Mitras Calls on Sedco & Carlisle Fluid Technologies for Advanced Paint-Shop Automation Project
Making the step up from a manual spray shop to a fully automated system can seem daunting. But with the right system products in place as well as the experience of an established installer, the savings and efficiency gains of upgrading to robot automation can quickly be realised.
Mitras Automotive (UK) Ltd is a composites component manufacturer based in Winsford, Cheshire in the North West of the UK. The company supplies a wide range of moulded components for manufacturers in multiple industrial sectors. Their clientele includes famous names such as JCB, Caterpillar, New Holland and DAF trucks. Typical products produced by Mitras include composite components for construction machinery, automotive and commercial vehicle parts such as mud guards and tractor bonnets as well as more diverse items like domestic doors and moulded components.
In 2012, due to strong growth in customers and orders, Mitras announced a major investment and modernisation program. Part of this was the acquisition of a new building (Mitras 2) close to their existing facility and the commissioning of a multi-million pound, automotive quality, paint plant with 4 robot spray booths and an automated conveyor system.
One of four Mitras robots outfitted with a DeVilbiss AGMD Pro automatic spray gun
The new plant came on-line at the end of 2014. It immediately and significantly increased the paint spraying capacity of the company, to a point where they are now able to provide their automotive quality finishing to existing and new customers and thus increase the range of products they can spray, over and above the requirements of their core component manufacturing.
The task of specifying and installing the fluid handling and spraying equipment for Mitras, was won by Sedco, a long standing Carlisle Fluid Technologies’ System Partner, based in Leigh on the outskirts of Manchester. Sedco’s Managing Director, Tony Riley, talks about the project: “we have been supplying Mitras with their paint spraying equipment for quite some time and when they informed us about their proposed investment program, we realised that it was going to be a huge project. We have installed automated systems like this for many other customers, so we already knew the best equipment for this project, from the paint distribution system and two component mixing and metering systems to the end spray application. The DeVilbiss, Ransburg and Binks products manufactured and supplied by Carlisle Fluid Technologies, fitted the requirements perfectly.”
Because of the varied nature of the work that Mitras handles, and the iconic colours they spray for their very well-known customers, the system needs to be able to handle a large number of colours and paint types.
Part of the new paint kitchen for Mitras' automated spray line
The main paint kitchen has 12 separate colour mixing vessels and the paint is taken from these and fed to the robots by 12 Binks Maple horizontal paint circulating pumps. But at the heart of the whole system, and controlling the flow and delivery of the different colours to the spray heads, are four Ransburg Dynaflow controllers, one for each Robot.
One of the four Ransburg DynaFlows installed at Mitras
Tony explains: “The Dynaflow is a good piece of kit with a very easy to use interface. At Mitras they are used to control a number of colours, such as the famous JCB Yellow, but can switch seamlessly to supply a different colour for a different job. The paints they use are high solid 2 pack materials, so the 2k mixing and metering capabilities of the Dynaflow are extremely useful. The Dynaflow doesn’t just mix the two component material but also provides ‘Closed Loop’ fluid control allowing accurate flow rates to be guaranteed to the Robot spray guns when needed.”
At the spray head, the ABB Robots are equipped with the high end DeVilbiss AGMD Pro automatic spray guns mounted on specialist robot adapters. The spray quality and transfer efficiency of the AGMD Pro is widely recognised as the best in the business and uses “Certified” High Transfer Efficiency air caps to ensure repeatability at the spray head.
DeVilbiss AGMD Pro with mounting on a new Mitras robot
The new paint plant took two years to install and commission, but now that the installation is complete, Mitras have a modern and efficient, automated spray system to take the company into the future. The extra capacity within their new system means that new items are being seen on the conveyor. In addition to the moulded composite products they produce in-house, new items such as a range of locally produced exterior doors are also being coated at the facility.
In fact, the new plant is such a success that the company has now installed a further 18 Maple Pumps and mixing vessels together with an additional Dynaflow mixing and metering system to control a further four spray guns.
Tony confirmed this: “the new system is working well and Mitras obviously like the CFT system products, having just installed a significant number of new Binks Maple pumps as well as some extra fluid handling equipment including Back Pressure Regulators and Filters. I think we are going to be busy with Mitras for quite some time to come.”