Innovative body drying from the inside
Bietigheim-Bissingen, September 2017 – EcoInCure is a new body drying process developed by Dürr which heats and cools car bodies from the inside. This technology meets all drying requirements, including those of electric vehicles with partly increased material thickness or those of new material combinations. The transverse mode of operation is the first of its kind and the key factor for a compact system design. EcoInCure is only half the length of conventional ovens. The new heating concept also reduces power consumption by 25 percent.
The conduction of the air flow with EcoInCure is the key to the best possible top coat appearance and maximum process reliability. Nozzles with long throw distances are aimed into the inside of the body through the opening for the windshield and heat it up from the inside out. This guarantees extremely even heating and cooling conditions for the entire body. Thermal component stresses are reduced, and the heating times for the body are reduced by up to 30 percent.
This new body drying method offers a particular advantage for the increasing number of electric vehicles. Among other things, these need well-reinforced rocker panels to protect the batteries in the event of a side impact. The EcoInCure principle, where bodies are heated from the inside, works especially well when drying these rocker panels with their increased material thickness. The same goes for future vehicle generations with new materials and material combinations in conjunction with new joining methods. Here, specifically, the reduced thermal component stresses achieved by the new drying method ensure increased process reliability.
On the outer skin EcoInCure allows for minimal flow velocities, which greatly improves the appearance and distribution of the top coat. EcoInCure enables efficient drying of different body types since the temperature and volumetric flows can be adapted individually. Custom heating and cooling processes can be defined for each body. This is made possible by the cyclic mode of operation of EcoInCure and the option to assign a separate unit to each module.
25 percent less energy needed
A new feature in EcoInCure is the heating concept based around a central heat exchanger. Instead of the local heat exchangers in the circulating air units, centrally heated circulating air heating gas is fed to each zone. This type of air circulation is highly variable and more precise, reduces the pressure losses, and accordingly the total electrical energy requirement of EcoInCure by 25 percent.
The new system design, with bodies passing through transversely, permits an extremely space-saving layout: it halves the dryer length of EcoInCure compared with conventional dryers. In addition, integration of the recirculating air units on the same level means that less steel structure is needed. As a result, body drying in new paint shops as well as modifications in existing paint shops is much more space-efficient and thus also more variable with respect to capacity reserves.
Each body gets an individual, software-supported quality certificate for the entire drying process. It accurately tracks the drying conditions both during drying of the paint as well as during bake-hardening of the steel and aluminum for the purpose of crash safety. The data is acquired and evaluated using the software solution iTAC.IoT.Suite. This new generation of production control systems from Dürr, permits continuous digital tracking of the drying conditions for each body.