Supporting the Optimization of a Paint Manufacturing Process

Summary

Agenda1 were selected by the client to assist them with the analysis of their product to investigate irregularities found within their paint product. The client is an international company supplying high quality paints to the automotive industry. In this industry  the cost of  manufacturing paint which fails to perform to requirements could be financially catastrophic to the paint supplier. Agenda1 developed a client specific method using in house equipment and an experienced team of analysts to meet the client’s needs and help them improve the specification of their paint The analytical work produced was instrumental in guiding changes to the client’s manufacturing process and helped them develop an improved product.

Background

The coating industry is under continuous pressure to become environmentally friendly, through changes such as the demise of low solid varnish and modification of end products. Recent advances within the industry include the use of aluminium flake technology which has had a positive impact on the environment but an negative effect on the overall coating process with a range of practical difficulties being encountered.

The client, an established paint manufacturer, found their product encountered problems of inconsistency of performance. This  was identified as being related to differences in the surface area of the aluminium flakes used in the paint manufacturing process, with different batches having different surface areas.   Agenda1 were selected to employ  their experienced analytical team  to develop a method that was specific for the client.

Agenda1, were well aware of the high risk of failure and of  the risk of changes they could make to the aluminium flake material  as part of their analysis technique. Great care was taken to avoid this risk. A cost effective and fast method was developed to meet the client’s requirements. Working closely with the client, Agenda1 analysed samples to a tight timeline, as the client trialled different manufacturing approaches. All work was carried out using Agenda 1’s  in house equipment operated by team of skilled analysts within the time line demanded  by the client.

Resources

All experimental methods are carried out by a skilled team of analysts using equipment that is regulated to GMP standards. To prepare the sample before being analysed, a Micromeritics FlowPrep060 Degassing Unit was  used. The equipment removed any contaminants,  with the process being temperature dependant great care was taken to that the  characteristics of the original sample were unchanged prior to analysis. The testing was carried out using the Micromeritics TriStar3000 Surface Area Analyser which simultaneously analyses three samples in a single run.

Application

Agenda1 developed a detailed client specific method which was optimized to ensure accurate and consistent  results were obtained. The experimental method development work included assessment of precision work and how reproducible the method was.

The analysis conditions were fixed with development of the method focussing solely on the Micromeritics FlowPrep060 Degassing Unit. This was to ensure the sample was fully prepared for analysis with no contaminants present and no changes to the starting material. Variables such as the time taken, the temperature and the mass of the sample were altered until the results produced met the client’s requirements.

Results

For  the method development a formal report was produced. Regular analysis results were in the form of an excel  printout showing data from all the runs, allowing easy comparison of results. In addition the client was provided with the raw data   produced by the apparatus.

The main aim of this experimental development  was to achieve consistency with the sample preparation, to ensure total reliance could be placed on the results. For this reason much of the analysis was in triplicate, and confidence was drawn as the  results produced consistently agreed very closely.

The outcome was the  approach was used to guide the new product development and the client successfully improved their manufacturing process to achieve a better final product.