Applicator Longevity: How to Maximize Your Equipment’s Efficiency

Whether a manufacturer is applying primer, adhesive or another material to glass, metal, plastic, rubber or wood, the efficiency of their fluid dispensing system is determined by the quality of its applicators. To maximize applicator longevity and ensure precise, repeatable results, those applicators must be used and maintained properly.

Applicator Use and Maintenance

Whether your fluid application process is manual or automated you’re going to have downtime now and then.

Depending on production needs, an applicator could be out of use from a few minutes to a few hours. During that time, you must store your fluid applicators properly to prevent contamination, damage and dry out.

Designetics’ docking stations and precision compliance units integrate seamlessly with many of our fluid applicators to alleviate those concerns.

Contamination, Damage & Dry Out

When an applicator becomes contaminated with dirt and dust, either from the production environment or from the substrate to which it’s applying, the quality of the flow is compromised. A dirty applicator will contaminate subsequent parts as they move through production, resulting in slow-downs and restarts.

Depending on the type of applicator and substrate – glass, metal, plastic or others – the applicator tip will degrade over time.

Our team understands that every fluid application system is unique. That’s why we employ a comprehensive exploration process designed to determine which dispensing system is the right fit.

When applicators begin to abrade, they become deformed and lose their intended shape. “Every millimeter makes a difference in fluid applications,” said Jeffrey Schnapp, Designetics’ regional sales manager. “The width of the applicator that comes in contact with the substrate is called the prime path. If your applicator becomes too wide or too narrow due to degradation, you’re no longer coating that prime path.”

Another challenge manufacturers face is applicator dry out. When a felt applicator is coated with fluid, the solvent flashes off quickly on the surface of the part. The ingredients set up with air movement, temperature and moisture. “That’s great for the surface of the part, but bad for the applicator,” said Schnapp. “Once the applicator is dry, there’s no way to shake it off.” A partially wet applicator will produce streaks during fluid application and the quality will suffer.

To ensure a fluid applicator consistently performs accurately, manufacturers can implement docking stations and precision compliance units in their fluid application systems.

Simple Solutions for Fluid Application Systems

DOCKING STATION

The Designetics docking station not only protects the applicator from contamination, damage and dry out, but facilitates the wet-out process for the applicator tip.

First, the user fills the docking station with the chemical or base solvent to be dispensed. Once that fluid fills the applicator bottle and the applicator tip is mounted, the bottle is held upside down over the docking station. The user squeezes the bottle until fluid flows through the applicator, completely wetting the tip. Once the docking station has been filled with the chemical or base solvent, the applicator is placed head-down in the docking station, where it will be shielded from damage.

“If you use any of our equipment options, you can choose to have the applicator wet-out at any interval or duration of your choice,” said Schnapp. “We help you build a complete custom program that works specifically for your needs. With a docking station and pump system in place, you’ll determine a specified timeframe for the system to wet out the applicator, ensuring it’s ready for the next application.”

Designetics provides the docking station as a standard accessory with both the Handheld Remote and Applicator Track, or it can be ordered individually.

PRECISION AIR COMPLIANCE

Maintaining constant pressure between the fluid applicator and the substrate is important for consistent fluid application. Incorrect pressure or increased friction can cause applicator damage and impact quality. Any time an applicator changes position – as a result of part deviations, for example – the pressure level between the applicator and substrate will vary.

Think of you and a friend drawing a line with brand new felt tip markers. If your friend were pushing down as hard as possible while you simply used normal writing pressure, your friend’s marker would wear out much faster.

The Designetics Precision Air Compliance is an end-of-arm tool that can be used on a robot or stationary machine to maintain constant pressure between the applicator and substrate, regardless of deviations in the applicator’s position. Two air regulators are set with a pressure differential to create a downward force on the applicator, while a float ensures the applicator “rides along” any variations in the substrate. This combination keeps fluid delivery consistent and reliable.

Whether your fluid application process is manual, semi-automated or fully automated, Designetics creates a system that can maximize efficiency and reduce downtime. Reach out to us today.

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Of course, you can email us: sales@designetics.com