Heraeus infrared helps Eurobond handle cold steel07 June 2010

Carbon medium wave infra-red equipment is helping Eurobond to improve its adhesive processes for structural panel manufacture in cold weather.

By heating the steel strip at its Cardiff factory, bonding between two steel layers and an insulating core takes place at the desired reactivation temperature.

Craig Cheshire, project engineer at Eurobond, explains that in manufacture, adhesive is applied to top and bottom steel strips before rockwool is introduced to be bonded in a continuous process.

To ensure optimum bonding, he says, the adhesive must be reactivated and applied at a specified temperature. In warm weather, this causes no problem. However, as the steel coil is stored outside, in the winter it needs to be heated.

After rejecting an open gas flame Cheshire investigated the possibilities of infra-red and, following tests carried out at the Heraeus Noblelight applications centre, a 117kW carbon medium wave infra-red system was installed.

The equipment consists of two 58.5kW modules, one heating the underside of the upper steel strip and the other the top surface of the bottom strip.

Pyrometers have been fitted before the adhesive applicator, to monitor the sheet temperature, and 4—20mA closed loop control feedback signals provide stepless regulation of the infra-red emitters. Those ensure a temperature rise of up to 40ºC at the steel strip surface at feed rates of 12m/min.

"The new system has now ensured that we have a better adhesive bond in cold weather, and this is demonstrated by the reduction in scrap levels and a general overall quality improvement," states Cheshire.

Brian Tinham

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