Maintain or reinvest in a corona treater? What's a converter to do?

Can you afford to maintain your old surface treater?

Your organization has probably seen its share of recent downsizing. And your resources are spread about as thin as can be. As you look to do more with less it can be a difficult time to justify an investment in new equipment. But how much is that old equipment really costing you? And how smart are you when it comes time to make repairs?

Consider the cost of downtime. What does it cost you to have your production line down for 1 hour? How about for 8 hours? The dollars add up in a hurry.

Well you're not alone. Many companies are trying to be more self-reliant with less staff and older equipment. In fact, Enercon's service department helps companies like yours out of jams on a regular basis. Our service team is receiving more calls than usual as more companies are trying to "get-by" with older systems.

We recently had a customer ask us why his treater would be operating intermittently. (The most difficult problems to solve are ones that aren't consistent.) It turns out that the customer had replaced some old parts, and in the process disconnected some of the system's electrical wiring.

When they reattached the wires they failed to firmly attach the wires and unknowingly allowed the high voltage wire to rest in a position that resulted in severe arcing.

Enercon Resources

Fortunately Enercon customers have significant resources available to them to avoid these situations. You can visit our website for troubleshooting information or talk to a service expert who can often solve a problem over a phone line. We've maintained our incredible depth of service resources while many of our own customers have been downsizing.

Here's a quick tip you should definitely use. Buy yourself a digital camera. For $200 you can buy one of reasonable quality. The next time you have a problem take a photo and e-mail it to your supplier. A picture truly is worth a thousand words.

To buy or reinvest?

Sooner or later you'll have to make that tough decision on your aging treater. Should you put more money into it or look at an investment in a new one? Should your team tackle the problem or should you call in the experts?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Can your team handle the repair work?
  • Does your team have time to do the work?
  • Will a new treater allow you to run faster?
  • Will a new treater allow you to run a wider range of substrates?
"Your old treater may have originally been manufactured for a different application... ...a new treater specifically designed for your application can improve productivity"

Signs you need a replacement

Let's start with an obvious one; if your power supply is too old to get parts for it, it's time to replace it. If you can hear your power supply running it means it's time to replace it. If the wires in your power supply are hand wired, it's time to replace it.

If you're experiencing repeated component failures it might be time to replace the system. If you can't get the same dyne level you once could, it might be time to replace the system.

That last one brings up an interesting point. It's entirely possible that the treater you're using was originally manufactured for a different application. In fact, you might not even be running the original substrate any more. In this case a new treater specifically designed for your application can improve productivity.

Used or new

Of course a new treater doesn't have to be brand new, just new to you. But finding a bargain is risky. Customers will call to ask about treaters they've found on the internet and in many cases the systems are outdated and usually sold "as is."

If you are considering a replacement system be sure to define the scope of your application. Our talented engineering team can prepare a proposal for your specific requirements. I think you might be surprised at how affordable a new treater can be when it is custom designed just for you.

As always we provide honest advice for free, so please call us the next time you're considering a new or used piece of equipment. We'll offer our opinion and any historical information we might have on the system you're looking at. We can also provide a competitive proposal so you can accurately compare the cost of a new system.

Tom Gilbertson, VP of Application Engineering for Enercon surface treating