Fluidan has received a grant from the InnoBooster program to find the best way of using RheoStream in paint production. The Hempel Foundation Coatings Science and Technology Centre (CoaST), part of DTU, will join the project with their paint formulation and processing expertise.

HOW DO YOU MODERNIZE PAINT PRODUCTION?

The modern production of paint is highly automated. Enormous amounts of white paint are being mixed in large tanks to satisfy all the DIY and professional customers worldwide. The quality must be perfect every time. Paint viscosity is very high in the can but gets thinner when you stir it – and even thinner again as it is brushed or rolled on the wall. Consistency is vital because it makes it possible for the paint to fill and cover the wall entirely while thick on the brush, so it does not run and drip.

To get the quality right every time, the paint factory must measure the viscosity profile – is the paint thick enough when it is resting and thin enough when it is applied?

Modern production and automation stop here! Manual work takes over.

An operator takes a paint sample from the large mixer tank and brings it to the Quality Control lab. Here the sample is analyzed by placing it in a viscometer. Time passes while the large tank of paint sits waiting in the factory. The analysis results reveal that up to one-third of paints are either too thick or too thin – they must be corrected, e.g. adding more water.

Again, it takes time while another sample is measured at the lab.

Bottom line: Paint makers dream of a fully automated way of handling viscosity adjustment, so it is right the first time, every time.

RHEOSTREAM FULLY AUTOMATES RHEOLOGICAL MEASUREMENTS

RheoStream is the only in-process instrument to measure the viscosity profile in the factory, fully automated. With RheoStream, it is possible to automate the viscosity adjustment.

RheoStream is an online rheometer that can measure a full viscosity profile of any thick liquid. Once installed in the factory, the viscosity measurements go straight into the factory automation system.

Simple, eh? Yes, but not always quite so. RheoStream is a new technology, and it opens the possibility of optimizing and organizing paint production in new ways. The instrument may be installed on a mixer tank, on a transport pipe, or on a storage tank (“let down tank” in the paint industry). Some paints have a “memory.” After a forceful mixing, the paint remains thin for some minutes, and only after some time, it becomes the thick paint we know from the cans.

Therefore, there are many ways to install RheoStream. More so, RheoStream can be programmed to measure the paint in different ways.

The goal is clear: Full automation of paint production – right the first time, every time.

FLUIDAN, INNOBOOSTER, AND COAST: INNNOVATION THROUGH COLLABORATION

Which is the best way to install RheoStream in a paint factory, and which is the best way to program RheoStream?

Fluidan has received a grant to investigate these questions.

The grant comes from InnoBooster, a program within Innovation Fund Denmark. The project will be supported by The Hempel Foundation Coatings Science and Technology Centre (CoaST), which is part of The Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

CoaST will support the project with its expertise in the formulation of paints with different properties. For instance, with more or less “memory” retention to its previous viscous state (thixotropy). CoaST can also help with other processing paint methods, e.g., different dispersion methods where the pigment powder is mixed with liquids.

Fluidan will compare how well the RheoStream measurements match the final paint quality in different situations and will also take this experience to actual paint factories in Europe, measuring paints with RheoStream in these factories.

The project results will make it possible to realize the full optimization potential of RheoStream in the paint industry. It will speed up the implementation to the benefit of Fluidan – but even more so beneficial to the paint makers around the world.

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