Looking for the innovative password of the glasses spraying industry
Looking for the innovative password of the glasses spraying industry - from "oil" to "water", new technology brings new "vision". Shuttle through the streets of Duqiao Town, Linhai City, every few steps, you can see a glasses company. After injection molding, polishing, nailing, spraying and other processes, small glasses are produced from the production line and go to the world.
Linhai, as China's glasses export base, has more than 1,000 glasses manufacturers, 95% of which are concentrated in Duqiao Town. This characteristic industry, with a total output value of 6 billion yuan in 2021, is also experiencing the "pain" of development and transformation.
The oil-based paint used in the spray coating on the surface of the glasses before has obvious pollution. In 2021, under the leadership of the Linhai Branch of Taizhou Ecological Environment Bureau, a research and research team on the source replacement technology of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the glasses spraying industry came into being. In the glasses spraying industry, the change from "oil" to "water" has also officially started.
How about the research and development results of water-based coatings?
Can it stand the test of the market?
We went into Duqiao Town to find out.
1. Knocking on the door of water-based paint
"Let's go, I'll take you to see the company." As the deputy chief of the pollution control section of the Linhai Branch of the Taizhou Ecological Environment Bureau, Zheng Liangwei is also the head of the research and research team for the source replacement technology of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the glasses spraying industry. Along the way, He introduced to us the change of thinking of pollution control in the glasses industry.
"After the previous rounds of rectification and improvement, glasses manufacturers have basically solved the 'visible pollution' such as paint fog, and the next step is to break through the 'invisible pollution' - VOCs." Zheng Liangwei told us that VOCs mainly come from mirrors Only 30% of the oil-based paint used in the spraying of the frame is colored on the frame, and the remaining 70% is volatilized into the air and becomes a pollutant. Immediately afterwards, Zheng Liangwei posted an account book. It is estimated that the local eyewear company consumes nearly 5,000 tons of oil-based paint a year, and generates about 3,000 tons of VOCs. If it is not disposed of and discharged, components such as xylene will directly damage the health of the public.
In March 2021, the Linhai Branch of Taizhou Ecological Environment Bureau, together with Duqiao Town, Linhai Optical Association, and Zhejiang Green Coating Technology Expert Group, carried out technical research on the replacement of VOCs sources in the glasses spraying industry. After repeated investigations, Zheng Liangwei and his colleagues opened the door to water-based coatings. By visiting the coating industry in various places, they found that water-based coatings have been maturely used in the machinery industry, but they are rarely seen in the glasses manufacturing industry.
It turns out that in addition to focusing on performance, glasses also pay attention to appearance indicators such as gloss and fullness. The appearance directly determines the added value of glasses. However, there is no water-based coating on the market that can meet the needs of eyeglass manufacturing. In addition to the need to improve the coating formulation, it is also necessary to run-in and test at the construction operation level. "Just like cooking in a pot, water-based paints are the most crucial seasonings, and spraying masters are like chefs. When and how much seasonings are added will affect the quality of the dishes." Zheng Liangwei made an image metaphor.
The road to the development and application of water-based coatings is a series of difficulties. On the one hand, it is necessary to promote the in-depth research and development of water-based coatings by coating companies to improve product quality;
Along the way, Zheng Liangwei's WeChat kept popping up new message reminders: "The latest test results: the spraying effect is the best when the room temperature is 10℃-20℃ and the spray distance is 20cm."
"What size are your nozzles?"
Zheng Liangwei set up an effect feedback group for the spraying masters of the pilot enterprises and the R&D personnel of the coating industry, so that the information of the first-line pilots can be transmitted in time. In the group, everyone "baked" their own experiences, communicated and discussed with each other, and submitted test spray reports on schedule.
2. Building greener workshops
"After a year, I will take you to test the results." Zheng Liangwei led us into the workshop of Zhejiang Ganglong Glasses Co., Ltd. The master Zhou Weidong was holding a spray gun and spraying 360 degrees on the rows of frames. Seeing our visit, Zhou Weidong suspended the operation and gestured to us by pointing to a can of milky white liquid, "Look, this is water-based paint."
"What's the difference between water-based paint and oil-based paint?" Facing our doubts, Zhou Weidong poured out a glass of transparent liquid and handed it to us, and the pungent smell came out. "Don't get too close, the oil-based paint contains xylene and other organic solvents, which are easy to cause cancer!" Zhou Weidong reminded.
"Now that the water-based paint is used, the workshop has almost no odor and is much safer." Zhou Weidong said with a smile. Immediately afterwards, Zheng Liangwei placed the portable VOCs tester on the top of the two coatings for a comparative test. The oil-based VOCs content was 1900 mg/cubic, which was 20 times higher than the water-based one. "Of course, there are certain experimental standards for national standard testing. This data is just to give you an intuitive feel of the difference." Zheng Liangwei said.
Walking into the glasses exhibition hall, Wang Yiguang, the head of the company, gave us a difficult problem. "Guess, which one uses water-based paint?" We compared the two pairs of black-rimmed glasses handed by Wang Yiguang in the sun, and found that there was no difference in appearance gloss. The top coat is also plump and really hard to tell apart. "Now not only do we have water-based coatings, but we have also figured out the process. The first batch of optical mirrors will be successfully exported to Europe by the end of 2021, and the feedback from customers is very good." Wang Yiguang seemed confident.
Wang Yiguang's confidence stems from the visible profit margins. "In recent years, the profit of the industry has become thinner and thinner. The profit of a pair of mid-to-high-end glasses is 2 to 3 yuan, and the profit of low-end glasses is only 1 yuan." Wang Yiguang said frankly that if oil-based paint is used, the procurement and operation of gas control equipment will not affect many For small and medium-sized enterprises, it is a huge expense. The cost of environmental protection treatment of a pair of glasses is 50 cents.
"This has also led some companies to take risks and directly discharge waste gas without end-of-line disposal." Zheng Liangwei added that water-based coatings meet my country's low VOCs content product standards and meet emission standards. Companies do not need VOCs pollution control facilities, saving a lot of money.
Wang Yiguang calculated an account for us. Although the price of a pair of glasses with water-based paint is 4 cents higher than that of oil-based paint, it saves 5 cents of the cost of gas control, but increases the profit by 1 cent. But he is more optimistic that after the water-based coatings improve the quality and achieve large-scale mass production, there is a lot of room for price reduction. What's more, it reduces the occupational risk of the spraying industry, and makes the problems of expensive and difficult recruitment. It's a visible profit.
Today, 70% of Ganglong Glasses' products have been replaced by water-based paints. "The remaining 30% are frames with special materials and patterns, and we need to work together with paint companies to advance." Wang Yiguang said.
3. Improve service supervision
When we came to the R&D base of Taizhou Yaoxu New Materials Co., Ltd., engineer Wu Yang was using an instrument to test the gloss of the water-based paint after spraying. "By improving the raw materials and formulations, the gloss has now increased from 90 degrees to 96.6 degrees, which is no different from oil-based paints." Wu Yang turned on the computer and showed us the appearance test data.
Walking into the sample room in the laboratory, we saw that glasses of different materials and styles were neatly arranged. Wu Yang told us that in the glasses industry, the beauty of the coating directly affects the price of glasses. In addition to the gloss problem that has been overcome, there is also the appearance and leveling effect.
"The difficulty in research and development lies in the high boiling point of water, the slow volatilization process, and the strong dependence on ambient humidity. Low humidity and fast drying will cause cracks, high humidity, slow film formation and sagging of the paint, especially in the curved feet inside the frame. , it is difficult to achieve the oily leveling effect." Wu Yang told us that next, on the one hand, we must continue to optimize the formula to achieve simple construction, and on the other hand, we must "cooperate" with the sprayer to gradually adapt to the water-based paint. construction features.
The source replacement work continued to face difficulties. In the conference room of the Linhai Branch of the Taizhou Ecological Environment Bureau, an internal discussion became intensified. At the beginning of the year, the branch set a new goal - by the end of 2023, the promotion of water-based coatings to cover more than half of the city's glasses manufacturers. As soon as the news spread, many business owners were concerned, and the staff gathered the results of the company's research and discussed countermeasures.
"Some people say that the plumpness of water-based paint is not good."
"In fact, their understanding of water-based coatings is still a few years ago."
"At present, in addition to the quantification of gloss, the so-called fullness has no scientific definition, and the effect is mostly judged by the naked eye, and there is a lack of a standard evaluation system."
"The next step is to make the sensory evaluation more objective." Li Peiling, head of the Pollution Control Section of Linhai Branch, planned, "We can hold a double-blind paint test. The glasses of the same material are sprayed with water-based paint and oil-based paint respectively. Number them separately and see if everyone can tell them apart. If you can't tell them apart, you can further dispel the concerns of enterprises and facilitate the promotion of water-based paints."
During the discussion, the water-based paint promotion plan and supporting fund subsidy policies are being refined one by one, and the existing difficulties and improvement directions are gradually becoming clear. In addition to providing services such as policies and technologies, the Linhai Branch also focuses on improving the level of supervision. This year, it plans to promote the pilot project of the alarm device for exceeding the standard in the VOCs workshop of the water-based spray booth, realize automatic alarm when the standard exceeds the standard, strengthen environmental law enforcement, and focus on investigating and punishing the abnormal operation of waste gas treatment facilities, etc. Illegal acts force the industry to transform, upgrade and develop green.
"We plan to achieve full coverage of water-based coatings in the spraying link of Linhai glasses in 2024. When the source substitution ratio reaches 90%, the glasses industry is expected to move out of the key waste gas supervision industry and achieve a comprehensive green transformation." Wang Xiaorong, deputy director of Linhai Branch, said that he will work with enterprises. Side by side, calmly cope, and survive the "pain", it is the blue sky.
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