How Finishing Line Upgrades Save Time and Reduce Chemical Consumption- Part II

In Part I of Finishing Line Upgrades, we looked at the advantages of retrofitting the pumps, lines, and rotor of a traditional spray line to a more modern solution. While this system offered some savings in chemicals, the main advantage was a savings in time. Some current spray line manufacturers can offer systems that can allow the operator to change colors almost instantly. In fact, an operator could mix up a batch of pigment and run one test piece through the production line to make sure the color for an upcoming production lot is approved without actually interrupting the current production batch. The best feature of this quick color change system is that it can be retrofitted onto a spray line that you already have working in your tannery. The quick color change system would be ideal for a tannery dealing with multiple color changes per day.
So now that we have more time on our hands, let’s use some of it to save money with a system that could greatly reduce the amount of chemicals your spray line consumes.


For many years now spray cabinets have come equipped with economizers and sensors to determine if the individual spray guns mounted on a rotary arm are lined up with the surface of the leather that should be sprayed. The first systems saved tanneries a lot of money, without an economizer the guns were spraying constantly while in motion. Not only was this a waste of chemical, it also caused more work for maintenance staff as the overspray would build up on the conveyor and inside the cabinet. Economizers rely on sensors to determine if the leather surface is lined up with the guns, turning them on and off as leather passes under them on the conveyor. While the resolution of the sensors has improved somewhat, the power of the processors in the PC’s have improved more dramatically over time. Think about how much more power our PC’s, laptops, tablets, watches, cameras, and phones over devices manufactured just a few years ago. This same power is now available to improve the efficiency of your spray line… and not just a line installed 30 years ago. With a modern economizer it is possible to see significant improvement when compared to one installed as little as 4 years ago.
The question that comes to mind is, “How much better could this new system be?”
Think of the evolution of spray line technology in terms of resolution. The higher the resolution, the lower the amount of overspray and the less chemical waste and pigment build-up on the conveyor and inside the spray cabinet. Just how much better? Think of a spray line without an economizer as a black and white television (some of us aren’t even old enough to know how that is significant). Along came the economizer, and like the transition to color television, no one really knew how we lived without it! Do you remember the first time someone told you about HDTV? I remember watching my tube television and thinking that it couldn’t get much better than that. Then I got my first look at a high definition television in the electronics store and was amazed at how much better the resolution could be. That’s how dramatically the latest economizer can improve the resolution of your spray line, making it a must for tanneries with high production volumes. The greater the production, the greater the savings!


So let’s see what kind of improvements you could realize by running through a couple of typical scenarios:

Current Spray line – 8 guns mounted on 8 arms on a 1500 mm working width conveyor working on side leather originally installed in 1970.

  • Potential savings = 28%

Current Spray line – 12 + 12 guns mounted on 12 arms on a 3400 mm working width conveyor working on whole hide garment leather originally installed in 2008.

  • Potential savings = 9%

Of course, how much you could save in time and chemicals depends completely on the age and condition of your current line. There is no doubt that any spray line has the potential to work more efficiently, it’s just a matter of calculating if the savings in time and chemicals would justify the cost of the upgrades. If you would like to see what the potential is for your finishing line and if one or both of the upgrades we discussed makes sense for you, give us a call and one of our technicians would be happy to show you exactly how much you could save.

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By |April 25th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

About the Author:

Steve Gilberg is a Regional Sales Manager at First Source Worldwide. With over 20 years in the leather industry, he’s a reliable source for leather treatment, dyeing, and equipment. His careful approach makes him a superior color matcher. His workspace is usually immaculate…until he finishes his experiments.