The first QUALICOAT UK & Ireland members meeting of the year took place in early February at the Arden Hotel at Solihull. The turnout saw over thirty members present, representing powder coat applicators, pretreatment systems providers and major powder manufacturers.
The meeting was chaired by the associations’ new chairman, Angus Mackie, managing director of Vertik-Al and group managing director of the Allumette Group, who succeeds Alan Maginnis as chairman of QUALICOAT (UK & Ireland), effective from the beginning of 2020.
The association welcomed powder coater Ash & Lacy into membership. Located in the Midlands, the company offers external facade solutions for a wide range of applications. Ash & Lacy now brings the total UK applicator membership to seventeen. Further additions are expected in 2020.
It was proposed that a separate technical meeting would be held after the next Qualicoat members meeting. The inaugural technical meeting will take place after the next members meeting which is planned in Dublin on the 4th June.
Barley Chalu have just been awarded a QUALIDECO licence, the first in the UK. The QUALIDECO process is based on a ‘dye sublimation’ process, where a film containing the image is wrapped around a base powder coated profile. Placed in a special oven, the image is then transferred by turning the dyes in the film from a solid, into a gas, and then back into a solid again on the base coated profile, while at the same time bonding with the powder coat molecules present in the base coating. QUALIDECO is a licensed coating system able to replicate any finish, such as realistic wood grains, marble/granite effects and any other photographic images on a powder coated base coat. More information on this process and licenced applicators is available on the QUALICOAT UK & Ireland website.
As part of the QUALICOAT licensing agreement, member’s laboratory technicians, who monitor the powder coating process, must attend a training/update course once every two years to ensure that the most up to date methods of testing are undertaken and recorded. The next training course is intended to take place on the 29th September at pretreatment specialist member, Chemetall based in Milton Keynes.
One of the cornerstones of the success of the QUALICOAT specification is its clear in-house process controls which are claimed to be more extensive than other quality standards.
Recent research is showing that the choice of alloy and temper and the associated “tramp element” content of aluminium may have a bearing on the life expectancy of a coating. A worldwide QUALICOAT working group, made up of licence members will offer a report and recommendations later this year.
Global member statistics for 2019 shows that 72.7% of all independent inspections of powder coat members were undertaken in chrome free pretreatment plants. This figure continues to rise as the industry moves to more environmentally friendly chrome free pretreatment methods.