One of the most vexing problems in the production of automobiles and trucks is the contamination by ferrous particles of the initial, e-coat, prior to the application of base coat paint. These particles adhere to the body surface after welding, grinding and shaping operations. The larger particles, “weld balls,” if not removed, are potential time bombs that with time may erupt through the paint surface and leave the surface vulnerable to further corrosion, as well as unsightly. The smaller particles, at a minimum, preclude a less than perfect appearance to the final paint finish. Removal of ferrous material imperfections in a paint finish has involved sanding and repainting, a very costly labor-intensive process.
Heretofore there have been several means to remove ferrous particles. These include mesh or screen filters of various sorts, magnets, and centrifuges. Each of these requires frequent cleaning and generally does not remove a high percentage of the particles. While this cleaning is in progress the e-coat application must be suspended.
The FERRX 5000 magnetic separation device avoids these disadvantages with its self-cleaning, highly effective approach to removing ferrous particles. It accomplishes this by positioning powerful, rare earth magnets in the stream of effluent from the cleaning/rinsing tank. As the effluent follows a twisting path around the magnets, the suspended ferrous particles are caught and held. At the end of a cleaning cycle the unit automatically purges the contaminants. These functions are performed automatically, without shutting down the e-coat line and without any disassembly or the direct involvement of plant personnel. At flow rates of up to 300 gallons per minute, the FERRX 5000 has demonstrated removal of over 98 percent of all ferrous particulate that passes through it. A single unit in the deluge stage of a phosphate tank has been shown to reduce defects in the cured e-coat surface by over 50 percent.
With minimal effect on paint shop operation, the FERRX 5000, a fully programmable, automated and self-cleaning device, dramatically increases first-time-through ferrous contaminant removal capability. The result is hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings for the assembly plant through reduction of rework. The vehicle buyer also benefits from a more durable and higher quality paint finish.