Infrared (IR) is a type of radiant heat that uses energy waves in the infrared portion (1 µm 1000 µm) of the electromagnetic spectrum to heat a part surface that is in the "line-of-sight" to the emitter. Conduction then transfers the heat throughout the part. Other types of radiant heat used to a lesser degree in paint systems include the shorter wavelength ultraviolet (UV) as well as magnetic induction.
Depending upon your specific process, product and production rate, IR may be used to dry-off, pre-heat (gel) and / or cure the parts. The advantage of IR in a paint system is the transfer of heat energy directly to the part rather than air. In general, this allows IR to heat parts 3-4 times quicker than convection allowing a smaller physical footprint; an advantage with high a line speed or heavy mass parts. However, IR is not without constraints. The "line-of-sight" issue may be inflexible to a complex or changing part geometry and the high emitter face temperature (500°C to 950°C) can pose a risk of overheating parts if they stop in front of the emitter.
IR is available in electric or gas-fired types and each type has a variety of emitters that vary in terms of efficiency, cost and process applicability. ADAL works with a variety of IR types designed to fit your needs and confirms performance with testing prior to proposing a concept. The most common application includes its use in combination with convection, especially as a retrofit to achieve a higher production rate. When incorporated at the convection zone entrance, IR can shorten the overall cure time and / or provide a "gel" zone to fuse powder before it passes through a high velocity air seal knife.