Infrared Curing Methods
There are two types of infrared (IR) drying technology — electric and gas — that provide an opportunity to reduce cycle time and increase overall throughput by quickly curing filler and coatings. The basic differences between gas and electric IR dryers are the size of the IR wavelengths they produce and the way the systems generate energy, which result in different throughput times and quality results when used correctly.
REVO Accelerated Curing Systems
REVO Accelerated Curing Systems from Global Finishing Solutions (GFS) use short wave electric IR, which cures filler and coatings quickly from the inside out. Short wave electric IR penetrates directly to the underlying substrate and then directs heat outward — delivering consistent, controlled heat to each layer of the filler or coating. The heat is absorbed by the panel — it does not pass through the vehicle and cause temperatures to rise inside the vehicle. From start to finish, the entire refinish process takes between 15 to 30 minutes.
Although REVO Systems primarily produce short wave, they also produce some medium waves. Together this creates an even, complete cure for up to three layers with just one pass, without skinning or solvent popping the top layer.
Short wave electric IR units reach curing temperature instantly and are ready to cure a repair immediately, saving time and energy. They also cool down quickly, so the units can be turned on only when needed and are safe to handle shortly after shutdown. Electric IR uses only the electrical power supplied in the shop and does not rely on a catalytic chemical reaction, as gas dryers do.
Gas Catalytic Dryers
Gas catalytic dryers rely on natural gas and a catalyst to create the reaction that cures paint. In gas units, the catalytic reaction happens only after they are preheated to a certain temperature — a process that takes 10 minutes or more. To prevent time lost to warm-up, gas catalytic units are typically left on all day, consuming a large amount of energy.
The reaction that occurs in gas units produces mostly long IR wavelengths, which are typically responsible for solvent popping and die-back issues in the top layer. Since the longer wavelengths do not penetrate through the coating, the surface of the coating dries before the coating closest to the substrate, trapping solvents inside. This is a major issue when curing thicker coatings, such as primer or clear coat. Body filler is also finicky with long wave systems. As a result, gas catalytic IR dryers require multiple passes over each layer being cured, while short wave electric IR cures up to three layers with one pass.
Throughput Gains from Short Wave Electric IR Curing Systems
Short wave electric infrared curing systems can increase your paint shop throughput by up to 80 percent, and use less energy in the process. For example, when using REVO Speed, a technician can complete up to six repairs in one hour, and the unit only consumes $2.52 of electricity. Curing time for both prep and paint phases of repair is reduced by hours, freeing technicians to complete additional repairs.
Short wave electric IR brings multiple layers of paint to curing temperature within seconds. The panel is completely cured in less time than it takes to preheat gas catalytic units. Not having to cure each layer individually — and preheat the gas system each time — leads to significant throughput gains for shops using short wave electric infrared curing technology.
There is also no need to sacrifice quality for speed. The fast dry time and complete cure from short wave electric IR technology delivers high-quality results that reduce the need for rework, while using your regular paint materials — no accelerators or express clears needed.
Mulroy’s Body Shop, a Minneapolis-based body shop, had a gas-powered IR system prior to purchasing a REVO-integrated paint booth. When comparing the two different systems, Pat Mulroy, the owner of the shop, identified advantages in service, maintenance and throughput with REVO Systems.
“REVO Systems have the added benefits of less maintenance, more convenient access to parts and lower energy costs than gas alternatives,” according to Pat. “In addition to the energy savings, my painters, customers and insurance companies alike are impressed by the increased throughput with our new GFS Ultra XR Paint Booth and REVO Speed.”
Short wave electric IR technology is transforming collision repair shops across the globe. By offering a faster, more complete and predictable cure, REVO Systems from GFS offer significant energy savings and can eliminate a number of issues that are common in many body shops and collision repair centers that can slow the drying and rework process. It is more reliable, safer and faster than gas systems.
Total Vehicle Repair Time
|REVO (Speed)||Gas Catalytic||Traditional Convection|
|Warm Up||Seconds||8-15 min||8-15 min|
|Body Filler Application||1-2 min||1-2 min||1-2 min|
|Body Filler Drying*||1-2 min||5-10 min||15-20 min|
|Body Filler Sanding||7-15 min||7-15 min||7-15 min|
|Masking||15-20 min||15-20 min||15-20 min|
|Primer Application||15-20 min||15-20 min||15-20 min|
|Primer Drying**||6-8 min||15-30 min||1.5-2 hours|
|Primer Sanding||7-15 min||7-15 min||7-15 min|
|Masking||7-15 min||7-15 min||7-15 min|
|Water Based Application||3-30 min||3-30 min||3-30 min|
|(Wet on Wet)||3-5 min||3-5 min||3-5 min|
|(Coat Dry)||20-30 min||20-30 min||20-30 min|
|Water Based Drying||1-3 min||3-5 min||15-20 min|
|Clearcoat Application||5-10 min||5-10 min||5-10 min|
|Clearcoat Drying (2-panel job)***||5-6 min||15-30 min||25-30 min|
|Time Before Polishing (Cool Down)||Immediate||1 hour||1 day|
|Polishing||5-10 min||5-10 min||5-10 min|
|TOTAL||86-161 min||179-292 min||226-347 min (+1 day)|
*Gas catalytic systems must be preheated to a very high temperature to function. This temperature is well above the boiling temperature of the chemicals used in body filler which can result in severe pin-holing, bubbling, or other failures within the body filler. Extreme care and caution must be used.
**REVO can cure 3 coats of primer in 6-9 minutes; gas catalytic needs to dry after each coat (~5 minutes each)
***Clearcoat is cured after one pass with the REVO Speed. With gas catalytic, it takes 5-10 minutes per pass, and requires 2-3 passes.