Coated Coil
Wednesday | 18 July, 2012 | 11:58 am

Custom formulated

By Gretchen Salois

Paints allow metals to handle weather’s wear-and-tear

July 2012 - This summer, as families cram into sedans, SUVs and vans to embark on memorable vacations, many would relish the modern luxuries a recreational vehicle offers on long road trips. The interiors accommodate travelers with many comforts of home but an RV’s exterior paneling and screening provides a steadfast shelter, reinforced by carefully developed paint coatings used for a variety of products, including RV panels that serve as protective barriers. This is just one of the products manufactured by Jupiter Aluminum.

With company locations in Illinois and Indiana, the Jupiter Aluminum Coating Division is in Fairland, Ind. It provides manufacturers with coil products, which are used for building and exterior products, including panels for RVs as well as gutters, downspouts, window screenframe and some signage. The company’s aluminum is scrap-based and the mill produces 3000-series alloys, serving the building and construction industries, service centers and federal and state government agencies.

The aluminum comes from Jupiter’s Hammond, Ind., mill and the company uses XT-10 and XT-20 paints from Dura Coat Products Inc., Riverside, Calif., for its products. The specially designed resins engineered in Dura Coat laboratories allow the company to match colors and adjust formulas to meet customer needs.

Dura Coat’s XT-10 linear polyesters are exterior coatings that do not require a longer-term warranty and are useful for a very broad market segment, says Kevin Ebert, vice president of sales and marketing at Dura Coat. The XT-20 high-durability polyester coatings provide long-term exterior protection for side and roof panels as well as other building components.

Customized chemistry

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As the economy recovers, Jupiter finds business has improved as customers request more aluminum parts requiring durable, color-specific coats of paint. “We ran operations for five days a week at our slowest point [during the economic downturn] but are now back to 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” says Ron Nuckles, general manager at Jupiter’s Coil Coating Division. Working with Dura Coat allows Jupiter to pinpoint the exact needs of its customers, partnering with chemists to provide the best-matching formula and color to meet client needs.

“We’ll get a paint sample from a new customer and send it to the Huntsville, Ala., Dura Coat facility, tell them what the end-use will be and they make the formulation and color match,” Nuckles says.

Products such as gutters only require basic polyester paint, but an aluminum silk screen for a sign, for example, has different needs. “You don’t want any lubrication on it, so Dura Coat’s chemists work with us to get the formula just as we need it,” he says, adding Jupiter uses Dura Coat for a wide range of products.

Much of Dura Coat’s formula development stems from its chemists working in the company’s research and development lab in Riverside, Calif. Researchers evaluate polymers provided by Dura Coat or research raw materials made available by suppliers, Ebert says.

“Generally, the way it works is suppliers will talk to our director of polymer research and we look at what we need in order to compete in the marketplace,” he says. “In order to have a distinguished [paints/resins] offering, our R&D team comes in and tries to develop something better than what’s out there.”

Ebert says while the PVDF resin system hasn’t really changed, it’s the cool pigments and re-engineered acrylic resins that have improved in the last 15 years.

“You don’t develop these resins in a matter of weeks; it takes years of careful research, testing, retesting, followed by trials,” Ebert says. “We started with XT-10 then came up with XT-20 and along the way, began work on Durapon 70. XT-40 began not long after that. As we sell more Durapon 70 and have gained more experience, we’ve become a full-service house, no longer a small, regional family paint company.”

Focusing on essentials

Walters Buildings, Allenton, Wis., needed an economical, durable paint coating for its buildings made from wood structures and clad in 28-gauge G-90 galvanized steel. Galvanizing prevents the steel from rusting, allowing for longer life.

Walters Buildings notes on its website that using structural steel instead of commercial steel is ideal because it performs well in hail and heavy snow and withstands debris.

“We use [Dura Coat’s] 40-year paint system,” says Scott Walters, president. “Our paint comes out of Alabama, and Dura Coat has been good to us, getting materials to us on time as well as providing consistent colors, a major concern for our customers.”

Walters Buildings produces roof trusses that are factory assembled with 16-gauge or 20-gauge galvanized steel Alpine truss plates, according to the company’s website. Dura Coat’s paints are used to color match components such as 5-inch box-type gutters placed on both sides of a building. Siding panels are made from 28-gauge, Grade E structural steel with G-90 galvanized, zinc pretreatment, primer and EnviroClean modified silicon polyester topcoat with Teflon surface protection.

Walters Buildings manufactures spaces in a variety of sizes, from 24-foot-by-24-foot sheds for a backyard, larger churches, tool and die shops and community buildings, among others. “We provide storage from machine storage to animal confinement,” Walters says, adding Walters Buildings uses the same 28-gauge G-90 galvanized steel along with Dura Coat silicone polyester with Teflon on all its products.

Ebert says Dura Coat’s premium exterior coating, Durapon 70, which uses Hylar 5000, is another option for customers. The Durapon 70 system uses cool, reflective pigments and has eliminated certain raw materials, making the coating more environmentally friendly, Ebert says. It offers long-term protection for color and gloss retention for roofing and sidewall applications as well as a competitive warranty. The coating system is registered with the Cool Roof Rating Council and Energy Star and resists scratching, scuffing and marring because it is harder and more flexible than other PVDF coating formulas, Ebert adds. The coating system is available in thick film applications as well as low gloss and low sheen.

Walters says the company worked with Dura Coat to find the best paint formulas, including adding Teflon to Walters Buildings’ colors. Adding Teflon can help make cleaning the steel easier, another benefit for areas such as the roof, sidewall and trim. “Dura Coat paints get good coverage, so companies like Walters Buildings need less paint to do the job,” Ebert says. “By creating formulas that cover more using less, it allows companies like Walters to stay competitive, as well,” he adds. MM

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