Gun Comparison

Support & testimonies for Powder365 powder coating guns
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aicoatings
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Gun Comparison

Post by aicoatings » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:59 pm

Since there seems to be a buzz about Parker Ionics, i figured i'd chime in and, hopefully help those who are trying to decide which pro gun to choose. I've read many post about gun comparisons here, but only those who have a particular brand (or have used older models, then switched) can give their feedback . here's the back story: (And for the forum detectives out there, yes, I will leave some stuff out for the sake of not writing a book here.)
After messing with a hobby gun about two years ago, I bought a Gema Optiflex 2B after a brief demo of some other units. Of course i was happy with the Gema. Since the Gema was all I had, I would talk it up whenever I got the chance. But, in reality, to me, It was just a piece of equipment. As the business grew, we got a second oven set up. naturally, my first thought was to buy another Gema. However, i came across a deal i couldn't pass up on a new wagner box feed (the newest version) so, i bought it. Yes, at one time I did say "I couldn't see myself switching from Gema to Wagner unless it was a steal". Well, it was. I also still had my Gema so, I didn't switch. I liked the Wagner. More on that in a minute. After about two months, i was offered a great price on the Wagner from another coater, so, i sold it. Now, i found myself down a box feed. I was tempted to get another Gema and just roll, but, I didn't. I contacted Parker Ionics and Nordson. Before Nordson decided to get back to me, John cole at parker gave me a good price on a Parker GX8500 box. Now, it isn't the brand new super pulse that's out now, but I did get the 132 gun and the new blue and white cart. Shortly after getting the parker, I was contacted by nordson, so, i figured, what the heck. i might as well let them come and demo the Encore LT. Nordson showed up with a crappy, beaten down LT. The controller was making all sorts of noises and the unit barely sprayed. They left, but said they'd fix it and be back. Two weeks later they came back with the same crappy unit, making the same noises and not spraying worth a dam. The Nordson rep. had a brand new cup gun set up in his trunk so he broke it out. after 40 minutes opening boxes and setting up, we finally sprayed and it was a disappointment. Couldn't get a decent powder cloud and powder spitting. The brand new gun was still spraying after the trigger was released and the rep. blamed it on my ground!!!
For the sake of this comparison, i will leave Nordson out. They're a reputable company and, I'm sure they make good guns. just bad luck, i guess.
I'll try to speed this up.
When i had just the gema and wagner, i sprayed many parts side by side with each other. Got some videos of it, too. When the Wagner sold and i got the parker, i did the same thing. Here's what I found:
First, the Gema. The Gema has all the bells and whistles one could ask for. The fluidization is digital, the rinsing/atomizing air is digital, it's self monitoring, you can shut down the vibrating table if you want to put a small hopper there, and on and on. It's compact, has a well built gun and a great, but non transferrable, warranty. The purge feature (optional) is on the gun remote. You can push the button and it cleans itself (to a certain extent) Powder out put right on the gun, as well. As far as sprayabliity, powder adherence on faraday and multi coats and powder cloud, the Gema is top notch. First pass transfer is great, too. It is a very well built machine and pretty easy to figure out and use. of course, the price is high.

The Wagner was also a very nice machine. I have to say, I probably would have kept it had i not been made such a good offer to sell it. The Wagner's controller is a bit intimidating, at first, but you quickly get the hang of it. It seemed to be very well built, except for the gun, which is too lite and would probably break if dropped. The powder out put is on the gun, but the purge feature (standard, which is good) is not on the gun. you have to walk back to the controller to purge clean and you better hurry once you press the purge button to get the gun aimed into the booth. Once the button is pressed, it will purge until pressed again, which is nice. The fluidization on the Wagner is manual, but located in a convenient location. Other than that, it's all digital. From a spray ability standpoint, the Wagner performed the same as the Gema! That's right the same. Faraday areas were no problem, multi coats were no problem and the powder cloud is nice. The Wagner has a unique feature. A double click of the gun trigger allows you to change program settings on the fly. I used it a lot. Unlike the Gema, the Wagner allows you to change the 3 preset's on the controller and, like the gema, you can store your own programs. Wagner allows for 50 (i believe) and gema is 20. When I was spraying them side by side, I had both units set exactly the same as far as KV'S & current. The powder output and air settings were slightly different, as each model uses and disperses the incoming air a little differently. Overall, it performed as good as gema, but gema has a few more bells and whistles and a 5 year warranty.
The wagner is cheaper, though.

When i opened the box for the Parker, it was 99% assembled. The first thing i noticed is how primitive the parker unit is. It's digital, but the fluidization is manual, the rinsing/ atomizing air is manual. (note: the atomizing air on the back of the controller is very sensitive. 1/4 turn only or you'll find yourself blowing your powder off your part.) I'm bashing here, but it gets better. the instruction manual sucks. it doesn't tell you anything. The suction tube weighs a ton and has a lot of "play" because of its design, and, yes, those little spikes on the end of the tube. The Cart has only one small hook on it. how do they expect you to hold the hose, ground, and power plug with one, 2 inch hook? Small potato's i simply added a few more hooks. The gun has no remote, the hose is terrible, I replaced it. Although, i will say that the parker hose is very easy to clean. Must have some kind of non stick shit in there, but i replaced it anyway. At first, i thought, "shit, I'm going from a porshe to a corvette. Why didn't i see this before buying? Well, their website is pretty vague. Some Pictures of the unit from a distance. After all this, and thinking, i wonder how much i can get for this piece of shit, i sprayed it. For those on here who recently bought one, you know what i'm saying, but you may not have had the ability to set it up along side the gema opti 2. The Parker has the ability to spray everything on one setting. Multi coats, faraday, clears, metallics, primers. One setting! i have yet to shoot candies, wrinkles ect. yet cause i don't do much custom stuff. Keep your current at 9 to 12 and KV'S at 100 and you'll spray everything. No BI. No OP (unless you lay way too much) Equally impressive is the beautiful, consistent, full powder cloud out of this gun which doesn't change as you add powder to the mix. Now, I'm thinking, let me grab the opti and do a test. 2.5 hours later, side by side, the results, IMO, were in. the parker ionics performs equal to the gema on multi coats (slightly better, actually)and faraday areas. The parker's powder cloud is far better/ softer and fuller than the gema. the parker unit seems to utilize the incoming air better. you get some nice velocity out of the gun. having the ability to spray anything on one setting allows you to use the 3 program buttons to set up high, medium and fine powder and air out put's. for example, my program one is set up for everyday, medium parts spraying, while program 2 is just a fine mist of powder and program 3 is heavy output and air for large parts. no messing around with KV'S and current. all 3 are the same.
here's what i don't know, is the parker a work horse? is is built to last? The 3 year warranty is great. The parts are expensive! $290.00 for a nozzle assay. replacement. customer support seems fine so far.
My bottom line (and only mine) is, dollar for dollar, parker is the best gun on the market today. If you need all the bells and whistles, go with gema, Wagner or even Nordson, but if you're looking for a pro gun at, right now, a great price, that can lay down powder like nobody business, go with parker. this comparison is mine and only mine. i do not want to get involved in a gun war. i've debated for a while as to whether or not to even post this. this is meant to help those trying to decide, not bash any gun. OK, WISEASSYT, I CONCEADE. YOU WERE RIGHT ALL ALONG.
BTW, I HAVE AN OPTI 2 BOX FEED I'LL SELL, IF ANYONE'S INTERESTED.

MatadorMkV
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Re: Gun Comparison

Post by MatadorMkV » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:40 pm

Glad you like the Parker! Just a few side notes from my experience(s)...

My first manual for my GX7500 did suck...BUT...it was due to the direct Japanese translation...and some things just didn't translate well. My rep sent me another manual that was written from the get go in English and it was great! Not sure if this might be your issue as well.

I personally (as well as others I know) do not use the rinse air feature. I just blow the tip off every once in a while...and I always completely disassemble the tip a blow off the diode when I'm finished.

I have to say though that for me, customer service has just been outstanding with Parker. I always tell the story about how I was having some issues on a SUNDAY afternoon while coating. One of the techs that actually sets up the boards (Chuck) walked me through a setting on the main board. We sent pictures back and forth via cell phone and everything worked great...yes...on a Sunday.

In fact, I just called Parker today to speak with Nate (Chuck's son I think) about an accessory shown on the web site. I wanted to see a different view of their vibrating cup stand. Within a half an hour, Nate went out in the shop, took a few pictures of one they use on site, and emailed them to me.

I have many other stories, but I think you get the idea. Mike Nugent is my rep and if he doesn't answer when I call, he calls me back within minutes.

aicoatings
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Re: Gun Comparison

Post by aicoatings » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:54 pm

Thanks for that. And, yes, their support is great. I was getting tired typing. LOL. here's my quick story regarding their customer support. I noticed that my gun trigger was sticking right out of the box. i took a video of it, sent it to Chuck and had a new gun sent to me in two days. not the trigger assy., but a whole new gun!
i've dealt with Nate, chuck and John. Chuck (over the phone) walked me through setting the fluidization to 'constant' so I can look into the powder box and see fluidizing, rather than having to pull the trigger of the gun. They are great.

WiseAssYT
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Re: Gun Comparison

Post by WiseAssYT » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:27 pm

I had an Easytronic for years bought it new ,then bought the Parker 4yrs later , in the first day i used it ,I knocked/yanked the pick up tube over out of the box and on the floor ,poked a hole in a bag , and wanted to beat the fuck out of whom ever engineered the pickup tube,with the pick up tube. Lol
After fabing the flat plate to an angle for the box and addressing the above issues with the pickup , I never looked back.
I agree they are primitive and one could argue the price don't match the item but
If I had to buy new, I would buy Parker again , but I'd be pushing for a discounted price , mainly because the unit doesn't have the bells and whistles like you said,and you will have to do things to it to accommodate any applicator.

Have a gema Easytronic now ,but only because people sell gemas lol.
I've Used a few wagners never was a fan , sames and eurotec felt like the wagner.

Any big name gun can apply powder and the better applicators can use any unit to lay it down , but Parker can lay multiple coats better with less effort no matter the applicator.

I've probably sold 10 or so Parker's for them over the years,lol I'm gonna send John a note about my commission lol.

aicoatings
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Re: Gun Comparison

Post by aicoatings » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:54 pm

Well, i have to say, again, you were right on. Over the past few months, i've been watching the post here regarding Parker and gun choosing and comparisons, but wanted to conduct some detail comparisons before speaking out. I would think if Parker decided to add the bells and whistles, of a Gema, to their units, they might one day lead the market, but I know they're also involved in the auto line coating industry as well. I suspect some, with other brands, will challenge my assessment and that's OK. but the fact is, I didn't demo these units (except for Nordson) for a few hours with a rep. there looking over my shoulder telling me how great their system is. I spent a couple of years with the Gema, a couple of months with the Wagner and the Parker. Spraying them everyday, every combination and with most powders and all kinds of different settings. I knew the new Parker unit was coming out. But looking at the new one and the old 8500, they are pretty much the same. I did insist on the new 132 gun and new cart, though. I do want to take this opportunity to clarify my experience with Nordson so I don't offend any users out there. The LT unit they brought over was very used. Very beat up. I had one distributor and one rep. there and the distributor told me that Nordson makes them pay for the demo's and that's why they hold onto them for as long as possible. Shit happens , but to bring the same unit back 2 weeks later with the same issue is odd. I wouldn't have bought it anyway cause, by that time, i was happy with the Parker, but, I figured, what the hell. During the demo with Nordson, i was trying to spray a 12 ft piece of steel fencing. Under the top handrails are the welds where the Pickets are attached. i do a lot of these and they typically get hairy getting powder in there, even with my Gema. Anyway, the Nordson just wasn't getting it done, for whatever reason. However, the rep. in his constant effort to make the sale, was telling me how great it was covering. I'm certainly not an expert, but i was looking at him like ??? It was NOT in my plan to piss anybody off, but I stopped spraying, grabbed the Parker and said, "watch this". Of course my heart was pounding. like a talking dog that only talks to me when nobody else is around, I hoped the parker would perform the way it had been.
The parker covered with no problem. They weren't happy. The rep. said he didn't think that Parker was even around anymore. As I stated, Nordson is a reputable company. I'm sure they make millions and millions of dollars a year and put out great equipment, or they wouldn't make $. perhaps a newer demo would have done the trick. And the cup gun? I don't know what the story was with that. So, good looking out for parker, WISE. I don't think i would have ever even considered them without your constant recommendations on every dam gun post. LOL. There's a lot more info. i was able to learn on my comparisons that I didn't mention in my post. Didn't want to write a book. But if anyone out there wants some more detailed info, just ask.

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ZX10
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Re: Gun Comparison

Post by ZX10 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:22 am

Nice review aicoatings!

Nothing I need to add besides I'm liking the new Parker at first was thinking I made a mistake because of the little engineering problems but once I pulled that trigger and seen powder cloud, the attraction to part and with no effort from me I knew I was keeping it....

I have no problem not having bells and whistles, but the new unit does have some of the same features as the other guys it's just not mentioned ..

I just want the unit to do its job and make my job easier and so far it looks like I found that gun..

MatadorMkV
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Re: Gun Comparison

Post by MatadorMkV » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:45 am

"The parker covered with no problem. They weren't happy. The rep. said he didn't think that Parker was even around anymore."

Yeah...how were they to know? After all, The president of Parker Ionics has only been on the board of directors of the Powder Coating Institute for YEARS now...LOL. Hard to believe any company would be so ignorant...sorry...uninformed.

Chrisyeager12

Re: Gun Comparison

Post by Chrisyeager12 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:56 am

Great information

aicoatings
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Re: Gun Comparison

Post by aicoatings » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:05 pm

Thanks for the feedback. One important feature (i left out) of the parker, for those trying to decide what to buy, is the purge/clean feature. In my initial post, i described the purge feature of the Wagner & Gema. With the Parker, it's even more primitive. You have to stand at the controller and hold the purge button. If you let it go, it stops. This means you have to have the unit pretty close to your booth. Now, on the other hand, Parker's purge feature lets you clean the unit without removing the suction tube from the powder box. The only way you'll get that on a Gema is to pay $7500.00 for the Optiflex 2 Q.
For those already using the new parker, i read here about the suction tube not having a holder to rest on, yes, that's true, but a couple of rubber O-RINGS placed under the white plastic ring takes care of that. Just slide the o-rings down to where you want it and the tube will stay in place. I use 2 of them cause of how heavy the tube is. I'm also going to convert from Push Connects to Quick Connects on the pump. You have to use two hands for the push connects to get the airlines out. I'm also adding an "on-off" toggle switch to be able to shut down the vibrating motor, (while keeping the fluidization on & constant) if I want to place a small hopper on the cart. There is a way to set the fluidization to constant rather than trigger activated. By the time i'm done with this, i'll paint it yellow and black and it'll be a Gema-- ON STEROIDS.

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