How to Improve Paints and Coatings Processing Operations

An Overview of the Paints and Coatings Market

From solvent-based paints and pigments, to water-based paints and resin, the paints and coatings industry is expected to exceed $204 billion US dollars by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 4.92% 2023. 

Factors accelerating the growth include increasing urban population and rising household consumption expenditure.

The growing automotive industry and improving economic conditions are also contributing to the overall market expansion.

Many Challenges Impacting the Margins of Paint and Coatings Manufacturers

Despite the growth, in recent years the paint and coatings industry has faced numerous challenges.

As well as being one of the most regulated industry sectors in the world, issues such as sustainability challenges, concerns over safety and lower Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) regulations have put huge pressure on paints and coatings processing operations. Paints and coatings manufacturers have also been hit by increasing raw material prices which have had a significant impact on margins.

Many paints and coatings manufacturers are responding to these challenges through responsible manufacturing practices and innovative technologies and processes such as product recovery (‘pigging‘) and liquid transfer solutions.

In this blog article, we’ll explore some of the ways pigging and liquid transfer technologies such as the HPS Automatrix and HPS Rotomatrix can help paints and coatings manufacturers improve their processing operations and boost their bottom line.

Reducing Waste and Disposal Costs During Product Changeovers

One of the main ways HPS technology helps paints and coatings manufacturers is by reducing their waste and saving them money on disposal costs.

Many paints and coatings companies have a diverse product portfolio. Therefore, frequent changeovers are commonplace in the paints and coatings industry. However, the changeover process can be extremely time-consuming, resource-intensive and can have a negative impact on the financial and operating efficiency of a business. And the more changeovers there are, the more production capacity is limited.

One of the main challenges during product changeovers is that paint remains in the pipeline from the previous batch. Typically, this product residue is flushed to waste during the cleaning process, resulting in significant product loss. And the longer the pipeline is, as well as the larger its internal diameter, the greater the losses are to the paint and coatings company.

As well as direct product loss, the significant product waste results in excess water and cleaning chemicals being required for cleaning and waste treatment. Not only does the treatment and disposal of waste come at a high cost, but it has negative environmental implications. There’s also the downtime associated with cleaning, as while this is taking place, production stops. This can be extremely costly for manufacturers as its time not producing the product.

HPS pigging systems can help address these issues by recovering the majority of product remaining in the pipeline at the end of the transfer process. This increases yields, reduces product waste and lowers the amount of cleaning chemicals, water and time required for the cleaning process. And because pigging reduces the downtime associated with cleaning and changeovers, this increases plant capacity.

Reducing Cross-Contamination Risks in Paints and Coatings Manufacture

In paints and coatings operations, pipelines need to be cleaned vigorously to prevent the risks of product cross-contamination. Some pipelines can run up to 20 products per day, sometimes even more. So, it’s important to remove all traces of the previous batch before the next product can be processed.pigging systems and liquid transfer paints industry

Because the HPS hygienic (sanitary) pig removes practically all the product from the pipeline, the risks of cross-contamination are reduced.

Essentially, HPS pigging systems enable different products (even incompatible ones) to be transferred in the same line with clear separation between them. In turn, this means improved product quality, reduced risks of cross-contamination and minimal mixing between batches and different products.

Depending on company standards, some cleaning may be required even after pigging. However, this requirement will be greatly reduced, and will be quicker, easier and use less water or cleaning agents.

Reducing the Chances of Paints and Coatings Spoiling

Stringent regulations, growing environmental concerns and increasing awareness among customers are some of the many factors that have contributed to the transition towards waterborne paints. While waterborne paints are notably less toxic to the environment than traditional biocidal paints, by their nature they have higher water content. In this way, they’re more susceptible to bacterial degradation and spoilage.

Paints and coatings manufacturers previously relied on biocides, but legislation has limited or prohibited the use of certain biocides. So, with limited options, manufacturers have gradually moved closer to the hygiene standards applicable in the food and beverage industry. And that’s where pigging technology comes in.

A build-up of paint residue on the internal wall of the pipe provides optimal conditions for bacterial growth. Therefore, paints and coatings manufacturers must reduce the risks of bacterial growth by providing a hygienic and dry environment.

HPS pigging systems are fully hygienic (sanitary) and are in wide use in many hygienic production environments. Because the HPS pig efficiently cleans the pipeline and recovers product, this helps prevent the build-up of paint residue on the internal wall of the pipeline. This reduces the risks of bacterial contamination and minimises the chances of paints and coatings spoiling.

Minimising the Chances of Transfer Errors in Paint and Coatings Operations

Paints and coatings manufacturers want to ensure the continuous transfer of product with minimal disruption from receiving and storage to packaging and distribution. Therefore, connection errors can be a huge problem for paint and coatings manufacturers.

If a connection error occurs, production will need to be paused. This inefficiency ultimately wastes time, labour and money. At the same time, if product is sent to the wrong destination, it’s highly likely that cross-contamination will occur. The cost of a contaminated product batch and potential shut down can cost manufacturers dearly.

The HPS Rotomatrix liquid transfer solution enables manufacturers to quickly and reliably connect pipelines from multiple sources to multiple destinations. Because the Rotomatrix has rotating arms to connect different sources to different destinations as well as mechanical couplings, software interlocking and path selection feedback, operators can no longer make bad transfers. So, if an arm isn’t connected properly, the Rotomatrix will not allow the transfer of product.

Improving Safety, Preventing Accidents and Avoiding a “Snake Pit”

Hoses and flow panels are widely used in many paints and coatings plants for routing product from tanks to fillers. However, as a facility grows to meet demand, so do the number of connections.

If a manufacturing plant has too many hoses, it can look like a “snPigging and liquid transfer tech benefiting paints and coatingsake pit”. This can be extremely problematic for paints and coatings manufacturers. Not only can too many hoses have a negative impact on a plant’s efficiency, but it can pose serious implications for the safety of your workers.

Plant workers need to access the flow panel in order to connect, change and clean hoses. However, having a disorganised environment with too many hoses is inefficient and is a serious trip hazard. In addition, the more disorganised the flow panel, the more chances there are of hoses being connected incorrectly, resulting in expensive errors. For example, if red paint accidentally gets routed to a green paint line, the whole batch will mostly likely be ruined and will need to be discarded.

HPS Automatrix technology can address these issues by providing a fully automated, efficient, tidy and safe working environment while allowing for future reconfiguration and expansion. The HPS piggable Automatrix is a fully automatic piggable valve manifold. Because it automates source and destination selection, it not only makes changeovers extremely quick, it also means there’s less chance of connection errors. And because the Automatrix almost cuts out manual selection procedures, there’s minimal opportunity for human error.

What’s more, the design of the Automatrix reduces the amount of pipeline required, which frees up space and helps get rid off hoses. This ensures maximum safety and lowers the risks of accidents. It’s also fully piggable, which increases yields, reduces waste, speeds up changeovers times and lowers contamination risks.

Find Out More

There are many ways that pigging and liquid transfer technology can help paints and coatings improve their processing operations and boost their bottom line. We’ve only mentioned a few in this blog article, but there’s plenty more of them.

So, if you would like to speak to one of our experts about reducing waste, improving safety, minimising contamination risks and lowering costs using product recovery and liquid transfer solutions, then just complete the short form below:

Also, if you process paints or chemicals, here are some blog articles that you may be of interest to you:

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