Melting powder consolidating
They gathered data on the volume of waste generated, how much was reused, how much was disposed of, and how much was recycled.The group also gathered material safety data sheets (MSDS) for each powder coat paint type used and the price paid for the virgin powder coat.Some interesting data was generated: Once this collected data became available, several facts became evident.Powder coat is used in large quantities, and it is expensive.The consortium, a spinoff effort of the Green Manufacturing Initiative (GMI) at Western Michigan University, sought to identify common environmental projects among their manufacturing members.A partnership formed among those manufacturers, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC), Western Michigan University’s Manufacturing Engineering Research Center, and Sustainable Research Group to create a Waste Powder Coat User Group.
The group’s hope was to find a regional solution, if possible, for the waste to be used as a raw material for a local company.
An unintended consequence of meeting market demand for shorter production runs of more and varied colors is the mounting volume and cost of disposing of the resulting waste powder coat.
To accommodate the short runs, manufacturers can order virgin powder coat in smaller containers—typically 20-pound corrugated boxes with plastic liners.
When just one powder coat color is used, it can be collected and reused. Eventually demand in certain sectors such as the commercial office furniture industry changed, and customers started requesting more small production runs of custom colors.
These new market demands require manufacturers to stop and start the powder coating process to make all of the necessary color changes.