Aluminium Fenestration News

’QUALICOAT 3.0 ENHANCED SUSTAINABILITY’ – BY ANGUS MACKIE – QUALICOAT UK & IRELAND CHAIR

Since 1986 QUALICOAT has continued to work as a membership run organisation to standardise and improve the quality of powder coatings by setting a standard that is regularly updated following evidence-backed research. Today QUALICOAT, based in Zurich, can claim a global licensed membership of powder manufacturers, pretreatment systems providers and powder coaters who are all third party inspected to the current QUALICOAT Specification.

In the UK & Ireland QUALICOAT has its own Association that inspects and awards licences across the region. Membership in the UK & Ireland continues to grow and now encompasses virtually all of the major architectural powder coaters across the British Isles.

Over the years the QUALICOAT Standard has been improved and updated to ensure that current powder coating best practice is undertaken by all licence and approval holders. Part of a licence holders responsibility is the provision of regular coated samples for extended ‘acetic salt spray’ and in some cases ‘filiform corrosion’ testing at the appointed test house, in the case of QUALICOAT UK & Ireland, this is at IFO Netherlands BV. In a very small number of these test samples it was noticed that premature failure could occur following these very corrosive and accelerated tests. With the cause of the issue unknown, QUALICOAT set up a working group of Members to try to identify what was causing the issue and how this could be eliminated to further enhance powder coating durability.

It became obvious during research that the aluminium alloy itself was the contributing factor, so the working group began to develop a specification for the alloys used in fenestration, namely alloy 6060 and 6063. The resulting alloy specification, which forms Appendix A13 of the QUALICOAT Specifications 2022, requires the alloys to fall within the EN573-3:2019 Standard, which can be met using primary or secondary (recycled) aluminium and requires the following three tests to be carried out:

  1. Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES)
  2. Anodic Cyclic Polarisation (ACP)
  3. Metallographic Study for Aluminium

All requirements of these tests need to be undertaken and passed by an independent test house before an approval is awarded. By ensuring that the alloy is of the correct standard, with reduced inclusions and improved grain consistency, it has been demonstrated by QUALICOAT that architectural powder coat finishes can be further enhanced for sustainability, especially when used with Class 2 powders (super-durable) and Class 3 powders (hyper-durable)

Appendix A13 of the QUALICOAT Specifications is aimed at specifiers who have large facade projects and wish to take advantage of the additional protection that comes from a ‘QUALICOAT 3.0’ Specification. Whilst the current QUALICOAT supply chain includes powder manufacturers, pretreatment systems providers and architectural powder coaters, QUALICOAT 3.0 introduces for the first time the aluminium extruders into the QUALICOAT powder coating supply chain.

Specifiers who wish to take advantage of QUALICOAT 3.0 should in the first instance contact QUALICOAT UK & Ireland for guidance on specification and help in choosing the correct supply chain.

The global QUALICOAT Standard is incrementally revised in real time with regular update sheets and is revised to include all updates each year end. The Specification, its appendices and any update sheets are 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.

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