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A carbon infrared heating system from Heraeus Noblelight has allowed Smith & Mclaurin to more than double line speed on one of its paper coating lines, while improving quality by eliminating uneven adhesive substrate patterns with coloured adhesive. The system was easily retrofitted at the company’s Renfrewshire factory after on-site tests.

the infra red system at Smith & McLaurin

Smith and McLaurin Ltd is a manufacturer and global supplier of self-adhesive label, ticket and tag materials. Based in Kilbarchan, the company sells material in roll form to printers and converters who produce finished label ticket and tag products.

A particular product finds application where security is important, such as in labels and security envelopes. This product requires a water-based adhesive to be applied to a high-value stock before a laminate is applied to the adhesive. In some cases, the laminated product is re-passed through the adhesive station so that the laminated layer itself carries a layer of surface adhesive.

Previously, the adhesive was dried in a warm air oven but this sometimes caused problems when drying coloured adhesives, with ‘spotting’ or reticulation, which created an uneven and visible adhesive pattern on the substrate. As a result it was necessary to slow down the line to around 20m/min.

In an effort to solve the problem, Smith & McLaurin contacted Heraeus, who supplied a portable infrared module to allow tests to be carried out on site. These proved so successful that a 32.5kW, containing five emitters was installed immediately before the existing warm air heaters. The emitters are individually controlled so that they can be switched on and off according to the coating weight.

Iain McCourty, project engineer at the Renfrewshire site, explained: ‘By using the infra-red heaters to direct an initial burst of energy at the wet adhesive we have been able to eliminate any “spotting”. This has meant that we have been able increase the line speed on the machine from 20 m/min to 50 m/min. It has also meant that we have been able to guarantee quality which has helped to consolidate our relationships with customers.’

Heraeus Noblelight

Heraeus specialises in the production and application of high quality energy sources covering the electro-magnetic spectrum from ultraviolet to infra-red. It has over 40 years experience in infra-red technology and offers the expertise, products and systems to provide efficient and effective solutions to drying, heating and curing problems throughout industry.

Heraeus Noblelight GmbH with its headquarters in Hanau and with subsidiaries in the USA, Great Britain, France and China is one of the technology- and market-leaders in the production of specialty light sources and systems. In 2016, Heraeus Noblelight employed 707 people worldwide. The organization develops, manufactures and markets infrared and ultraviolet emitters, systems and solutions for applications in industrial manufacture, environmental protection, medicine and cosmetics, research, development and analytical measurement techniques.

In the 2016 financial year, Heraeus generated revenues without precious metals of €2.0 bn and a total revenue of €21.5 bn. With approximately 12,400 employees worldwide in more than 100 subsidiaries in 38 countries, Heraeus holds a leading position in its global markets.

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