QUALICOAT’s First Hybrid Meeting
The Association’s first physical members meeting since lockdown began, recently took place at the Arden Hotel and Leisure Club in Solihull. The event was well attended and included members who joined the meeting online. The event allowed all attending members to be in full communication whilst sharing screen presentations and important technical discussion.
Despite the pandemic growth of QUALICOAT UK & Ireland continues as specifications for the QUALICOAT architectural powder coating standard continue to increase. Currently the Association has eighteen powder coating members, two new members who have undertaken plant and process inspections should join by the end of the year and will shortly be announced as a QUALICOAT licence holders. A further five companies, three independent coaters and two in-house coating facilities have undertaken plant inspections and are now undertaking process inspection should join in the new year. The new members will see the availability of the QUALICOAT standard increase to twenty-five coating companies, an almost 40% increase within a year.
Powder coating has proven, through testing, not to contribute towards the surface speed of flame for external envelopes, within a recognised ‘A2-s1,d0’ classification under BS EN 13501-1. A maximum average coating thickness should be specified by the powder manufacturer and this may vary from colour to colour depending upon the organic chemical content of the formulation. The QUALICOAT specification has received an update confirming that all powder manufacturers products must meet the A2-s1,d0 classification when coated to specified thicknesses. This update will be effective from the beginning of 2022.
A QUALICOAT specification differs to that of the self-certification implicit under BS EN 12206-1 as members of QUALICOAT are twice yearly, independently inspected and assessed to ensure that their coating processes and internal process quality inspections are being carried out at regular intervals as outlined in the QUALICOAT specification. In the UK & Ireland these twice yearly unannounced inspections are carried out by independent test house IFO, who are based in the Netherlands. Since the pandemic lockdown inspections have continued unabated by virtual means but the second half of the inspections this year have been undertaken by physical unannounced visits. At the members meeting it was confirmed that the second round of visits would be complete by the end of November. A failure to comply with the QUALICOAT standard could mean the withdrawal of a members QUALICOAT licence.
As part of the quality inspections process, coating member’s lab technicians must attend a days training conducted by IFO at least once every two years. This ensures that the most up to date QUALICOAT specification for process testing and recording is maintained. This year’s virtual training day was held in late October.
Members of QUALICOAT include the supply chain pretreatment system suppliers and the powder manufacturers, coating members must use products from these members. It was announced at the meeting that QUALICOAT licensed powder manufacturer inspections would reduce from five years to three years and that the ‘Powders Working Group’ are currently reviewing the conformities required for the more regular inspections.
QUALICOAT celebrates their 35th anniversary this year with a virtual congress held on the 17th November, more information on the congress website at www.qctcongress2021.net. QUALICOAT UK & Ireland are looking to hold a conference in London in 2022 for all specifiers of architectural powder coating, more information will be provided on the QUALICOAT UK & Ireland website very soon.
The global QUALICOAT standard continues to be incrementally revised with update sheets and a reprint of the standard every year. The standard is freely available for download at www.qualicoat.net. For details on the availability of various colours and finishes contact any QUALICOAT UK & Ireland member for more information. For updated information about the use and specification of QUALICOAT in the UK and Ireland, please visit the UK & Ireland Association website at www.qualicoatuki.org.
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