E3 Beaters powder coating

Manufacturing process for powder coatings at Karl Bubenhofer AG

E3 beaters: Small beaters with huge impact

Hosokawa Alpine ACM classifier mills are being constantly improved to make material handling even more gentle and to reduce energy consumption even more. The latest development are beaters with the distinctive name "E3 Beaters".

E3 stands for economical and energy-efficient grinding. The beaters are used in the powder coating industry to achieve high throughput rates. These E3 beaters were employed at Karl Bubenhofer AG for the first time – with great success.

It was important for us during development to optimise the current technology so that it can be installed in existing mills
without any lengthy assembly times. This means that the system is fully operational again within a very short space of time.

Tobias Fuchs, Senior R&D Manager at Hosokawa Alpine

Regardless of whether the branch is the automotive industry, metal coatings or outer facades and furniture: powder coatings have manifold uses in industry. The Hosokawa Alpine ACM classifier mill is ideally suitable for the grinding of powder coating chips produced by means of mixing, extrusion and initial crushing in a preliminary process. The ongoing adaptation of the individual components to changing market requirements ensures that the mill is always at the cutting edge of technology.

The latest development: improved beaters on the beater discs which can be retrofitted at any time. "It was important for us during development to optimise the current technology so that it can be installed in existing mills without any lengthy assembly times. This means that the system is fully operational again within a very short space of time", explains Tobias Fuchs, Senior R&D Manager at Hosokawa Alpine.

R&D tailored to the requirements of our customers

Development of the E3 beaters was matched especially to the requirements of the powder coating industries. The demands of our customers were clear: the new beaters must minimise the undesired fines portion and ensure an increased throughput as well as a reduction of the batch times. Over and above this, the new solution has to be easy to clean and suitable for retrofitting in existing systems.

As a partner, Hosokawa Alpine chose a long-standing customer who already has ACM classifier mills in operation. Karl Bubenhofer AG is a Swiss family-owned business which can look back on more than 110 years of experience in the production of paints. Products for the fields of building paints, plaster, industrial paints and powder coatings are researched and developed at the headquarters in Gossau. For the grinding of powder coating chips, Karl Bubenhofer AG currently has a total of twelve Hosokawa Alpine ACM classifier mills in operation at four powder coating plants, more are already in the planning stage and will follow. The successful cooperation exists since 1987.

An old system back to 1990 which was due to be replaced provided the motivation for application of the new beaters. "Preliminary tests convinced us that the mill could be re-activated by retrofitting it with the new E3 beaters", explains Thomas Gächter, Arnegg plant manager at Karl Bubenhofer AG. In order to make the new solution as attractive as possible for all customers, there was constant coordination between the R&D team and the customer.

High throughput, low energy consumption

Powder coating chips are an intermediate product of the manufacturing process for powder coatings. For the grinding process, these chips constitute the base material. The powder coating chips are dosed by a rotary valve and are fed pneumatically to the grinding chamber of the ACM classifier mill. Inside the chamber the rotating grinding disc is equipped with the new E3 beaters, and this ensures a more efficient grinding process at a lower energy requirement. In combination with the air-cooled liner, a heat exchanger in the air suction line ensures a low product temperature during the grinding.

The system is thus optimally equipped for tough materials that are difficult to grind and which moreover are greasy. From the mill classifier, the powder is pulled through a cyclone collector and drops into a safety screener for final packing. The ultrafines which develop are collected in the downstream filter for disposal or recycling.

Retrofitting is the path to success

Installation of grinding discs fitted with E3 beaters is simple, fast and uncomplicated and no changes to other components are necessary. The influence of the new beaters is considerable: the ACM classifier mill can achieve up to 30 percent more throughput, which reduces not only the batch times but also the specific energy consumption.

Another advantage for the customer: the application range of the machines can be increased and valuable time saved because only seldom is it necessary to change between grinding discs equipped with hammers or pins. Hosokawa Alpine can be very satisfied with the development result: "It was especially important for us to create an added value for the system user and we are glad that a long-standing customer supported us along the way – only then is real innovation possible", says Thomas Anlauf, Senior Sales Manager at Hosokawa Alpine.


Exceeded expectations

Karl Bubenhofer AG is also convinced with the result and is currently optimising all the existing systems by retrofitting the E3 beaters, as Thomas Gächter explains: "The tests with the E3 beaters and the excellent cooperation with Hosokawa Alpine have really paid off. With the completely renovated system and as a result of the E3 beaters, we are able to achieve a hitherto unattained performance of up to 1200 kilos throughput per hour, and this significantly exceeds our expectations. At the same time, the feed product is less prone to coating formation, which makes cleaning a lot easier". Two new systems equipped with the new beater unit were ordered straight away in order to ensure a future-oriented production.

The investment for retrofitting amortises within one year

The exchange of the old grinding disc for a new one fitted with E3 beaters is simple and guarantees uncomplicated retrofitting. The system is fully operational within a very short downtime of the system.
Retrofitting can take place on site or by a Hosokawa Alpine expert – dependent on customer requirements. The retrofitting costs of the E3 beaters amortise within one year – an investment which really pays off in the long run.

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