As part of Automated Solutions Australia’s (ASA) commitment to delivering tomorrows solutions today, ASA has been completing a lot of lab trials using a robotic solution for the application of Cerakote.
Process Engineer Michael Boonzaayer demonstrating application of Cerakote using our FANUC Paint Maint.
For those who aren’t familiar with this product, Cerakote is a thin ceramic coating that is applied as a resin and forms a 3D ceramic matrix as it cures. This makes it possible to protect surfaces that are not made of metal. The formulation of this technology makes it possible for the coating to withstand extremely high temperatures (sometimes as high as 1100 degrees Celsius) without altering its appearance. Once cured, the coating is a becomes very hard and extremely scratch and abrasive resistant.
A Cerakote coating also provides excellent protection against corrosion, thermal stress, and thermal barriers for applications that are sensitive to temperature changes. This type of coating continues to exhibit outstanding performance over an extended period of time. Because of this, Cerakote is ideal for use in defence and military applications as well as on exhausts, pistons and other components that will be exposed to high temperatures. Cerakote has been carefully engineered to provide maximum substrate protection and improved coating performance when compared to traditional powder coating and solvent or water-based painting applications.
Once cured, products coated with Cerakote typically have a smooth, sleek finish. Although the application of Cerakote is traditionally a simple process, this does not mean it is easy. Dry spray is a common application mistake leaving a scratchy texture, similar to that of sandpaper which is often a result of insufficient solvent transfer during the spraying process. It is necessary to “Wet Out” the coating before beginning the application process in order to prevent any dry spray from occurring. On the other hand, because Cerakote is such a thin liquid, it is very difficult to apply to a surface without runs. Application requires greater control of the thickness when compared to other coatings, usually 8 – 25 microns.
Recently, Automated Solutions Australia (ASA) have been fielding more enquiries about the automation of the Cerakote application process. Automation allows digital flow rate control and consistency of applicator tip speed, as well as being able to program a constant gun-to-target distance. Using FANUC paint robot systems, ASA can far exceed the transfer efficiency and material utilization when compared to traditional spray guns and spray systems. Cerakote can be delivered to the robot in a more efficient manner thanks to in-arm process control. Because the FANUC robot is equipped with integrated fluid handling capabilities, the substance may be blended to the appropriate proportions and delivered to the applicator in an effective manner. This means the coating process can be more tightly controlled and given the hefty price of Cerakote per litre, a real competitive advantage with minimal waste.
Using a FANUC paint system to apply Cerakote means increased operational time. Robots rarely need breaks and when managed right, never have to stop to mix additional paint. The system is programmed to mix the exact amount of solvent to Cerakote ratio required for optimal performance. These systems provide results that are consistent and reproducible across parts with stability.
FANUC painting systems lower the risk of occupational health and safety hazards to the work force and provide increased protection for workers in potentially dangerous areas. These systems are designed to be intrinsically safe, which means they may operate in potentially hazardous areas. This combined with a drop in emissions volumes of volatile organic compounds (VOC) are some of the benefits companies can experience with a FANUC painting system.
The reliable nature of robotic applications, means there is a decrease in the frequency of rework and repair which may have been caused by errors in manually applying the coating. FANUC paint robots have the ability to make on the fly adjustments to a variety of application parameters, resulting in improvements to film and aesthetic appearance.
All of these benefits make automation of Cerakote a great investment. If you’re looking to automate your Cerakote application, call us today on 1800 ROBOTS (1800 762 687)
To read more about FANUC industrial robots, click here.