Replenishment Paint Feeder System

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Replenishment paint is required to be added as the E-coat paint system is operated. The longer you wait to add paint the more the %NV will vary and the greater the variable cost will be. On the other hand the more often replenishment paint is added the more steady the %NV will be the lower the variable costs will be as it relates to actual E-coat paint consumption. This Bulletin features a design specification guideline, which is followed by a discussion of each section of the guideline. Where appropriate, options to the specification will also be mentioned. The function of the replenishment paint feeder is to automatically add paint based upon the amp hours that have been delivered since the last time paint was added to the bath.

Approved Materials:

Use only materials specifically approved by the vendor of the ED paint.

Design Specification:

A basic replenishment paint feeder system specification shall include the following major items: JP Tech brand Amp Hour/Stroke Count controller; Ingersoll Rand brand ARO 4:1 Ratio, 3” Air Motor, 2-Ball Lower End piston pump for each compoment, KoFlow brand PVC static Mixer, PVC piping, mechanical support, and electrical connections.

JP Tech Amp Hour/Stroke Counter Controller:

JP Tech model 290-AHP2 can accept input from 1 DC rectifier and control up to 2 stroke type pumps. If stroke type pumps are not used, then it can also control the pumps based upon time. If a second rectifier option can be added. =IR ARO Piston Pumps: Ingersoll Rand brand ARO piston pumps. 4:1 ratio, 3” air motor, and 2-ball Lower end. Typical flow rates are 1 to 3 gpm. Pumps need a cycle counter that indicates when one cycle (or stroke) is complete.

Circulation Pump:

Vertical CPVC pump with a rating capable to supply 8 lpm/sq meter (~2 gpm/10 SF) [plus 20% reserve] electrolyte solution to each ME Cell .


Conductivity controller operates DI water valve to dilute electrolyte when necessary.


PVC supply and return manifolds.

Mechanical Support:

Rub rails, Cell support, and other related items.

Electrical Connections:

Quick disconnects for cable leads, compression washers, and diodes for multi-zone systems.

DI Water:

Meet necessary quality level and have adequate flow rate. Include a carbon filter and either a UV light or ozone generator to reduce the occurrence of fungus and other biologicals in the anolyte solution.

Membrane Electrode System Design Specification Guideline

General Background

A Membrane Electrode System shall include the following items: TECTRON Membrane Electrode Cells, holding tank, circulation pump, controls, plumbing, mechanical support and protection, electrical connections, and DI water source. The function of the Membrane Electrode System is to serve as the opposing electrode and also maintains the proper pH of the ED paint bath. With cathodic ED paints the Electrode is the anode (i.e. the ware is the cathode) and the Membrane Shell removes anions (i.e. small negatively charged ions). For anodic ED paints the opposite applies in each case. Direct current is supplied by a DC rectifier to each Cell. Current is then transmitted through the electrolyte solution, membrane, paint, and eventually the deposited paint film. The current then travels back to the rectifier through the conveyor, brushes, and cables. A pump circulates an electrolytic fluid called “electrolyte” because it is comprised of ions and DI water. This fluid is responsible for transporting the ions removed from the paint bath to drain. It also cools off the face of the electrode because there is heat generated in this process. Note that there is no separate heat exchanger for the electrolyte. For Cathodic ED paint systems the electrolyte is called ‘anolyte’ and for anodic ED systems the electrolyte is called ‘catholyte’. A conductivity controller continuously monitors the electrolyte conductivity (units are Siemens/cm or Mho/cm). The controller instructs a DI water solenoid valve to open when the conductivity rises above a set point. The tank has a natural overflow opening, which allows excess electrolyte to leave the system and thus the electrolyte’s conductivity is diluted. When the controller senses a level below the setpoint, the valve closes.

First Class Quality & Approved Materials

All material and workmanship shall be first class. The following materials are generally approved for use with ED paint: PVC; 304 stainless steel (except for Electrodes, which are to be 316L stainless steel, or better); polypropylene; polyethylene; hypalon; viton; Teflon; neoprene; and EPDM. If there is any question, then the ED paint supplier should be consulted first.

Electrode Area

The amount of Electrode surface area shall be calculated using the 4:1 Rule, which states that the Electrode surface area shall equal one-quarter of the total painted surface area that passes one point in a two (2) minute period. See the example below:

Work Area Basis =

= painted through-put rate x 2 minutes
= m2/minute x 2 minutes

Electrode Area Basis

= WAB/4
= m2

If the desired film thickness is less than 22 microns (0.9 mil) or more than 28 microns (1.1 mil), then an alternate method may be employed. First, the paint deposition factor (amp-minute/m2-micron, or amp-minute/SF-mil) must be known. TECTRON SD™ Cells have been operated for many years now up to levels of 50 amps/m2 (approximately 5 amps/SF) and the objective of this method is to estimate the actual current to be expected when the e-coat system performs work. The calculation is as follows: Estimated Current =

= painted through-put rate x deposition factor x film thickness
= m2/minute x amp-minute/m2- x 
= amps

For high speed, high painted through-put systems, typical Electrode current densities are set at about 35 amps/m2 (approximately 3.5 amps/SF) and slower, lower painted through-put systems approach the higher Electrode current density. Electrode Area=

= estimated current  35 amps/m2
= m2

Some automotive firms have revised their specifications and now require the use of 2.5 minutes (not 2 minutes) when employing the 4:1 Rule.

Membrane Electrode Cells

The Membrane Electrode Cells shall be TECTRON Cells manufactured by UFS Corporation. The only metallic portion shall be the Electrode. All other components shall be made from entirely non-metallic, light-weight, non-conductive materials. The ion-exchange membrane shall be selected based upon the type of ED paint and the expected duty cycle.

ED Paint Type Cathodic ED Paint Anodic ED Paint
Market Segment General Industrial High Through-put General Industrial
Neutralizer removal PTAR™ PTAN™ PTCR™

The Electrode shall be selected in a similar manner.

ED Paint Type Cathodic ED Paint Anodic ED Paint
  Epoxy type Acrylic type
  General Industrial High Through-put General Industrial High Through-put General Industrial
Remove Neutralizer S10 316L stainless steel S40 316L stainless steel PME precious metal PMC precious metal S10 316L stainless steel

The effective length of the side Cell shall be at least as tall as the height of the work package envelope. If possible, the effective length of the Cell should be equal to the height of the work package + submergence (distance from liquid level to top of work package envelope) + 50 mm (2”). The Cell can be made in any length up to 2.9 m (114.2 in) as an individual unit, with the standard lengths shown below

Electrode diameter mm (in) 48.26 (1.900) 60.33 (2.375)
Effective length mm (in) Surface area sq. meters (SF) Surface area sq. meters (SF)
910 (35.8) 0.138 (1.49) 0.172 (1.86)
1400 (55.1) 0.212 (2.28) 0.265 (2.86)
1900 (75.8) 0.288 (3.10) 0.360 (3.88)
2300 (90.6) 0.349 (3.75) 0.436 (4.69)
2900 (114.2) 0.440 (4.73) 0.550 (5.92)
Multiplier 0.15 sm./m or 0.49 SF/ft 0.189 sm./m or 0.62 SF/ft
Recommended Maximum Center to Center mm (in) 750 (30) 950 (36)
Recommended Minimum Center to Center mm (in) 150 (6) 200 (8)

Cells can also be ganged together to span up to about 6 m (236.3 in). In a conventional Membrane Electrode System the Cells are placed along the side walls of the ED tank. The number of Cells can then be easily established: Number of Cells

= Electrode area  area/Cell + 2 Cells
= m2  m2/Cell + 2 Cells (round up to an even number)

Newer ED systems as well as higher through-put systems are employing Electrode cells not only on the side walls of the ED tank, but also on the floor and above the roof of the auto body. This is being done for several reasons: reduce paint consumption, improve film build on roof and interior, and lower energy consumption.

Cell Layout Spacing - Monorail

The first Cell is placed at the end of the Pre-wet Zone, which is generally 10 to 20 seconds past the point where the ware is fully submerged (LPI). The last Cell is generally at the point where the ware breaks thought the liquid level (FPO). The first 3 to 5 Entrance Cells should be at the minimum spacing. The spacing of the last two Cells at the exit should be at the 2 times the minimum or less. The balance of in the Cells in the middle should be spaced accordingly. However the spacing in the last portion of the zone should not be greater than that of the middle.

Cell Layout Spacing - Hoist

Cells are generally placed along the two long sides of the ED tank. For ED tanks with an aspect ratio closer to 1 (i.e. square tank as seen in the plan view) Cells can be placed on all four walls. In either situation, the Cells generally begin near the placement of the edge of the ware and extend to the other edge of the ware. Cells should not be placed closer together than the minimum spacing.

Bare Floor and Roof Electrode Spacing

Generally placement of these types of cells are placed within in a minimum of 2” to any vertical moving part and/or 6” to any horizontal moving part. Also keep Electrode to a minimum distance of 30-50 mm (1-2 in.) below liquid level and 180-200 mm (7-8 in.) from top of ware.

Holding Tank

The holding tank shall be constructed from 304 stainless steel. All wetted seams shall be double-welded. A baffle shall be used to separate the pump from the returning electrolyte. A tank skimmer shall be used to remove floating debris. It shall have a removable lid for inspecting the inside of the tank. A strainer shall be fitted to the inlet of the tank (from the return manifold) above the usual liquid level. A stainless steel stud shall be welded to the tank for grounding purposes.

Circulation Pump

The pump shall be a seal-less type vertical CPVC style. The pump flow rate shall be calculated by using 8 lpm./sm (2 gpm/10 SF Electrode area) and then adding 20% as a safety factor. The pump head capacity shall be at least 1.5-2 bar (22-28 psi), more if the pump is located more than 3 meters (10 feet) below the rim of the ED tank. There shall be a pump by-pass loop back to the holding tank with a throttling valve. The electric motor shall be 3 phase, 460 volt, TEFC style. The required flow rate for any horizontal Cell needs to be about twice, or 16lpm/sm (4 gpm/10SF) in order to completely purge oxygen for the Cell.


The electrolyte circulation system shall be fitted with the following controls: 0-10,000 (or 0 to 1000 milli Siemens/cm) microSiemens/cm analog conductivity controller, plastic/stainless steel conductivity sensor, 0-2 bar (0-30 psi) guarded pressure gauge, roto-meter flow meter, check valve, main control valve (NO), 110 volt DI water solenoid valve, low tank level switch, and tank drain valve. The conductivity controller should be located near eye level about 1.5 m (5’) away from the holding tank.

Electrolyte Manifold Piping

All piping shall be PVC. Supply Manifold branch piping (i.e. on each side of the ED tank) shall be at least a PVC 50 mm (2”) Schedule 80 minimum and sized so that the average flow rate is no more than 0.25 – 0.5 meters/sec (3 –5 ft/sec). The size of the Supply Manifold main trunk piping to the Tee (i.e. where the branch piping begins) should be at least one size larger than the branch piping. The Return Manifold branch piping shall be at least 75 mm (3”) PVC Schedule 40 minimum with PVC DWV type fittings. It shall be sloped downwards (i.e. towards the electrolyte holding tank) at a 21 mm per meter (¼ in per foot) slope and sized so the branch piping is never more than ¾ full. The size of the Return Manifold main trunk piping to the Tee (i.e. where the branch piping begins) should be at least one size larger than the branch piping. A 0-2 bar (0-30 psi) guarded pressure gauge shall be placed at the termination of each supply manifold leg. A siphon-breaker shall connect the supply and return manifold and there shall be at least a 50 mm (2”) vent located 200 mm (8”) above the top of the Cells.


The side Cell support strut channels shall be 41 mm square (1.625”) and made from steel. Cell support channels shall be supported at least every 1.5 m (5’). Two-piece clamps (use two clamps for each Side Cell) shall be used to attach Cells to the strut channels. Supply and return manifold shall be supported with the same type of strut channel every 1.5 m (5’). Metal two-piece clamps should be used to attach the manifolds to the strut channel. There shall be a FRP or PVC Schedule 80 (no more than 25 mm [1.5”]) OD rub rail located such that there is at least 250 mm (10”) gap from the ED tank wall to the rub rail. The Electrolyte holding tank shall be placed on a flat, level pad as close to the ED tank as possible.


The cable shall have a THHN, THWN-2, Oil and gasoline resistant, and MTW type insulation. and be sized for at least 15 amps/m (5 amps/foot) of Cell length. All washers shall be made from stainless steel and be a compression type. There shall be a quick connect built into the cable lead for each Cell (does not apply to Hoist type ED tanks). Several Cell cable leads may be ganged together into a copper set screw lug. For systems with more than one voltage zone, diodes shall be used with the Cells in the lower voltage zone. The rating of the diode shall be twice the application voltage and 1.5 to 2 times the application amperage.

DI Water

The supply of DI water shall be 60% to 80% of that of the circulating pump. There shall be a UV light source to minimize the existence of bacteria and fungus. There shall be a means to easily clean the UV bulb. DI water quality shall meet the requirements of the ED paint manufacturer. A carbon filter is required to remove organic matter from the feed water. DI water usage is a function of the following variables: coulombs consumed by the ED system, electrolyte conductivity setpoint; MEQ value of the replenishment ED paint; and the specific neutralizer used in the ED paint.

Discussion of Membrane Electrode System Components

Holding Tank –The function of the electrolyte holding tank is to act as a reservoir, in order to maintain a near steady-state conductivity level and also cool (from the ambient) the electrolyte fluid. The volume of the tank should approximate the total volume of the electrolyte in all the Cells. The smallest tank volume should be about 100 l (25 gal). The baffle keeps foam away from the pump and the skimmer removes floating debris. A nylon, or equal, strainer bag, maybe 40 mesh or less, is used to collect dead fungus. The bag should be located above the liquid level so a maintenance person can easily remove and clean it. The tank needs to be grounded to avoid potential electric shock injury. Circulation Pump – A horizontal pump is not recommended because if there is ever a membrane cut, paint solids will enter the Membrane Electrode System and cause fast wear on the pump seal. A vertical CPVC pump, on the other hand does not use mechanical seals and is not affected by contaminated electrolyte solutions. The pump suction piping should be one size smaller than the suction opening of the pump. It should include a foot valve (no butterfly check valves) and inlet strainer. The electric motor should be a 3 phase, 460 volt, and TEFC style. Generally the more electrolyte flow the better because this creates: greater turbulence inside the Cell (scrub oxygen off face of electrode) and more cooling of the Electrode, which lead to greater life. Note that for Low Profile Cells (i.e. those Cells with a Bulkhead Fitting) the pressure drop across the Cell should be less than ½ Bar (7 psi) to avoid damage to the membrane.






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