IFO Hosts Qualicoat Meeting

by | Apr 2, 2024 | Events

By Angus Mackie – Qualicoat Chair

The first meeting of 2024 of the licensed members of the UK & Ireland Association is to take place at the headquarters of IFO in Germany in early April. IFO offer independent third party inspection services for all licensed members in the UK and Ireland. To understand the importance of third party accreditation we need to look at what is provided by ‘national standards’.

British Standards are known and often used across the globe to recognise a ‘standard’ for manufacture or service. By specification of a standard you are asking for a product or service that will fulfil its duty in use in any industry. However, as a specifier you rely on the credibility of the supplier to ensure they maintain the standard by checking and testing processes. The same can be said for many other global standards.

Angus Mackie

If a supplier fails to meet the level of specification within a given standard, often products can be replaced, but what happens when this cannot be achieved? Usually lengthy legal challenges take place. Citing architectural powder coating as an example, it is not  always possible simply to remove product and replace. Often the final position for such installations is somewhat of a compromise. As we all know, it is better to get it right to start with, which is the holy grail for any specifier.

Turning to third party accreditation, a process that protects both the specifier and the client, should this be something that we should be insisting on?

Simply put, third party accreditation invites an independent person or company the responsibility to undertake process and product checking to ensure the product or service meets the quoted standard. The result gives the client confidence that the product will fulfil their specified needs whilst the supplier is also qualified as a supplier of a quality product.

The Association Qualicoat has placed third party accreditation at the heart of their architectural powder coating specification. A global specification, in the UK & Ireland the standard is managed by ‘Qualicoat UK & Ireland’ with the Association based in the West Midlands.

So what is the Qualicoat specification and how does it differ from the BS EN 12206 standard for powder coating? First of all it is fair to say that the much smaller standard is largely covered by the much larger and more up to date Qualicoat specification, which explains in more detail how to powder coat architectural profiles to a consistent specification. The difference is that the Qualicoat standard is far more precise in giving details of process and process control offering a far better consistency in quality output.

Who writes this more detailed specification? surprisingly the very members themselves acting in working groups consisting of members across the globe. Why? In order to offer the best possible quality of architectural powder coating for a long sustainable life expectancy. All updates to the specifications are a result of detailed research by dedicated working groups.

All Members of Qualicoat, which include powder coaters, pretreatment suppliers and powder manufacturers agree to allow IFO who are monitored for performance and nominated by Qualicoat, to undertake unannounced inspections of members plant and processes. The intention of these inspections is to ensure that the most up to date Specification is being followed. Only once compliance can be demonstrated, the Member continues to be licensed to supply QUALICOAT approved products and coatings. Members who fail to demonstrate full compliance are reinspected and can lose their licence as a result of further non-compliance being reported.

Following the council meeting at the IFO headquarters in Germany, Members of Qualicoat UK & Ireland will tour the laboratories and review the most up to date technologies for testing coated finishes.


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