Benefits of Automated Dispensing
Paints and Coatings
I. True “touchless manufacturing” reduces manufacturing steps.
The touchless manufacturing concept is being adopted by a number of international paint manufacturers and is considered a major change to the way batches of paint have been traditionally manufactured. In the past, the trend had been to make one large batch of paint, complete quality control testing, etc. and then take it to a special pot-off area where the batch was split into smaller containers for shipping. With the aid of high speed and repeatable accuracy of gravimetric dispensing systems, it is possible to dispense batches in to the finished shipping container quickly and efficiently with a high degree of accuracy. The efficiency gains can be enormous as everything is done in one step as opposed to multiple stages.
II. Reduced labour requirement to achieve a shippable product.
By automating the batching process direct labour can be reduced significantly. An automated dispenser only requires the operator to select the batch wanted from a pre-planned production schedule, place the container on the scale and press the start button. The dispenser takes over and the individual ingredients are added as per the formulation. Once the system finishes the batch the operator can return, remove the finished container and start the next batch.
III. Batch to batch dispensing consistency.
Our proprietary dispensing software is designed to offer the highest degree of accuracy possible, batch after batch. This is accomplished by integrating our advanced dispensing software with high accuracy weigh scales and our own patented dispense valves.
IV. Reduces quality control checks.
Every batch of product produced by a Novaflow system is supported by a printable batch label. The batch label clearly indicates the requested ingredient weights and the actual +/-dispense accuracy, so you know exactly what went into each batch. Therefore, when producing multiple batches of the same product, many customers will conduct a quality control check on the first and last batches only.
V. Scalable batch sizes.
Our dispensing systems can be designed to accommodate a wide range of batch sizes without compromising dispensing accuracies. Many of our clients utilize our systems to manufacture batches ranging from 1 quart to a 12,000 pound batch using one dispense head. Dispense accuracies can be as high as +/- 0.1 gram.
VI. Reduced calibration requirements versus volumetric.
One of the key benefits of the gravimetric process, unlike volumetric systems, is the fact that calibration requirements are eliminated with the exception of a regular scale calibration. Gravimetric dispensers weigh each ingredient separately and record all usages. In addition, the Novaflow dispensing software has the benefit of having a “self learning” feature. Simply put, the systems learn to become faster and more precise at the same time, thus always improving the results.
VII. Eliminates human weighing errors.
It is a known fact that machines, if set up properly, outperform humans in speed and accuracy. One of the biggest problems with manual batching processes is that weighing errors, in many cases, go unnoticed until the product is subjected to quality control testing or is used by the client. This issue costs companies time and money. The Novaflow dispensing software is designed to monitor itself and report each dispense result on a batch ticket. This allows for simple and effective auditing.
VIII. Corporate interfaces to existing ERP and MRP systems.
One of Novaflow’s key benefits is that we write and support our own software. Our philosophy of taking ownership for this allows us to develop customized programming for clients when required. One of the most popular methods of operating our systems is to create interfaces with manufacturers’ existing ERP and MRP systems and have our dispenser act as a slave to the corporate instructions. Our dispensers receive batch manufacturing requests that are initiated from a batch file received from the corporate entity and we simply complete the batch and send back the actual batch results including individual components, etc.
I. Offers true just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing.
The majority of ink manufacturers have developed their technology to manufacture their finished inks using a series of high strength color bases in conjunction with specific technology. Our dispensing systems have allowed ink manufacturers to simplify their business by moving the manufacturing of the finished inks to the printers, which streamlines the supply chain and allows for true JIT manufacture.
II. Greater press ready colour consistency.
The use of dispensing technology has also provided printers with the ability to make ink on demand and only manufacture enough to initiate a job. Once colors are confirmed, and if necessary, adjusted, they can simply make the same formulations over and over again to meet their demands.
III. Reduces returns and work off inventory.
When managed properly, the printer will manufacture inks on demand and only as much as required. As jobs come closer to finishing the trend is now to make small quantities to keep the sumps topped up. The benefit is lower finished ink inventories.
IV. Easy and effective re-work of redundant and slow moving inventory is now possible.
Novaflow offers a material re-work or work off software program which allows individuals with little or no experience in inks to work off redundant and/or slow moving inventory. The operator simply selects the formulation to make and asks the computer to search the existing inventory database to see what can be used. It will then offer all possible items. The operator selects individual or multiple items as formulations allow and asks the computer to re-formulate the ink. The end result is that inventories can be easily controlled by anyone.
V. Enterprise based SQL database – “web enabled” software allows for central database control.
The next step in the natural progression of automated dispensing is to develop a single materials and formulation database which can be managed by the corporate entity and distributed to remote sites as required. New formulations or changes to existing items can be seamlessly made over a secure communications line.
VI. Spectrophotometer interfaces.
A large number of printers are using spectrophotometers for quality controlling and, in some cases, manufacturing ink formulations using match prediction capabilities. Novaflow has existing interfaces with a wide range of spectros.
VII. VOC and HAPS tracking and reporting.
Novaflow’s Materials Management Software (MMS) is used by many clients to track and report both VOC and HAPS requirements.
VIII. Complete quality system tracking and reporting.
We have designed a batch tracking and reporting system that has been designed to comply with the highest quality system requirements.