ROLLER COATING

in all shapes and sizes

One of the most widely used surface enhancement techniques, roller coating is an ideal solution for flat panels, furniture cabinet doors, doors, flooring and all other flat surfaces. Lines are usually made up of roller coaters followed by UV ovens in succession, all preceded by a sanding machine. Lines can be tailored to specific requirements, ideally for manufacturers who are running the same large-volume production batches repeatedly. On the other hand, they can be conceived to offer as much flexibility as possible, which is ideal for third party finishing outfits who need to turn from one colour or thickness to the next without too much downtime. One aspect common to most lines is that they can reach up to over 100 metres in length, so they represent significant floor space and need to be managed efficiently.

Key issues that interest our customers

Efficiency, ease of use, accessibility and control over the coating process are the predominant topics faced by companies.

  1. Machine set-up has to be simple, even when operators are not qualified or have little experience of a roller coating line.
  2. Downtime has to be reduced in any possible way, so that production efficiency accelerates the return on investment.
  3. Equipment must be easy to access, so any maintenance tasks or cleaning operations can be executed rapidly.
  4. Control over the process, meaning lacquer consumption and coating quality evaluation, needs to be done and adjusted accordingly on the go. Stopping to intervene on each machine in the line is counter-productive.

Each of these topics has been addressed by Cefla Finishing in order to maximise the efficiency of the process and help each customer optimise their resources.

Simple HMIs on each of the machines make programming a simple process. Colour changeovers are made fast, which boosts flexibility and semi-automatic cleaning systems can be included to save time, and also to save on solvents. Machines are designed to facilitate access when any maintenance work is required, saving time between production runs.

Above all, the coating process - including lacquer consumption data based on the weight of lacquer applied, production speeds and panel thickness - can be monitored automatically without needing to check each machine in the line. This means adjustments to quality and consumption can be made on the go, reducing stoppages to a bare minimum.

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VISUAL FEEDBACK: visibility inside the machines

As regards machine accessibility, we have taken this topic a step further, enabling visibility of the process thanks to transparent protective guards built into our machines. Customers now benefit from immediate visual feedback on the process without needing to stop production to make checks.

COATING CONSISTENCY: dealing with poorly calibrated panels

One of the issues faced by companies is related to the quality of the unfinished panel. There are many cases in which panels are poorly calibrated so the roller coating process is affected beyond control. We have been able to solve this issue with a floating system responding perfectly to surface variations on flat panels transiting through the machine. This enables coating consistency despite poor calibration and reduces the chance of rejects if quality standards are not reached.

RAISED PANELS: trends that we are both following and driving

Further to coping with poorly calibrated panels, we have developed a roller coating process which handles slightly raised panels to achieve even greater flexibility for companies looking to increase their scope. A soft coating roller together with an improved lifting system based on 4 screw jacks to ensure greater stability and sturdiness, coats efficiently and economically.

QUALITY: obtaining the quality a customer envisages

One issue we feel confident about regards quality, despite this being such a subjective topic. To us it represents an opportunity, because we have the world’s largest Finishing Laboratory, a place where every process can be tested using a customer’s products, substrates, primers and lacquers. The best way to achieve the desired outcome is to run a full production test in our LAB. This way, we can optimise all the parameters to ensure repeatability of the output when the line is installed and starts running.

LASER ROLLER: obtaining a premium quality finish with a roller coater

Heard too often, the saying “quantity at the expense of quality” is quite the opposite of what is obtained from the Laser Roller. Featuring a laser-engraved application roller, this machine, ideal as an end-of-line solution, achieves single pass application rates up to 45 g/sqm, sometimes putting it on a par with spray coaters or curtain coaters in terms of surface finishing quality. This machine was developed initially for glossy finishes, but will also manage matt by using UV lacquers, companies will also enhance their productivity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which materials are suitable for roller coating?

All materials are. The only requirement is to have a flat surface.

Examples of products suitable for roller coating:

  • cabinet doors
  • parquet
  • doors

Examples of materials suitable for roller coating:

  • wood and wood-based materials
  • glass
  • cork
  • plastic
  • fibre cement
  • metal
  • roll-to-roll for edges etc.
What are the advantages of roller coating?

High flexibility in terms of output rate and choice of cycles/processes according to the line make-up.

Zero solvent emissions thanks to 95% use of products with high dry residue (UV) content.

Possibility of using the roller technique for any application on all flat surfaces.

How can I rate the quality of roller coating?

The quality of the paint finish is highly subjective. However, opacity and gloss, and obviously, the degree of application, can all be rated.

What consumption values should be considered?

Coating product consumption and consumption of solvents required for cleaning the machines in the coating line should certainly be considered and evaluated. Each step of the roller coating process must be monitored in terms of the quantity applied, for each individual machine. Quantities, in fact, may vary according to the type of substrate treated.

Can I also coat shaped panels with a roller?

Today, thanks to the SmartCoater PRO series and the choice of specially designed rollers, in some cases it is possible to apply UV primers on cabinet doors and specially shaped doors. This refers to primer application. After the intermediate sanding phase, finishing is carried out with spray coating machines.

Can I have a roller coating machine and a spray coating machine in the same line?

Yes. It often happens to have coating lines consisting of roller coating machines for primer/insulating product application followed by spray coating machines for finishing.

How long does it take to clean a machine?

The average time required to clean a roller coating machine was 20 minutes. A critical variable was the use of clear or pigmented coats. Today, with our new semi-automatic system, considerably less time is needed for an operator to carry out cleaning. Additionally, the consumption of solvents is heavily reduced, with resulting advantages in terms of efficiency and sustainability also in the roller coating process.

Can paint consumption be controlled?

An automatic system is being developed, designed to monitor the parameters relating to the consumption of coating products also in roller coating machines. 

How many workers are needed to operate a coating line?

The number of operators required for the correct operation of a roller coating line depends on the complexity and length of the line. We can reasonably expect that 2-3 people will be needed to work on the line.

Is it better to coat or laminate surfaces?

Lamination and roller coating are two different processes. A coated product is generally considered more sophisticated than a product laminated with paper or plastic film. Laminating a panel is practical when we have to process small production batches.

Roller coating, on the other hand, is definitely more cost-effective to treat matt or glossy methacrylate sheets.

Is a coating machine very maintenance-intensive?

No. The most delicate part is the rubber roller which will have to be surface-ground or re-coated. There are also normal wear parts that need to be replaced: scrapers, pumps, etc.

Is there a locally based maintenance service for my roller coating line?

Our international network of distributors and branch facilities is widespread globally, and most likely, you'll easily find the right contact in your own country. Otherwise, in just a few days we will send spare parts and technicians straight from our headquarters.

In the roller coating process, are the edges also coated?

Roller coating machines can only coat flat surfaces. There are some special cases in which a special machine with a soft roller can be used to coat bevelled parts, too. This is the case for example with the beveled side of parquet flooring, where the bevel reaches up to 4 mm.

What finishes can I achieve using roller coating lines?

Thanks to roller coating technologies, various degrees of finish can be obtained, either clear or pigmented, matt, semi-gloss or glossy. Additionally, since the roller lines are made up of a number of applications, aluminium dioxide- or corundum-based coats can be applied in order to achieve high surface abrasion strength.

What do I need besides the roller coating machine in my line?

Downstream from each roller painting machine, a gelling/drying oven is needed. It can be either a UV or a hot air oven according to the type of coat applied. In addition, machines for sanding primer coats, brushing machines for cleaning the panels and conveying machines along the line are needed.

How can I increase the output rate of my coating line?

On roller coating lines, it is quite simple. Depending on the output demand, we can calculate the line speed and then decide how many UV lamps are needed to be able to gel or dry the finish coats at that precise speed. This helps to respond effectively to required changes in output rate.

What is the degree of flexibility of the roller coating machine?

The machines are flexible both in terms of product quantities to be applied, and in terms of versatiliy - being suitable for different applications, at various locations along the line.

What aspects of sustainability are covered by roller coating?

In roller coating machines, 100% UV acrylic products, as well as water-based products, can be used resulting in a highly sustainable finishing process.

Can I manage colour changeover in roller coating machines?

Yes. Normally, on small, low-output lines, the machines are flushed to carry out colour changeover. Otherwise, multipurpose machines are added to the lines to be able to manage colour changes very quickly.

Can I easily manage the programming of my workpieces?

In this respect, a roller coating line ensures maximum flexibility. It enables to process any panel shape, also in random order - as long as all the panels have the same thickness.

Are any service packages available for my roller coating machine/line?

Yes. A whole range of UBIQUO service packages is available for this equipment as well as for other finishing solutions.

Products and Solutions

The search function is now available for complete production lines. All you need to do is select the material involved, the market sector or the finished product. Whichever search criteria is used, a corresponding solution for your spray coating line is obtained in just 3 steps. Search results will indicate the most suitable solution, based on the level of flexibility required, the productivity range and the overall footprint. Solutions are classified as small (S), medium (M) or large (L).

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Products and Solutions

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