Get a grip on masking

Installing and removing masking quickly is one of the keys to an efficient coating line. Whilst masking has to stay in position throughout the coating process, it is important that it doesn’t take too long to install or remove.

There is no doubt that installing and removing masking can add time onto the production process. It is another stage in the production cycle. So it is important that installing and removing masking can be done as quickly as possible. The basic tapered plug is a tried and tested masking product that can be used to plug holes. Tapered plugs have been around for years and can be installed and removed relatively quickly. The humble tapered plug, however, can be improved with the addition of a handle. A taper plug with a handle can make the plug easier to see on a coated part; it can reduce the risk of damage to the coated surface as the plug is being removed and, because it is easier to grip, it can speed up the removal of the plug.

Some form of a handle is possible on most moulded rubber masking products and it is on custom moulded masking items where handles come into their own. Handles can be added to act as an alignment device or to ensure that masking is installed consistently. Well designed and positioned handles can help increase the life span of a mask by ensuring they are removed correctly and consistently. A well-designed handle can reduce the chances of a mask being torn if it is removed incorrectly. Handles can be used in conjunction with work instructions to help identify the correct installation and removal procedure of a mask. Handles can even be added to aid the automation of mask installation and removal.

Handles need to be considered at the initial concept stage of a custom moulded mask design. The design of the handle can be as important as the design of the mask itself. Some things to consider when designing the handles are as follows: Will the person applying or removing the mask be wearing gloves? If so, it may be better to design a longer handle or increase the diameter at the end of the handle to make it easier to grip. Is the mask heavy? Multiple handles may be required for heavy masks and they will need to be spaced in such a manner that the mask can be carried or balanced easily. Can the handle be hollow? Hollowing out masks and handles can have a dramatic impact on cost. Does the handle need to be tapered so that liquid will flow off it and will not pool on the mask because of the handle?

If you need to get a handle on your masking, a good masking supplier such as Caplugs or any of their distribution partners will have a wealth of experience to help you. They can advise which of their standard products have handles and how handles can be added to custom products.

Written by John the article was published in Surfacce World Magazine.

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Masking Handles can improve efficiency