All paint finishes are not the same… it’s what you cannot see that is vital for ensuring durability. Witter Towbars has one of the most advanced fully automated continuous paint line processes in the UK towbar industry.
High Quality Steel
Any steel when delivered directly from a rolling mill has a ‘mill scale’ coating which is created in the production process of the steel. Further contaminants on the raw steel towbars are created from the laser cutting and weld process, together with natural contaminants and deterioration from the air. These contaminants must be removed if the paint finish is to provide adequate protection.
Unique Cleaning Process
Witter Towbars is (at the time of writing) unique in the UK by having an inline shot blast machine that is integrated into the automated paint line facility. Towbars are loaded onto a continuous track that passes through the inline shot blast machine, where almost two tonnes of shot are propelled at the bare steel from eight high speed blasting wheels at a velocity of 80 metres per second. Each towbar passes through an ‘Air-Blade’ which clears residual shot and dust from the Witter Towbars.
The machine, which is the size of a small house, cleans thoroughly any trace of mill scale and contaminant from the steel surface. The ‘clean’ towbars are now very vulnerable and would contaminate quickly in the atmosphere if not immediately treated. Steel that has been thoroughly cleaned of all surface contaminants can start to rust within a few minutes in the UK atmosphere. This is the big advantage of having a shot blast machine integrated into the continuous paint line facility as we can immediately treat the bare steel.
5 Stage Protective Finish
After leaving the shot blast machine the Witter towbars and components immediately pass into and through an automated electrostatic powder coat spray booth, four automated spray guns apply a uniform coat of zinc enriched thermo setting epoxy primer directly onto the uncontaminated bare steel Witter Towbars and components to ensure effective coverage and adhesion.
The Witter Towbar continues its journey into a pre-heat oven at 170 degrees Celsius to partially cure the primer powder into a tacky gel like substance.
The second automated electrostatic powder coat spray booth has four automatic oscillating guns that apply a very durable automotive specification epoxy polyester powder coat finish which adheres to the partially cured primer coat.
The Witter towbar’s journey continues through a 30 metre full curing oven at temperatures exceeding 220 degrees Celsius. The Witter towbars are allowed to cool naturally on the line which provides a flexible and durable property to the finish. Following a final automated cooling unit the towbars are safe to be manually removed from the line and racked onto special portable carriers for immediate packing.
The powder coating provides a robust and long lasting protective finish to the towbar. You can have confidence that the paint finish is built upon layers of technology designed to meet the arduous conditions experienced during its lifetime of towing.
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