Case Studies

Magnetic Masking

Magnetic Masking Saves Time and Money for Powder Coating Company

In this era of belt-tightening and cost removal, any effort to save time and money in the manufacturing process is welcomed. If that effort reduces waste disposal concerns, then so much the better. Those are some of the tangible benefits that Advanced Finishing achieved when they switched from using masking tape to magnetic shielding for their parts to be powder coated.

This Fairview, PA company eliminated the time that was formerly spent taping each part and then removing the tape after curing of the electrostatically charged particles. Applying a magnetic mask saves the company an average of 30-seconds per part – which compounds significantly on production runs that range from hundreds to a thousand parts or more. Assuming a run size of 2,000 parts per month at standard labor rates, Advanced Finishing’s President and Owner Greg Yahn estimates a cost savings of 20% per part when magnets are used. Another significant benefit to using magnets is that they are reusable. Yahn figures that they can be used “30-40 times” which eliminates a lot of waste tape (and its inherent disposal concerns).

The high-energy Plastalloy magnets are purchased as sheet stock from magnet manufacturer Electrodyne. Sheets (which are available as large as 9” wide by 100 feet long) allow Advanced Finishing employees to cut the magnets to particular sizes to suit the production run.

The magnets are applied before the parts are coated, and removed afterwards but before curing, so they can be cleaned with a blow-off nozzle on a compressed air line. The durable magnets can be bent, twisted and flexed without the loss of magnetic energy. Lead free Plastalloy™ is ROHS and EN71 compliant, making it ideal for environmentally sensitive applications.

Although nonferrous parts and some others still lend themselves to the use of traditional tape, Yahn is grateful for the “serendipity effect” that he’s gotten from the use of magnets. “It has opened our eyes to what can be done with a material that we had not considered before. After our initial success, we’re thinking of magnets in a whole new way.” One such way has Yahn considering a new product line with decorative magnets which look like wood.

Aside from the new product introductions that Advanced Finishing is pursuing, the use of magnets for masking ferrous parts yields noticeable bottom line effects. Reduced labor input resulting in lower costs-per-part are tangible benefits, as are reduced disposal fees. Softer benefits of improved product quality and appearance are harder to quantify, but important nonetheless. All are important as manufacturers strive to sharpen their production efficiencies and customer satisfaction to give them an edge in the marketplace.