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What info is needed to select the best option for adding coating capacity? Part 1 of 4

By Dr. Edward D. Cohen 
When there is a need to obtain additional coating capacity, the initial step is to develop the technical and economic information needed to specify the new capacity requirements. This information will be used evaluate all possible options. Also, this ensures that the new hardware is the best option is selected and will meet the needed requirements.
Solution web coating is a complex manufacturing process with numerous hardware and operating variables, all of which affect their overall performance and must be optimized. There are many new web-coating technologies available that can be used to give the customer the ability to obtain the optimum new coating capacity that meets their needs. One of the critical success factors is to obtain all of the technical and economic information to design and build the new capacity before selecting the best option.
The current performance data should be reviewed to identify potential needs and process deficiencies. It is much more efficient to obtain this data at the start of the project as opposed to modifying capacity specifications when construction is started.

Table 1 below indicates typical process information that should be included in the final basic information document. The specific elements selected can be modified for local requirements. The information can be expressed by spreadsheets and written descriptions. This document is intended to provide the data for the next step, which is to select the best option.

TABLE 1. Basic process-information elements

  • New capacity needed 
  • Anticipated product structures
  • Technical specifications to attain
    the additional capacity
  • Preferred location for new capacity
  • Understanding external technology  
  • Product quality requirements
  • Coating methods required
  • Coater hardware-module upgrades
  • New capacity options

Basic information to be acquired
New capacity needed: This section should determine the specific reasons that the additional capacity is needed and the economic incentives for attaining it such as cost savings, eliminating current coater deficiencies, profit from increased volume and sales, and replacing old worn-out coater. Understanding these reasons is essential to building an effective coater.
Some of typical needs for the new capacity are:

  • Need additional coating capacity to meet current and future sales requirements
  • Improve poor coated-film yields
  • Eliminate frequent hardware-module breakdown because of coater age or poor maintenance
  • Reduce high manufactured film cost
  • Improve current poor coated-product quality
  • Replace coater hardware modules that are limiting the overall coater performance
  • Need to add new technologies required for future products such as coating thin layers, online quality control, and multilayer coating application
  • Increase drying capacity
  • Need to upgrade emission hardware to meet current environmental requirements

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