Jim StuelkeBy Jim Stuelke, CEO of Extreme Coating Solutions

Here is an interesting proposition… “If your company re-coats the non-stick coatings on your molds and/or tooling to extend their operating life, walnut shells might significantly add to your profitability.”

Re-coating Production Molds

Manufacturers who re-coat their “non-stick” production molds and tooling when the coating wears off through use (especially those made from aluminum) know the original dimensional contours of the molds. They also know their investment in the mold/tooling is being eroded each time the old non-stick coating is removed. Ultimately, this can cause the mold to become dimensionally out of spec and then they must be replaced. And that requires yet another capital investment.

This issue can occur when molds are periodically re-coated with non-stick coatings (such as Teflon™ and Xylan® and the old coating is removed or stripped off with the same type of media (such as aluminum oxide) that’s used to “prep” the molds for coating.

Molds with intricate detailed areas or deeper cavities are very prone to this “erosion” as these areas can also be the most difficult areas to remove the old non-stick coating. Consequently, an operator working on removing the coating from those areas is removing even more metal.

Food Service Case Study

Earlier this year, one of our food-service clients asked us to come up with a solution to strip the Teflon™ finishes off their aluminum parts in a manner that would minimize the erosion of their molds.

Here were the options we considered:

  • Chemical Stripping – Maybe on some coatings, but chemical resistance is one of the hallmark performance properties Teflon™ was engineered to resist.
  • Pyrolysis – The high temperatures used in the Pyrolysis process would be too high for the aluminum molds.
  • Other blast medias – Considered and tested were dry ice, plastic, walnut shell, and corn cob blast medias.

Walnut BlastingThe most effective was the walnut shell media which did the best job of stripping the Teflon™ without damaging the aluminum.

By the end of September 2020, we will have completed the installation of a blast room dedicated to blasting with walnut media. We will be working with our clients to quantify how much this reduces the erosion. We’ll 3D scan specific parts to measure for erosion as we process their parts going forward. Based on the preliminary analysis, this new process could result in their molds lasting twice as long. This will significantly reduce their operating costs.

Walnut blasting is well-suited for cleaning composite molds and tools made of aluminum, INVAR, and other materials. It’s also great for cleaning any other production parts where their functional service lives can be extended by removing the worn finish, cleaning and re-coating so that its non-stick properties are rejuvenated.

For more information, please contact Jim Stuelke or call at 816.381.9901.

Delicious Customer Service-03What do you do when trail mix fruit is sticking to the chutes and trays of your packaging machine? Extreme Coating Solutions worked with one of our clients recently for a coating solution that fixes this problem.

The chutes and trays I’m talking about come from the manufacturers as non-coated, stainless-steel. However, the fruit in the trail mix eventually starts to stick to the stainless steel during packaging. This changes the “mix” of nuts, fruit, etc. as well as the weight of the packaging. During quality control, these bags get rejected, resulting in wasted product. (Not to mention the downtime for cleanup.)

The Solution

Ultimately, our solution is an FDA compliant, ceramic reinforced Teflon that coats the interior of the trays and chutes which reduces friction and allows for the fruit to stop sticking. The coating choice was influenced by the fact that the almonds in the trail mix are particularly abrasive. Our solution to the problem resulted in faster production because we reduced downtime for cleanup!

Getting the parts to us for coating

Delicious Customer ServiceThe trail mix chutes and trays are extremely expensive to replace. The machine that they’re installed on weighs and dispenses product at the same time. And they can’t ship the parts with a general carrier. With the customer being 125+ miles from our facility, shipping via local courier isn’t the best option either.

The only answer was a creative shipping arrangement. This usually involves someone from their facility dropping the parts off at the home of a sales rep or a meet-and-drop somewhere near Kansas City.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, a scheduled shut-down was the perfect opportunity for replacement of the chutes and trays. But a shortage of people due to vacation time meant a quick turnaround was required. The turnaround was the easy part. We were then left with the dilemma of how to get the chutes to the customer in a timely manner as they didn’t have anyone available to pick them up.

Delicious Customer ServiceIn an effort to quickly and safely deliver the much-needed trays to the customer, one of our coaters packed up and personally delivered the trays directly to the customer. Three days later, I took another round of finished chutes to our customer.

It’s a good thing to get out and physically visit the customer. It’s perfect for discovering what we’re doing right and what we could be doing better. The trip was worth it because the personal tour I was given was fascinating! I was able to see what we do to improve the performance of their equipment and manufacturing processes. Watching the packaging of the trail mix was informative and, in this case, delicious!

Project Porcupine Roller

Project Porcupine Roller

Thickness variance of no more than a “hair”? Okay, the coating spec didn’t actually say that, but the analogy is accurate. The coating specification called for an average coating thickness of 2 mils; but no less than 1.5 and no more than 3 mils. “Mil” which is terminology used mostly in the U.S., is equal to 1/1000th of an inch, or 25.4µ (microns). Two mils is also the average diameter of a human hair.

For this commercial dough docker roller, the downside of not meeting this spec was if the coating went on too thick, the coating can fracture during the curing process. And if that isn’t visually evident, it can still weaken the coating in those areas, leading to delamination. Conversely if the coating is too thin, then the release properties needed for this roller to poke and release the dough as it rolls over it will likely under perform, resulting in a lot of wasted scrap and downtime for our baking client.

For the coating applicator, the challenge is to use application techniques which allow the coating to build up thickness along the roller at the base of the “spines” without building up more than 2 mils on the spines themselves.

We’ve been handling challenging projects like this one for a long time. Our team has been together for over 28 years. Our lead “applicator” is also my partner, Bun Than Luy; who has been an owner in ECS since 1997. For Bun and the rest of our team, these years of experience serve us well when orders like Project Porcupine Roller show up, and the coating spec says we can’t be off by even a “hair”.

Large Tires

You don’t want a sticky mold when making these tires.

However, that is what Extreme Coating Solution’s client was fighting until we introduced them to Dyna-Tek’s nano-ceramic mold sealer and release coatings. After calling Extreme Coating Solutions, out of Kansas City, Missouri, a site visit revealed a 6,000 pound, 8 foot diameter tooling that needed surface treatment that would keep its lubricity despite the rigors of the molding process.

Tire Bladder Mold

Inherently, these tires are engineered for toughness, and with side walls over 8” thick; getting tires that are not releasing from the molds creates production throughput and efficiency declines as well as quality issues. However, it was the safety issues for the company’s workers that made solving this problem a top priority within top management of this company.

Dyna-Tek called on its certified applicator, Extreme Coating Solutions, to treat the tooling with Dyna-Tek’s DT-420 Mold Sealer and DT-6060 Mold Release coating products. Dyna-Tek’s 420 and 6060 coatings are:

  • Applied with a wipe-on process.
  • Can be applied on site provided the area is clean, controlled temps of 60 – 75 deg. F.
  • Air-cured. The first coat is dry to the touch within 30 min., but to achieve maximum performance properties, should air dry for 5 days. The top-coat, will air dry in 10 minutes, and can be put into production within 12 hours thereafter.

Ultimately, all coatings begin to wear off. The top coat; DT-6060 doesn’t stick to much; except itself. Meaning, it can be re-coated indefinitely to keep refurbishing its lubricity whenever needed. ECS trained our client’s maintenance staff so they can apply the top coat themselves!

For more information on this case study, click here.

Extreme Coating Solutions: Mold Case Study June 2017

Original Leaking Mold Surface

CHALLENGE: 50’ x 4’ Aircraft Spar Tool would not hold vacuum, and a small quantity of production parts from the Tool was still required.

Attempts to repair and extend the life of the mold thru various options had failed. If unable to repair the mold, the replacement cost would be $175,000, which was greater than the  value of the remaining parts needed to complete the production contract.

SOLUTION: Dyna-Tek (DT) Mold Sealer/Release System… Face side of the mold.

  • DT 2-coat sealer and mold release system is hand-applied and worked into the surface on the face side of the mold.
  • No silicone contamination.
  • Coating system adds no more than 4-8 microns, thus virtually no dimensional change to the tooling surface dimensions
  • Air-cure (preferably 4-5 days).
  • Covalent (molecular) bond. A chemical bond occurs at the molecular level with the composite substrate creating a chemical bond vs. a mechanical bond.
  • On-going “refurbishment” coats can be applied by our client’s Tooling Dept. on an “as needed” basis not only extending tool life, but keeping production pull quality high.
Extreme Coating Solutions: Mold Case Study June 2017

Refurbished Mold Surface

RESULT: Our team went on-site and repaired the mold; successfully sealing the surface and permitting this OEM to complete its production contract at a cost less than 10% of the mold’s replacement cost.

RECAP:

  • Zero vacuum
  • Mold sealed from the front side.
  • Once refurbished; vacuum measured 1.18 in. Hg in 5 min.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Extreme Coating Solutions | info@nullecs-ww.com | (816) 381-9900

Case Study Challenge: Circular saw used to cut PEEK, glass-filled nylon and other materials experienced down-time, cut quality issues.

After seeing the benefits of he Dyna-Tek mold release coatings on their extruding dies, ZL began to look for other areas in operations where the DT products could improve production.

PROBLEM:

ZL Saw BladeOne area was their cutting saw station. The problem here was downtime and cut quality due to the heat build-up from the friction on the side walls of the saw blade as it cut through their large blocks of materials. Consequently, the blades would build up material over time which would lead to the operator stopping production to change out the blade.

Additionally, leading up to stopping the cut quality would continually diminish which left a lower quality appearance.

SOLUTION:

Dyna-Tek in conjunction with its approved applicator; Extreme Coating Solutions (ECS) coated one of ZL’s blades with the DT-420, forced cured it at 450 deg. F for 45 min. and then put the blade back in service.

Because the DYNA-TEK clear-coating has a ceramic-chemistry component to it, this accomplished two things:

  • The ceramic element results in dissipating the heat faster than an untreated blade.
  • The high-release, low coef of friction of the DT-420 meant less drag on the side walls of the blade, meaning less friction; and consequently less heat build-up as well.
  • Both of these improvements meant a cleaner cut, and higher quality appearance.
  • Down-time was reduced as each blade saw 6X’s longer service.

ZL’s FEEDBACK:

“When cutting with the DYNA-TEK coated 18” saw blade we get less side buildup and melting due to friction.  This has extended our saw blade useful life and improved the cut quality which is highly important to the customer.”

–        JOHN REYNOLDS, QUALITY CONTROL MANAGER

ZL Engineering PlasticsPRODUCTION CHALLENGE. ZL Engineering Plastics came to Extreme Coating Solutions with two production challenges:

  1. Improve the quality of extruded sheet, rod and tube.
  2. Increase the wear life of the coating on the tooling dies.

For years, ZL had tried various PTFE-based coatings, Chrome plated, and other options, in an effort to find a coating system that would last longer than the 4-6 weeks they were getting.

COMPANY OVERVIEW.

ZL Engineering Plastics is a high quality, American manufacturer of thermoplastic stock shapes for machined parts.  Their product range includes extruded sheet, rod, tube and cast parts made of a variety of materials including Acetal, PET, Nylon, PEEK, and Ultem®.

ZL’s high-density stock shapes are engineered to meet the strict standards required for subsequent machining into a variety of parts destined for use in industries such as oil and gas, electronics, machine parts, medical devices and others.

SOLUTION:  ECS Leveraged Dyna-Tek’s 2-Coat Mold Release System

PROCESS:

  • Blast off the original PTFE-based coating; but leaving a blast profile of approximately 6-7 microns.
  • Lightly hand-sand the blasted surface removing any loose particles left behind by the blast media.
  • Spray on, or if given proper training; hand wipe-on DYNA-TEK’s patent pending DT-420 base-coat. Allow it to flash off (20 min) and then force cure at 450 deg. for 45 min. or allow it to air-dry for 5 days.
  • Note: In some cases if the mold is in poor condition with a lot of porosity, it may require the use of our DT-898 to fill in those pores prior to applying the 420.
  • Apply our patented DT-6060 mold release, clear top-coat. Allow the 6060 to air dry overnight at 70 deg. or higher, and then the mold is ready to go again.
  • The resulting coating system is approximately 12-15 microns, very smooth finish with a coefficient of friction less than the PTFE-based coating it replaced.

CUSTOMER’S FEEDBACK:   

“When we move from PTFE-based coatings to DYNA-TEK, our sheet and rod quality improved dramatically.  With PTFE-based coated dies the appearance of our extruded materials had lines in them which created what a matte finish. With the Dyna-Tek system, the surface is far smoother, creating a very nice gloss finish that seems to only get better with age. This is an incredible difference and competitive advantage for ZL.

Additionally, because the Dyna-Tek coating is lasting at least 4x’s longer than the PTFE-based coatings, we have less downtime and and more production.  I would highly recommend any tooling that is currently coated with PTFE or other non-stick coatings be evaluated with DYNA-TEK.  The results and cost savings are impressive!”

–        PATRICK PHEFFER, PRESIDENT, ZL Engineered Plastics, N.A.

ADDITIONAL FEEDBACK:

“DYNA-TEK works well on old and new tooling alike.  The results have been nothing short of amazing.  Impressive surface quality and thus far, no re-coat required.  This saved us significantly and delivered a superior product. The PTFE-based coatings we used before would start to deteriorate after several weeks, while with DYNA-TEK we have yet to re-coat a set of dies due to it being worn out. Now when the dies reach 4X’s the time we used to run them, we pull them out as part of our overall maintenance program for the dies themselves; which ultimately extends their useful life.”

–        MARK DOUGLAS; PRODUCTION MANAGER, N.A. Operations.

For more information on Dyna-Tek’s Mold Release Products, visit www.Dyna-Tek.com or call us at 816-444-6266.