What is Catalytic IR Drying Technology?

Schubert Catalytic PanelCatalytic IR Explanation

Gas Catalytic Infrared is a flameless infrared technology medium that we use to dry and cure wet product or dry powder coating on a variety of substrates in many different industries.

It is an exothermic chemical process in which gas (natural gas, propane or butane) is converted into energy and long wave IR through precious metals such as platinum and palladium.

It is a totally flameless catalytic process using chemical conversion to catalyse the gas into the energy we then emit in our installations.

Our gas catalytic emitters are safer than many types of electric infra-red with elements that are susceptible to failure. Gas catalytic IR is more effective than electric infrared as the emission spectrum ideally matches the absorption spectrum of organic coatings. More information below.

When working with temperature sensitive substrate (resinous woods and plastics for example) the temperature should remain as low as possible.

We are only able to achieve this with our catalytic infrared technology, relying on the long wave infrared to cure the product and not direct heat as with other drying media.

We have used this technology to dry and fully cure the following liquid finishes:

  • Solvent based (base and top coats – pigmented and clear) High solid AC lacquers.
  • Water borne (stains, base and top coats – pigmented and clear in the wood, plastic, automotive and glass industries)
  • Polyurethanes (single and two pack)
  • Acrylics (wood, plastic and automotive)
  • 2K products.(Automotive and Aerospace)
  • Wax-free polyesters.(Automotive and yacht interiors)
  • Vulcanised rubber held in solvent solutions (printing blanket industry)
  • Etching and weld-able primers (Metal)
  • Intumescent coatings (Structural steel)
  • FP coatings (Internal joinery and doors)
  • Glues and adhesives.

Our gas catalytic infrared heaters will dry and cure almost any wet finish in a fraction of the time that it would take traditional methods at a fraction of the running cost.

The same type of gas catalytic infrared can be used at a much higher output and thermal intensity to flow and cure powder much faster than traditional methods of hot air, at a fraction of the cost.
This technology can be retro-fitted inside some existing powdercoating tunnels.

PDFView The Catalytic Reaction Presentation

View The Electromagnetic Spectrum Document

Catalytic IR FAQ’s

Why use a Schubert gas catalytic infrared system?

Schuberts have vast experience in catalytic infrared, having used it for over 20 years – Experience that counts!
Our catalytic system speeds up the drying and curing process drastically. This means: less work in progress, shorter drying tunnels, smaller footprint plant, little or no maintenance, full ATEX certification on emitters, total flameless heat and of course, full cure!

How safe is catalytic IR?

The catalytic process is totally flameless. It is an intrinsically safe process as there is no live flame involved, the face temperature is below that of solvent or gas combustion anyway and all oxygen at the face of the catalyst is consumed by the process.

We have the following certifications:

  • Factory Mutual (FM) for use in Zone1 and Zone 2 hazardous locations.
  • Ineris European ATEX (EU) certification for explosive atmospheres.

What is the emission wavelength of our gas catalytic heaters?

Our gas catalytic heaters emit medium to long wavelength infrared energy in a range from 2 to 10 µm, continuously adjustable by simply changing the gas pressures. Different materials work with different wavelengths.
What are the maximum and minimum temperatures on the surface of a catalytic heater?

Catalytic heater panels without additional ventilation range between 200 and 450°C (392-842°F). Models with built-in additional ventilation range between 150 and 600°C (302-1112°F).

What temperature do you need on the substrate surface?

With catalytic infrared, the cooler the process the better, especially when dealing with temperature sensitive substrates such as solid wood or plastics. We aim for no more than 50 °C on the surface of the product. With custom installations, we can go as high as 220°C+ (powder coating for example).

What is the density of energy emitted by a catalytic heater?

Catalytic heater panels without additional ventilation emit 20 kW/m2. Models with built-in additional ventilation emit 30 kW/m2.

What is the average time required for curing wet finishes, glues and adhesives?

High solid AC lacquers (wood and plastic) – 10 mins inside a Schubox
PU pigmented lacquers (wood, aerospace and plastic) – 20-30 mins inside a Schubox
Wax-free Polyesters (solid wood veneers) – 3 hours
Water borne base coats (wood, metal, plastic) – 5 mins
Water borne top coats (wood, glass) – 15mins
NC lacquers (wood) – 10 mins
PVA water glue (membrane pressing) – 10 mins.

What is the efficiency of a catalytic heater?

A Schubox unit equipped with a gas catalytic panel has a combustion efficiency of 98%: in other words 98% of the gas fuel (natural gas or LPG) feeding the emitter is transformed into heat.

What is the most appropriate distance for the thermal treatment of solvent-based liquid paint?

The distance depends on the material. For instance, with a sheet of glass 4 mm thick an appropriate distance would be 30-35 cm.
High solid AC lacquer used on solid or veneered wood should be no closer than 400mm from the catalytic emitter.