Have you ever looked at the coloured aluminium panels used on external parts of buildings and wondered how it maintains its quality and colour to provide years of service?
Many coloured metal panels used on the external parts of a building are polyester powder-coated aluminium. For the coating to be durable and of high quality, there are several critical processes that need to be carried out.
The quality of the finished product is assessed against standards set by industry bodies and carried out by the powder manufacturers and coating applicators. Qualicoat is an approved body, whose global quality label organisation is well known for its commitment to maintaining the quality of lacquering, painting and coating on aluminium and its alloys for architectural applications. It is renowned for being the world’s leading quality label for the coating of aluminium. Approved powder coating applicators have the equipment, pretreatment plant and systems to ensure that the finished profile meets the required British, European and other quality standards, and are audited on an annual basis.
Powder Coating Process
Qualicoat standards work to ensure that powder-coated finishes provide long term protection to aluminium extrusions. The powder coating process has three main elements, each critical to ensure high quality and durability.
The first requirement is for the aluminium to be pretreated. The metal is adequately prepared to ensure that the powder will adhere correctly to the clean and prepared metal. This will ensure that the finish doesn’t flake or peel. This process ensures the metal is clean, surface etched, and no defects show through after coating. This can be done through spray or immersion cleaning. At each stage in this process, proper rinsing of the material is required. Read more on Pretreatment
In the etch stage of pretreatment, a standard etch will require the removal of 1g/m2 of aluminium, but the Qualicoat coastal standard requires the removal of 2g/m2. This increased etch improves durability
Special dry powder is applied through air guns that are electrostatically charged to make the powder particles attracted to the negatively charged aluminium. It is important that the powder is applied evenly, and the product is handled carefully before the coating is cured.
After the powder is applied, the metal is heated to ensure the polyester adheres to the metal surface. The temperature of the curing process is also very important. This process is monitored and adjusted based on a number of parameters including the thickness of the base material and the type of coating being applied.
Why Specify Qualicoat?
Qualicoat is the leading standard for the correct application of polyester powder in architectural applications. Here are some reasons to specify a Qualicoat approved product:
- A Qualicoat certificate verifies the high quality of all coated products used in architectural applications.
- It covers both the powder and the application process giving total peace of mind.
- All finished products must meet the specified quality and performance criteria for coated aluminium products.
- There are Qualicoat standards for various specific applications, such as coastal locations, and longer durability in high UV climates.
Why are Qualicoat standards necessary?
The Qualicoat standard gives architects and developers a clear methodology for the specification of powder-coated aluminium. With Qualicoat, all stakeholders can be sure that the products will provide many years of service, and the product can be effectively guaranteed to last.