Research Project Summary Information
Industrial Process & Productivity Improvement:Electron Beam (EB) Paint Curing System(ST7964-1)
Gibraltar Steel Corporation
Gibraltar is a manufacturer of steel strapping used for packaging. This industry has become extremely competitive with most manufacturers either folding or merging. There are currently only three manufacturers left in the United States. In an effort to remain cost competitive, Gibraltar is proposing to replace its existing painting line with one based on an electron beam (EB) paint curing system. Strathmore Products has developed EB curable coatings under a previous NYSERDA project. Gibraltar will be working with Strathmore Products and Advanced Electron Beams (AEB).
Gibraltar shall complete preliminary component testing, followed by the purchase, installation, and demonstration of the EBPCS on its steel strapping production line. While preliminary coating trials have achieved the desired coating thickness, no trial has yet demonstrated proper coating thickness with the desired coating properties at the desired line speed of 250 ft./minute. Once this can be established in coating trials for both sides of the steel strapping, Gibraltar shall purchase, install, and demonstrate the EBPCS on its steel strapping production line. Once the EBPCS is operational, Gibraltar will monitor the energy costs, productivity improvements, and economic and environmental benefits of the EBPCS compared to the previous coating system.
Gibraltar is expecting a 98% reduction in paint drying energy costs, worth over $220,000/yr. A 99.9% reduction in air emissions is also expected due to the elimination of paint solvents. Hazardous waste disposal costs should decline by about $12,000, and yield improvements could save over $100,000/yr. A major benefit will occur if the EBPCS allows for an increase in production line efficiency. Currently, the speed of the strapping line is directly controlled by the existing painting/curing portion of the process. Increasing line speed could generate an additional 750 tons of saleable product per year, worth millions in revenue.
This project was terminated for business reasons. Gibraltar sold its steel strapping coating line and the entire coating business to a Chicago company, which then dismantled the project equipment and moved it to Illinois where it has been reassembled in an R&D lab. Gibraltar was happy with the performance of the EB curing system once some issues associated with the coating application subsystem were resolved. No significant performance data was ever reported on the project due to the sale of the business, but there was anecdotal feedback from Gibraltar staff that the equipment was finally able to work as predicted once the application subsystem was optimized.
Gibraltar Steel Corporation
2555 Walden Ave
Cheektowaga, NY 14225
On-site Process Improvement
NYSERDA Contact Information
R&D - Mfg Tech & On-Site Pwr