As a member of the coil coating industry, I am pleased to see that the prepaint process continues to provide the flexibility to meet new manufacturing challenges and growing needs in the marketplace. It is fascinating to see the new colors, textures and patterns on the coil lines today. While white and cream used to be mainstays of most coaters, multi-colored copper patina patterns and wood grain patterns now are being used for metal roof panels, and striping and vibrant colors are popular for consumer appliances, cars, office furniture and more.

New textures are also being applied on coil lines today, both through the coatings themselves and through embossing. These advances can be seen in applications such as fingerprint-proof refrigerator wrappers, skid-proof ramps, and patterned garage, exterior and patio doors. Just give coil coaters a challenge, and we’ll come up with the solution.

We are also seeing high-tech specialty coatings applied with the coil coating process. Anti-microbial coatings are becoming popular for HVAC ductwork, food service prep equipment, appliances and other areas where germs are a concern. Weldable primers are another specialty coating that is used as manufacturers seek ways to use coil coating without changing existing welding processes.

Speaking of joining, many fastener companies are recognizing the growth of the prepainted metal market and are developing new ways to match fastener paint colors to coil coated metal so prepainted metal can be joined attractively with no touchup needed.

Coil Coating Benefits

Coil coating has proven to hold up better than any other coating method when cut and formed. Coil coated metal does not crack or weaken, even when forming needs require severe bends, such as for window framing and curved and textured roof panels and furniture. Many times the coating is found to be more flexible than the substrate itself.

As manufacturers try to cut costs and streamline the production process, coil coating rises to the challenge. Coil coating is the most efficient and thorough coating method available. Cleaning, treating, priming and painting are accomplished in one continuous process when the metal is flat, before it is cut and formed, enabling every inch of the surface to be cleaned and treated. In this efficient process, a coil of metal up to 72 in. wide and moving up to 700 feet per minute is unwound, cleaned and chemically treated. After cleaning, pretreatment and priming, the coil can be rewound for shipment. Alternatively, depending on the product specifications, one or both sides of the coil may be topcoated, oven cured, and then rewound for shipment. The entire process is taken out of the hands of the manufacturer, including all the costs and hassles that go with it. When all the costs associated with in-house painting are considered, outsourcing the painting process to a coil coater almost always results in a cost savings.

And in this time when environmental responsibility is a concern, it is nice to be in an industry that can tout it is using one of the most environmentally friendly coating methods in the market. Coil coating facilities are outfitted with high-tech equipment for waste treatment that meets the highest environmental standards. In addition, coil coating concentrates metal treatment to a limited number of coating facilities, reducing the impact on the earth. It’s something that all of us using coil coated metal can feel good about.

Partnering for the Perfect Finish

Coil coaters become partners with manufacturers, working to match colors, perfect finishes and help convert plants and analyze costs closely. Many industry leaders now use prepainted metal for all or part of their manufacturing process. It has been fun to see how, when one company in an industry converts, the others in that industry soon follow suit. This change happens because using prepaint provides a competitive advantage. Industries such as metal building materials and HVAC equipment have almost completely converted to prepaint. I see many opportunities in consumer appliances, automobiles and transportation, and dozens of other industries are making strides with coil coated metal as well.