How to ensure your product is protected in the right way

Industrial and commercial coatings are a little like clothes; we don’t think about them on a day to day basis but if they weren’t there we (and everybody else) would certainly notice. They are a necessity in order to protect a large proportion of commercial and industrial products, and growth in the coatings market continues to accelerate; it is reported to be worth in the region of $89bn, rising to $115bn by 2024*. In other words it is a very big deal. The world’s largest coating providers are spending huge amounts on R&D to constantly improve the efficiency of their coating solutions and keep costs down. This – against a background of growing pressure to reduce the impact on the environment from mass produced chemical solutions – keeps the heads of those R&D departments up at night, as it remains the biggest challenge in the industry.

Huge strides have been made in tackling the problem, not least of which has been in the area of nanotechnology and its use in the production of specialist coatings. By using nanoparticles as an integral part of solution manufacture, it greatly reduces the thickness of the coating yet retains (and in some cases improves upon) its characteristics, be that durability, anti-soiling, hydrophobicity etc. And the thinner the coating, the higher the application area, thus massively reducing volume production.

However, it’s not a perfect science – yet – and many manufacturers have struggled to produce coatings that deliver specific traits on specific surfaces. Currently there are hundreds of coatings available that function as a one-coating-to-rule-them-all, a one stop shop approach that has benefits but in many cases fails to cover (sic) all the bases. A classic example is that of the humble car; it’s true that modern cars use paints that are extremely hard wearing and retain colour, but how often does it need cleaning? Also consider a car’s glass surfaces – even the lightest rain requires windscreen wipers to provide the driver with  clear visibility. What if your car only needed cleaning once every few months? Or your windscreen didn’t need wipers aside from heavy rain? Or ice removal suddenly became far easier and quicker?

Specialist coating manufacturers are producing coatings that are distinct to a particular surface (e.g. glass, plastics, metals) and deliver specific characteristics. An example is surface technology through the production of sol-gel based coatings. Sharc® Matter believe that the future of the coatings industry should be concentrated on producing surface-specific solutions that are ultra-thin, durable and idiosyncratic.

A new and exciting suite of sol-gel coatings are now available via the Sharc® Matter platform (www.sharcmatter.com). They deliver a wide range of solutions dependent on the surface:

Plastics & Indoor surfaces

Sharc®Plus – a thin, transparent (1-2 microns) easy-clean coating for painted surfaces such as plastic floors. Offers water and oil repellency.

Stainless Steel / Aluminium

Sharc®Staine a thin, transparent (1-2 microns) easy-clean coating for stainless steel and aluminum surfaces. It doesn’t block porous material and therefore does not affect heat transfer. It also prevents salt/calcium attack in areas such as bathrooms and spas, process industry surfaces, printing industry surfaces.

Metals, copper, aluminium alloys

Sharc®Korroguard – a thin, transparent coating (10-20 microns) for corrosion protection of:

  • copper and copper base materials (fingerprint protection and oxidation prevention, plate heat exchangers)
  • polished stainless steel (Cl-ion attack prevention in spas and public swimming pools)
  • aluminum alloys (caustic liquid prevention, chlorine attack prevention, oxidation prevention, outdoor panels, heat exchange radiators)

Multipurpose

Sharc®Sapphire – a thin, transparent easy-clean coating (10-20 microns), Sapphire has many different applications, including car painted surfaces, glossy metals, hospital surfaces and delivers hydrophobic and oleophobic characteristics.

Glass

Sharc® Glass – a thin, transparent (1-2 microns) easy-clean coating for glass surfaces. Prevention from salt and calcium attack for car windows, bathroom glass surfaces and commercial areas with high glass content e.g. spas

The world of coatings is changing, and for the better. Products such as those offered above are redefining the way in which we can protect surfaces, reduce energy consumption (less regular cleaning) and as a result protect the environment.

For more information on the whole Sharc® range visit www.sharcmatter.com/surface-coatings