Quality and quantity

Whether it’s stillages of bar length or a single handle, when it comes to powder coating the standard of finish must be consistent. Matthew Hill, quality manager for Vertik-Al, explains.

For 25 years, Vertik-Al has proven its commitment to quality as the only powder coating specialist in the UK and Ireland to hold a GSB International quality seal for Approved Coated Aluminium. This means that Vertik-Al customers can be confident that all products leaving the factory are of the highest standard; under the GSB licence, the finished coating must be of the correct appearance, thickness and gloss level.

Vertik-Al has held the GSB licence since 1994, ever since the Birmingham-based business put in its first vertical line. A prestigious German organisation, the GSB International awards after a positive approval of the powder coating process, from pre-treatment through to testing of the finished product.

During pre-treatment GSB is looking at etch rates, coating weights, and rinse conductivity. Attention then turns to the oven temperature; it is essential that the material is in the oven for the correct amount of time and at the right temperature. The finished material is then put through a rigorous testing regime which includes mechanical testing, pressure cooking and AASS testing.

GSB membership represents a very large investment for Vertik-Al – having to maintain the standards required through stringent controls, checks and often random audits. Yet the quality of the end product justifies this.

Vertik-Al was also one of the first commercial architectural powder coaters to obtain BSI approval and the Qualicoat quality label.

One of the strengths of Vertik-Al is it’s fast-turnaround: just four days. And part of that efficiency is colour management. If a delivery comes into the yard, with a certain colour requirement, and that same colour is being run on one of the lines, then it is put straight into production. This not only benefits the customer but it keeps the lines moving, and downtime to a minimum. Colour changes take around four to five minutes, while contrasting colours, such as black and white, may be longer. Vertik-Al operates one of just nine vertical powder coating facilities in the UK, alongside three horizontal lines.

Vertik-Al has a long-standing relationship with global paints and coatings company, AkzoNobel. Generally, the company uses around 400 colours, although there are over 3,500 choices available. It offers standard 30-year gurantees on all AkzoNobel gloss, satin and matt finishes, and that is extended to 40 years with AkzoNobel’s Interpon D2525.

Powder coating is a type of coating that is applied as a solid powder rather than the liquid of more conventional coatings. The omission of any liquid solvents, and their ability to be infinitely recycled during the application process, results in an exceptionally eco-friendly final coating with no volatile organic compound issues and minimal waste when compared to liquid coatings.

The powder coated film is very tough and resilient and, dependent on the resin chemistry used, can offer coatings with exceptional chemical resistance, durability and in an array of colours and textured finishes.