Fully automated enamelling line for Heat exchangers of hot water tanks

Replacing manual challenging processes with automated, controlled and repeatable solutions is always great added value for the customers! If we can eliminate environmental unfriendly processes such as chemical pre-treatment at the same time, benefits are adding up.

Heat exchange elements for hot water tanks​

Boiler heating elements are an essential part of the boilers. Parts are designed with a bottom flange where one or multiple tubes are welded to it. Those tubes serve as housings where heating elements and temperature sensors are positioned. The outside surface of the heat exchanger is in direct contact with the water and therefore same standards as for the boiler surface must be met. They come in different sizes and numbers of tubes welded on flanges. Due to their complexity presents a challenge in the process of surface treatment and enamel coating, especially different thicknesses (mass) between flange and tubes, and because of geometry and tight space between. Usually, producers are using chemical surface pre-treatment and wet (spray) enamel application. Such processes are energy and time-consuming, environment unfriendly and require more space in production. Due to mostly manual wet enamel application enamelled surface is nonrepeatable and differentiated quality-wise from part to part, and because of unequal thickness of enamel layer a bad leaking occurs widely.

Working closely with our customers enabled us to clearly understand the issue they were facing and decided to address this important topic. During solution and process development in our R&D department, we have done extensive trials to define working parameters, equipment and confirm the quality. Multiple trials on actual parts were conducted before optimal solution and parameters were achieved. Once process and quality were confirmed we started designing the complete solution.

How did we approach the challenge?

As a result, FerroECOBlast Europe has designed and manufactured a fully automated enamelling line for continuous, automatic and repeatable treatment and simultaneously enamel application on these complex designed heat exchangers. The complete line combines two processes, each conducted in separate installation. Firstly, elements are going through surface preparation/treatment with means of air blasting. An automated blasting machine with an integrated cleaning station prepares complete part surface to the right roughness and coverage. For maximum production output multiple parts are passed through the stations in one cycle. When blasting operation is finished, parts are unloaded from the blasting machine and loaded into the powder electrostatic application unit.

Line is combining Orbital type of solutions, therefore manipulation through the line can be done using one robot arm in the center – no operator required. Inside the powder enamel application unit, enamel is applied to the elements with multiple powder electrostatic guns positioned on the precise controlled vertical manipulator – to evenly cover the complete surface. All over sprayed enamel is collected on the bottom, recovered, mixed with the fresh powder and reused through the system. After powder enamel application is finished, elements are loaded to the furnace conveyor – no drying is needed.

Let’s watch video presentation of the complete line…​

Let me just extract couple of advantages of such solution:

  • low energy consumption,
  • fully automated, controlled and repeatable process,
  • complete blasting media and powder recovery,
  • clean and environmentally friendly process,
  • on key solution,
  • high productivity,
  • small layout required,
Bringing challenges from our valued customers and returning solutions is in our DNA. Tackling with most demanding projects is our driver. You know what they say: It is impossible… until someone does it!