Reprinted with permission from MLS Machinery, Inc.
Finishing equipment also covers a whole range of equipment. There is spraying equipment for painting which can be completely automated where a panel goes into a machine on one end and comes out completely painted, sanded and re-painted with a second or third coat on the other. In finishing equipment there are machines called denibbers which can sand into crevices of panels as well as removing fine hairs off a solid or veneered panel caused by the natural traits of these materials. There are roller coaters which apply a primer coat or stain onto a panel before it actually goes in for painting or lacquer. There are curtain coaters which work in the following manner: paint is applied to a thin plastic curtain by a system of pumps. The panel goes through the machine on a conveyor and as it passes the curtain, a very thin coat of paint is applied. This can only be used for flat panel processing and cannot be used if there are any shapes or grooves in the surface of the panel as the curtain cannot get into them. Its normal application would be for high end lacquer such as Italian high gloss finish.
Other items would include reciprocating air sprayers which would be a sequence of painting guns in an enclosed chamber that rotate over a panel as it passes through the tunnel on a conveyor belt. Spray guns spray a very thin coat on the panel as it passes under the guns which are continuously rotating. An operator can select the color of paints or can select different levels of finish depending on how many coats are required.
When paint is applied in any of the above methods some form of drying is required, either a UV tunnel which is dried by ultra violet light which is very quick, or an infra-red system which is slower and less expensive and might require a flash off area, that is, the wet part must be exposed to natural air for a short period of time while drying. Drying should also be done in a sealed dust free room and in some cases a little railroad train device can be used which runs on tracks. Carts are filled with the parts to be dried and then go through a heated drying tunnel with one cart being directly behind the next. Once the cart returns to the operator the panels are dry. The timing of the carts can be controlled depending on what kind of finish is required. These tracks and carts require a tremendous amount of space and therefore are only normally used in very large operations. Some other related finishing equipment will be discussed under other categories. Finishing is a very specialized field. One other machine that is normally used in the finishing process is a panel cleaner. This machine cleans the two sides of the panel before any of the operations discussed above, that is, it will remove all sawdust and dust particles that have adhered to the board during the other processes of manufacturing.
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