Paint ovens (also known as coating process ovens) are frequently used in the automotive manufacturing industry to ensure that various coatings applied to vehicle bodies properly dry or cure. The drying or curing process typically requires a certain temperature level to be reached and held for a specified amount of time in order to ensure a quality surface finish. The vehicle paint is a primary perceived indicator of quality and affects the durability and corrosion resistance of the vehicle, so ensuring this process meets specifications is a key concern.
The heat transfer within a paint oven is a complex process: there are often multiple zones within the oven with different modes of primary heat transfer (radiant or convective), and the vehicle body is a complex assembly containing components of different thicknesses and materials that transfer heat differently. Furthermore, the proximity of a given component to the heat sources as well as its connection to other components will change its heating profile.
Designing an oven process that provides a consistent high quality finished surface under these complex constraints can be a difficult process. Finding and fixing problems at the pre-production or production phase often requires multiple measurements and multiple trials of the oven process which can come at a very high cost. Thermal simulation can predict the temperature distribution throughout the oven and vehicle body at a much lower cost , and allow for optimization and a detailed understanding of the heat transfer that is unattainable through measurement. ThermoAnalytics can accurately model all modes of heat transfer in addition to simulating the transient process efficiently using TAITherm and our custom scripting methods.