs of waste removal and decrease production and labour costs. Taken together, the productivity and competitiveness of European automotive manufacturers would be enhanced. In addition, a new market would be created for manufacturers of conveyor belts and, finally, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) would have access to an affordable, flexible CFC system.

Protecc concepts have the potential to enhance the competitiveness of European automotive manufacturers, conveyor belt manufacturers and other SMEs wanting an affordable CFC system, all while protecting the environment by encouraging the use of eco-friendly powder spray coating technology.

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