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Delta Process Systems Ltd – at the forefront of paint and powder finishing for 35 years

How have the nature and main industry sectors/products of Delta’s customers changed?

The main industries have constantly changed for Delta, the major change being the move in to automotive and robotic facilities. The automotive and tier one markets are the areas that have moved on dramatically, with the need to provide product quickly and efficiently that is of the highest possible finish and with a very high ‘first-time-right’ requirement. For this reason, we have found this sector the one that we have undertaken the most work for in recent times.

Dave Meller, founding director of the company, with nearly 50 years in the finishing industry, gives Surface World his informed insight into how the industry has evolved over that time . . .

What are the fundamental changes in the paint and powder coating finishing sector since you started Delta Process Systems some 35 years ago?

It is disappointing how little it has changed when you look at other industries. Some would even argue that the drive for lower and lower pricing has lead to the quality of manufacture going backwards in small to medium sized facilities. I personally believe that you cannot get away with this approach as it leads to facilities that will simply not last the test of time.

Yes, certain areas like visual aspects, paint, controls and automation have clearly improved with greater control, efficiency and flexibility, but again we do not seem to grasp the full potential of this because of one eye always being on cost.

The other area that has improved dramatically is the application of powder with efficiencies and colour changes that were only dreams when I first came in to this industry.

For a time we did very little in this sector as customers were willing to spend money on the application/recovery plant but not on the pretreatment, ovens etc. This has recently started to change and customers are specifying facilities that require greater quality, reduced running costs and improved flexibility. Delta has recently installed a number of new powder coating plants that have proven to meet these elements – especially the running costs that have ended up lower than even I expected.

How have the equipment and technologies involved over the last 35 years?

As I mentioned earlier, the development of powder application and recovery has been very significant. The other area is the improvement in controls and the accessibility of robots at affordable prices. I do believe that robot spraying is going to continue to grow in the UK, along with the drive for more and more energy efficient plants. It is as much as anything about people understanding what is possible and how their paint shops could benefit.

4 SURFACE WORLD december 2013

How have the technologies evolved over the years and what has been their impact on product finishing and industry generally?

The improvements in application and plant design have all been driven up till now by the need for guaranteed higher quality finishes. It is a simple fact that a lot of what we purchase these days has the most fantastic finish. Getting this finish is not easy and the application methods and plant designs have had to improve to make this possible.

Specifically, what is the impact that automation and robots have made in terms of productivity and convenience?

“I’m not sure that convenience is the right word. Yes the quality of finish is far more predictable and guaranteed with automatic facilities. However the real impact of automating the application system is the productivity combined with quality. We have plants producing the highest quality finishes 24/7, with first time right in excess of 90%. Levels that were simply not possible 35 years ago.”

How do you view the impact on the finishing sector of tighter environmental legislation?

When the EPA first came out we all thought that dry filter booths would disappear and that by now most of the coatings would be either powder or water based. Yes powder and water based coatings have improved, but certainly not to the extent that I thought it would. This could be partly due to the higher quality finishes now required.

With regard to spraybooths, the drive for lower prices has actually seen the dry filter spraybooth become more common even though it does not in general protect the environment as well as waterwash. This drive for dry filter spraybooths has been helped by the improvement in transfer efficiencies of sprayguns but we all know that if you look in a dry filter chamber you will see lots of dry paint.

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