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Dana uses ACI reciprocating nozzle dryer for improved drive shaft painting preparation

27 January 2012

A versatile blower-powered drying system installed at the Dana driveshaft assembly facility in Wellingborough has enhanced the plant’s pre-painting drying process. Designed and supplied by Air Control Industries this new installation ensures effective paint coverage of drive shafts and related components. The system’s performance is superior to that of a previous installation as well as eliminating the need for manual intervention and the compressor previously required for this task.

Drive shafts and components passing through the drying process undergo a wash-down process in preparation for painting. However, as a result of complex and irregular shapes there are catchment areas where water can often be trapped.

Previously, the drying process involved the products travelling through an oven and then passing between static air-knives located immediately before the paint application chamber. These static air-knives were mounted upon rigid frames that required positioning according to the different sizes and shapes of the various products, which range from 300mm to 2.5m in length and 50 to 130mm in diameter.

The new blower-powered drying system, designed and supplied by Air Control Industries of Axminster, comprises two opposing banks of reciprocating air-delivery nozzles, mounted vertically at the entry point into the oven. The nozzles sweep up and down to deliver a moving volume of high velocity air, to ensure effective surface drying, while at the same time creating turbulence to dislodge water trapped in obscured recesses, including blind holes.

The installed drying unit, an ACI RN15, has 15 nozzles on both sides with each set of nozzles motor driven in unison, with a reciprocating vertical movement.  ACI are able to manufacture RN3, 3 nozzle assembly up to an RN15, 15 nozzle assembly.

The nozzles are flexible, can be supplied in various lengths, permitting products to brush against them without risk of damage - ideal for lines handling irregularly shaped and different products.

Both sets of nozzles are fed by a common 37kW blower, an ACI APF direct-driven 2-pole EV, which is housed in an acoustic enclosure.

“The new system works really well,” said Nigel Atterbury, Quality Manager at the Dana Wellingborough plant. “It can cope with all our products without adjustment and saves time and cost by avoiding manual finishing and use of a compressor.”
Between 600 and 700 drive shafts are produced daily during a single 8hr shift. The drive shafts are employed on commercial vehicles, off-road vehicles and for industrial applications.


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