Roll Coating Machines: What You Need to Know
So, you’re interested in roll coating machines and their processes. Don’t worry—if you have questions, we have answers. From how roll coating works to how you execute it, read more to get in the loop!
What are the different types of roll coating?
With gravure coating, we apply resin to an engraved roll coater. Afterward, a blade scrapes the resin off, with the proper amount left behind in the engraved sections (called “cells”). Ultimately, we transfer the remaining resin onto the substrate. This forms a film and leaves the desired pattern or design on the substrate.
Slot Die Coating
Usually, we utilize slot die coating on flat substrates like glass, paper, metal, fabric, or plastic foils. The slot die device has a high aspect ratio outlet, which controls the final amount of solution applied to the substrate. The width of the applied layer is variable, and the roll coating machines involved in this process also control the thickness of the layer, effectively creating thin layers that aren’t accessible through many processes.
Reverse Roll Coating
This process is actually roll to roll coating, and we use it to apply wet coatings. We use two reverse running nips in this system, and the metering roll rotates in contrast to the applicator roll. You’ll see an accurate gap between the two rolls, and this affects the final product.
Flex Bar Coating
Here’s another process to consider—an epoxy coating process, like that of flex bar coating. Although you may have to thin out the coats at times, you won’t have to wait too long for them to dry either way. Thinned coats usually take 24 hours to dry, while un-thinned coats take just six to eight hours to dry.
This process, like some others, is dependent in part on the pressure or web tension involved. You can change these aspects (against a backer roll) to change the coatings.
What companies provide roll coating machines and services?
Here’s the interesting thing about roll coating machines—while it’s possible for you to invest in them on a permanent basis, buying your own machines, it’s not strictly necessary. Keep in mind that while you may currently require roll coating machines, that may not be the case for the long term. This is especially true if your business is on the younger side—you’re still figuring out which processes to prioritize, and perhaps even nailing down the types of products you’ll focus on. So, where do you go from there?
Companies like CTI may be a potential answer for you. While you’ll still have a lot of control over your business and manufacturing procedures, you’ll essentially outsource them to a third party manufacturer. While we handle the manufacturing itself, we’ll still appreciate your involvement with regards to production and formulation.
You’ll find two essential approaches to third party manufacturing, though you may also discover some variations depending on the products involved.
With contract manufacturing, we take over not only the production, but the selection and procurement of raw materials. While you’ll still have involvement in the process, you won’t have to go to the trouble of sourcing those core elements.
However, if you have the materials sourced already or would simply rather control this step yourself, you may prefer toll manufacturing. A toll manufacturer handles the the manufacturing and processing. The fee you pay technically with contract manufacturing covers two elements. While a toll manufacturer is less all-encompassing, we’ll involve you more to a degree.
At the same time, part of the point of outsourcing is that you have flexibility, and can be somewhat more “hands off”. At CTI, we’re happy to work with you—and offer consultations—to ensure your needs are met.
Why should I work with a third party manufacturer?
Above, we covered a few of the reasons why you might prefer a third party manufacturer to manufacturing products in-house. To recap:
- You won’t have to buy permanent equipment or facilities when you outsource.
- You have flexibility, and there isn’t as much of a commitment attached to outsourcing.
- If your processes or products change down the road, you have options.
- You’re not “locked in” to a particular procedure. In fact, you may discover that you can work with the same third party manufacturer through several different processes.
However, third party manufacturing is more than just convenient and flexible. It’s also affordable—not only are you not investing in your own permanent roll coating machines; you’re also avoiding the need for new employees. This is not a system you’re adding to your own company. You’re obtaining these services from another, and that’s typically much more cost-efficient.
Additionally, outsourcing often offers a more predictable timeline, as well as a more smoothly produced result. You don’t have to worry about trial and error—the company you work with has already perfected a process and product, though we can still adapt it for your needs.
While this may seem daunting at first, remember: part of a trustworthy manufacturer’s job is to ensure that you are as informed as possible. Give us a call at 419-924-5566 or contact us here—we’re happy to walk you through not only third party manufacturing, but how roll coating machines work. Learn about your options with us!