Specifiers are quickly realising there are a variety of ‘Classes’ of powder to choose from. These Classes are denominated under the QUALICOAT evaluation system based on their ‘weathering’ ability. That is, the ability of the powder paint to resist the deleterious effects of light, heat and temperature on the colour and gloss level. The choice of which ‘Class’ of powder is determined by the location of the building, the functional or aesthetic finish being considered, and the cost. Qualicoat applicators are reporting a significant increase in enquiries by specifiers as well as an increase in specifications which call up higher level powder classes.
All of the classes can be applied over the same pre-treatment systems and with the same powder coating lines, but their powder formulation varies. Class 1 is used extensively in the UK, it is an economical formulation which offers good life expectancy. Over many years applicators and powder manufacturers have supported this with standard commercial guarantees. Class 2 powders, sometimes referred to as ‘Superdurables', offer superior colour and gloss fidelity. The increasing trend in choosing Class 2 powders is driven by specifications for prestigious buildings seen in our capital and major cities. Class 2 powders are also being chosen for buildings in more testing weathering environments. The performance enhancement with Class 2 comes with a price tag as these powders are more expensive.
Class 3 powders, sometimes referred to as ‘Hyperdurables’, offer specifiers even more choice in the performance of their coatings. These powders are formulated using ‘fluoropolymers’ and offer comparable weathering performance to PVDF wet paint finishes often specified in the US market and by US architects. This high end finish has a high end price. Careful cost benefit analysis should be exercised before choosing this finish level.
QUALICOAT is the right specification for powder coating over aluminium substrates, and the QUALICOAT powder Classes provide specifiers more choice to select the best finish for their project.
All powder formulations form part of the Qualicoat approval process and are applied by licensed applications in the UK & Ireland, and across the globe. For specification support any member of the association can offer advice and guidance, for updated information about the use and specification of Qualicoat in the UK and Ireland, please visit the associations' website at www.qualicoatuki.org