Evaluating the Performance of Metal Coatings
Our 6.25-acre test fence takes creating the perfect storm to a new level.
This real-world test site in Fort Myers, Florida provides exposure to a mix of harsh elements, so coated metal panels can experience natural weathering over time. With more than 100,000 sample metal panels—the oldest one from 1968—the test fence is an industry-leading site for evaluating the performance of exterior coatings for metal building products.
Why go through so much time and effort to study metal coatings? In one word, innovation.
The coatings used on metal architecture today need to be durable, vibrant and long-lasting, in addition to meeting governing standards such as American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA). Manufacturers continue to evolve their coating formulas to provide even greater longevity and more options for colors and finishes.
The only way innovation like this can happen is through rigorous testing processes.
Real-World and Accelerated Testing for Metal Coatings
Ultraviolet light, heat and moisture can all damage coated metal panels—but it’s the combination of these three elements that accelerates the damage of resin-based coatings on metal panels.
The test fence provides intense exposure to UV rays, heat and humidity, creating an ideal scenario for real-world testing. The coated panels sit on inclined open racks aimed at a 45-degree angle toward the sun.
With a strategic mix of coating formulas, colors, and substrates, our lab can evaluate the long-term performance of metal coatings, continually enhancing formulas and bringing new innovations to market.
While real-world testing provides concrete results, it’s the combination of real-world testing and accelerated testing that created the high standard of resin-based coatings available today. Accelerated testing involves special environmental cabinets and instruments that are used to speed up the weathering process and measure its effects under extreme conditions.
Both types of testing play an important role in evaluating the performance of metal coatings to ensure reliable retention long into the future.
Metal coatings are tested for a variety of criteria to ensure durability and color retention including:
Metal panels experience many kinds of abrasions during the manufacturing and installation processes. Because of this, it’s essential that resin-based coatings protect metal building products during inevitable wear and tear such as withstanding bending and shaping during fabrication.
Common methods for testing the durability of metal coatings involve:
- Analyzing how two surfaces react when they come into contact with each other
- Evaluating the level of damage a product can withstand
- Recreating the repetitive sliding surface-on-surface friction that panels experience as they are fabricated, shipped and installed
Ultimately, architectural coatings should provide superior flexibility, formability and color consistency during the manufacturing process as well as superb protection against harsh outdoor elements and abrasion once they’ve been applied to panels. Evaluating the performance of metal coatings and continually making enhancements to formulas is one of the best ways to push innovation for coil and extrusion coatings.
Durability is at the top of the list for performance criteria of metal coatings. The resin-based coatings trusted on metal architecture today provide color retention and abrasion resistance to create long-lasting facades for years to come.
The testing processes that back these high-performance coatings ensure that innovation is always at the forefront of monumental architecture. See our product innovation in our online color library of more than 50,000 colors.