“Give our deodorant product a new, flamboyant look that will pop off the shelf at the point of purchase.” That was the command handed down to the Packaging Group of a major manufacturer of consumer personal products.
As soon as it left Marketing, the concept was on a fast timeline to Production. A process was needed that would transform a polypropylene injection-molded part into a brilliantly colored, attractive finished cap with good surface durability.
In addition to being eye-catching, the new container concept needed to be environmentally-responsible, low-cost to manufacture and capable of being scaled to high volumes in the tens of millions per year.
Modean Industries teamed up with a specialty coatings supplier, a vacuum metallizing equipment producer and a designer of precision spray coating machinery to come up with a solution that offered these benefits and more.
First objective achieved – the coating. A tinted clear, 100%-solids, UV-curable paint was conceived and developed in multiple colors. This custom coating offered:
- EPA compliance – No VOC’s or HAP’s
- Fast cure process time at low temperatures
- Excellent flow and surface finish with no shrinkage
- Capability for being applied over delicate vacuum metallized surfaces
- Outstanding physical performance characteristics, look and feel
The next goal was to perfect a spray finishing process that would be highly-efficient and capable of meeting world-class quality standards. The result of the project team’s efforts included:
- A super-efficient electrostatic rotary atomization process
- A workholder concept that provided a grounded attraction for the electrostatic field
- A precision spindle conveyor to transport and rotate the vacuum metallized conductive workholders
- A spray booth with integral paint material reclaim capabilities
- A UV cure chamber that is high speed, compact, safe and cool
- A clean room built to suit the metallizing, transfer and painting processes
Time was of the essence in meeting the product’s introduction dates. Meetings and tests were conducted to verify the team’s designs and assumptions. The installation and commissioning of the system continued 24/7 until the line could be turned over to the client for him to turn the key and start production – right on schedule.
Benefit to Client
What was conceived as an interim solution or pilot line became the full production system. The line met or exceeded the client’s needs for:
- Quality – State-of-the-art process control allows the paint system yield to top 99%.
- Flexibility – Fast color change allows a quick transition from painting pink to blue.
- Throughput – The system produces over 7000 parts per hour.
- Work-in-process – The entire process of molding, metallizing and painting is completed in several minutes, minimizing inventory and client costs for storage and transport of goods.
- Cost savings – The high-efficiency spray and paint reclaim techniques minimize waste and maximize parts/gallon.
- Space savings – A clean room of 20 by 30 contains the entire paint line operation.
The result of the Modean project team approach was a system that realized the client’s vision – a fast, controllable process, durable and flexible equipment, an EPA-compliant installation and, most importantly, a means to achieve the designer’s dream of a product that feels as good in the hands of the consumer as it looks.