QUALICOAT Meet Online in January
Once again the Association meets online for its first members meeting of 2021 and it is hoped by all that the next meeting in the year could be back to some sort of normal! There was a very good turnout of members at the meeting and a broad agenda to cover.
The Association has updated the QUALICOAT Specification and is now dated rather than numbered, the latest issue is freely available on the QUALICOAT website and is dated January 2021.
Membership inspections, undertaken by independent test house IFO, have continued unabated through the pandemic as they have been conducted virtually from their head office in Belgium. Unannounced and undertaken twice a year, the inspections reviews the quality procedures in place through the members coating process. IFO confirmed that almost all inspections had been completed for 2020 with no major non-conformity issues against the QUALICOAT Standard. QUALICOAT members are the only powder coaters in the UK, and indeed across the globe, who are independently checked this way and maintain a licence of conformity issued by QUALICOAT.
On the membership front, there are a further three powder coating applicators in the UK & Ireland that have requested to join the Association and work towards becoming a QUALICOAT licensed applicator. In order to become a member of the Association, applicators will need to be physically inspected and this can only be done once lockdown has eased. The Association is hoping, Covid 19 permitting, to begin inspections and to induct these coaters into membership by the end of 2021.
One of the major topics discussed at the meeting was the pending introduction of ‘QUALICOAT 3.0’. This specification is intended to take powder coating into a new territory of quality, for even further resilience and sustainability. QUALICOAT test many thousands of samples through their independently appointed test laboratories and a small number of samples continued to fail accelerated tests even though pretreatment and coating have been completed to the highest standard. It was only when the alloy of the aluminium was accurately determined when a correlation was found between coating failure and aluminium composition in combination with the extrusion process, that this issue could be researched further.
For a number of years QUALICOAT members from around the globe have now been working on the suitability of aluminium alloys, their composition and in particular the presence of trace elements. It turns out that from this research that there is a direct correlation between certain alloy compositions, including production techniques, and an increased incidence of future corrosion failure.
QUALICOAT 3.0 will continue to qualify the tests the powder coating and the pretreatment, but will now test and approve a third element, the alloy stock itself. This tighter aluminium alloy specification will need to be maintained and approved for a coating to be able to carry a QUALICOAT 3.0 specification. It is expected that this powder coating standard will be specified on projects located in some of the harshest environments across the globe, including the coastline of the British Isles, and will offer extended life expectancy in these regions. It is planned that the new standard will be launched later in 2021.
This addition to life expectancy offered by QUALICOAT 3.0 builds further on the current ‘Seaside’ class of coating and takes QUALICOAT into the realms of specifiable exposure categories. This option is currently being explored by the Association and would give specifiers greater control over specification for a given location.
The next meeting of the Association is planned to take place at the end of June and the Association welcomes anyone within the powder coating supply chain in the UK and Ireland to join the meeting as a guest or as a potential member of the Association.
The UK Association website, www.qualicoatuki.org offers an up-to-date list of licensed UK and Ireland Powder Suppliers, Pretreatment Suppliers and Applicators. Printed literature and telephone support is available from QUALICOAT UK & Ireland Head Office in Birmingham on 0330 236 2800 or email email@example.com. The Association can also be followed on Twitter @Qualicoatuki
QUALICOAT UK & Ireland with offices based in the Midlands is the National Association for QUALICOAT approved companies. QUALICOAT is a global quality label organisation committed to maintaining and promoting the quality of lacquering, painting and coating on aluminium and its alloys for architectural applications.
Please browse our website and should you have any questions about architectural powder coatings and the correct specification, please contact one of our local members or phone our office on the number below.
QUALICOAT UK & Ireland Chairman