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1. (WO1989000087) IMPROVED METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR COATING FASTENERS
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What is claimed is:
1. An apparatus for coating a fastener having a shank portion and a head portion with an applied material comprising:
means for supporting the fastener on said head portions with said shank portions projecting upward;
means for heating the fasteners; and
means for applying said material to the fastener.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 including means for conveying the fastener with said shank portion projecting upward.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 including means for cooling the fasteners.
4. Apparatus of claim 1 wherein said means for supporting the fastener comprises a pair of traveling belts which are supported throughout a major portion of their length on which the head portion of the fastener is positioned.
5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein one of said pair of traveling belts has a coefficient of friction less than the other of said belts.
6. The apparatus of claim 4 where one of said pair of belts is wider than the other of said belts.
7. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein one of said pair of" belts is adjustable with respect to the other of said belts to accommodate a plurality of fastener head and shank portion sizes and shapes.
8. The apparatus of claim 4 including means for moving the belts at different speeds to provide rotation of the fastener.
9. The apparatus of claim 4 including means for moving the belts in opposite directions for rotating the fastener.
10. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said means for conveying the fastener comprises means for linearly conveying the fastener.
11. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said means for supporting the fastener comprises a pair of traveling belts and said means for conveying the fastener is associated with at least one of said traveling belts.
12. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said means for conveying said fastener comprises a plurality of cradle members for accepting the head portions of said fastener and which are spaced along at least one of said traveling belts.

13. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said means for applying said material includes means for applying powder material on said shank portion of said fastener such that said powder completely encircles at least a portion thereof.

14. The apparatus of claim 13 including means for rotating said fastener such that said powder material is applied to completely encircle at least a portion of said shank portion.
15. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein said means for rotating said fastener includes at least imparting a magnetic field on said fastener to aid in rotation of said fastener.
16. The apparatus of claim 13 wherein said means for applying said powder material includes applying said powder material from at least two sides of said fastener.
17. An apparatus for continuously applying a coating to a fastener having a shank portion and a head portion with an applied material comprising:
means for supporting the fastener for coating;
means for controllably advancing the fasteners for coating;
means for heating the fasteners;
means for applying said material to the fastener; and means for controllably rotating the fastener during application of said material.
18. An apparatus for continuously applying a coating on fasteners, said fasteners having a head and a shank, comprising:
traveling belt means for supporting the fasteners at their heads and conveying the fasteners with said shanks directed upward from said traveling belt means through a plurality of operating stations;

a feeding station for feeding the fasteners onto said traveling belt means with said shanks directed away from said traveling belt means;

a heating station for heating at least a portion of the fasteners;

a spraying station disposed above said belts having an associated supply of a coating material for applying said coating on said heated portion of said shanks; and a cooling station for applying cooling media to the heated portion of said fastener shanks.
19. The apparatus of claim 17 including carrying members equally spaced along said traveling belt means to carry the heads of said fasteners and convey said fasteners through said operating stations.
20. The apparatus of claim 17 wherein said traveling belt means includes a pair of linearly traveling belts and one of said belts traveling in a linear direction opposite to the direction of linear movement of the other said belts.
21. The apparatus of claim 19 including imparting a magnetic force on said fasteners as they travel through said spraying station, said magnetic force being directed from beneath at least one of said pair of traveling belts.
22. The apparatus of claim 17 wherein said spraying station includes at least one spray nozzle directed at an angle with respect to the plane of travel of said traveling belt means.
23. The apparatus of claim 17 wherein said spraying station includes a collection member to collect overspray of said coating material.
24. A method of coating a fastener having a head portion and shank portion with a material comprising the steps of :
supporting the fastener for coating; controllably advancing the fastener for coating; (
heating the shank • portion of said fastener to a temperature above the melting point of said material;
applying said material to the heated shank portion of said fastener; and
controllably rotating the fastener during application of said material.
25. A method of coating a fastener having a head portion and a shank portion with a material comprising the steps of:
supporting the fastener on said head portion with said shank portion projecting upward;
heating the shank portion of said fastener to a temperature above the melting point of said material; and
applying said material to the heated shank portion of said fastener.
26. The method of claim 23 including the step of rotating said fastener at least 360 degrees during the step of applying said material to the heated shank portion of said fastener.
27. The method of claim 24 wherein the step of rotating said fastener includes applying a magnetic field in the presence of said fastener during application of said material to at least aid in rotation of said fasteners.
28. The method of claim 23 including the step of collecting said material not applied to the fastener during the step of applying said material.
29. The method of claim 23 wherein the step of applying said material includes spraying the material on the heated shank portion of said fastener from at least two spray locations spaced from one another to effect a 360 degree coating on at least a segment of said fastener shank portion.

30. The method of claim 23 including the step of linearly conveying said fastener with said shank portion projecting upward.