Taking Metal Coating to New Lengths

A variety of industrial consumers, including the construction, appliance and automotive industries, are discovering the advantages of the coil coating process, primarily how it unites quality and environmental safety.



Manufacturers are constantly in search of production processes that offer quality and environmentally sound methods. The paint and coating industry is no exception. A new application technique is now able make this claim. Originally introduced some 30 years ago, but growing in popularity only recently, the coil coating process is proving to be an advantageous method in both the U.S. and Europe in terms of environmental safety and product quality.

With coil coating, which consists of applying a primer and a topcoat, there is less paint waste and dangerous emissions are minimized because the painted materials are oven-cured once they are applied to the metal strip, a procedure that evaporates solvents. In addition, by pre-coating the metal, the need for a separate paint line is eliminated. More importantly, manufacturers are noticing that they can have a longer anticipated service life in the use of metals, as well as a more malleable, abrasive and scratch resistant product by way of coil coating. Its producers have boasted that coil coated metal can be bent 180 degrees without breaking. There is little wonder as to why manufacturers are taking a closer look at this process. To date, the construction industry has been the dominant consumer, using more than 60% of coil-coated metals for the roofing and siding of large buildings and warehouses with obvious benefits.

Despite the robust consumption of pre-painted metals in the construction industry, only about 7% of painted sheet metal is coil coated. Globally, North America and Europe are the largest consumers of pre-painted metal. Considering the future of the coil coating process, there are other markets yet to be explored, as well as those that are anticipating growth, like the residential roofing and automotive industries. There is hope that with increased interest in coil coated metal appliances, the automotive industry will soon follow suit and eliminate electro-coating on their assembly lines. In a sign of things to come, Mercedes Benz has already begun using the coil coating process in the production of its A class cars. Full-scale implementation of the coil coating process by the automotive industry would certainly accelerate its popularity, providing consumers with higher quality products and benefiting the environment at the same time.

Source: Paint Your Wagon
The Chemical Engineer, Sept. 14, 2000
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