Automotive – Dehumidification & Moisture Removal
When producing cars and their components, the requirements for precise air quality control are high. Without these controls, the risks of manufacturing errors caused by extremes of humidity or even condensation can be high.
Some of the issues seen within this industry over the years include:
- Battery Production – The move is now to an ever-increasing numbers of electric vehicles, whether completely electric or hybrid models. The battery technology associated with this drive to electric power involves the use of Lithium as a component and the production of the batteries is undertaken in very low dewpoint (low humidity) environments with a working condition of less than 1%RH. Systems are installed to assist in this process and readily available to the industry.
- Environmental Chambers – Product development often requires the use of artificially created environments to replicate the effects of driving in extreme conditions. Often conditions of lower than -60 to -700C are required, and dehumidification removes the risk of the freezing air affecting other components.
- Glass Production – It is imperative to ensure that laminated windscreens and other glass parts contain no moisture when bonded, as any trapped molecules can lead to explosive conditions inside the autoclave.
- Tyre Production – Ensuring that the steel wires used in the radial ply in tyres are free from corrosion ensures the best quality product and a safe journey home.
- Paint Shop Issues – With the move away from solvent based paints, modern water-based finishes are affected by the ambient humidity which varies from season to season. This leads to different drying periods in summer compared to winter and the risk of bottlenecks in production.
- Drench Testing – Prestige Cars are often ‘drench tested’ in a facility designed to check for water ingress from all directions, using de-ionised water. Following such a drench test, the vehicle is dried out using high velocity heated and dehumidified air to remove all trace of water.
- Injection Moulded Parts – Summer conditions can create condensation on the cold moulds in injection moulding plants. This in turn can lead to blistering or staining on the moulded item, leading to re-work, a slowing down in production rates and potential failure to meet JIT deadlines.
- Corrosion – Stored parts are susceptible to atmospheric corrosion if the humidity is not controlled. This can be a major problem where inventory levels are high to meet anticipated demands for these spares, be they body panels of other ferrous components.
- Trim Pieces – Often produced by sub-suppliers on a JIT basis, variable humidity levels can create issues with the drying of adhesives on leather trim panels for example, produced with non-solvent based adhesives.
- Car Storage – Not necessarily connected with new motor manufacture, classic and valuable cars can be simply protected against damage by corrosion and mould by the simple installation of a dehumidification system. These systems are used by private individuals as well as commercial car storage facilities.