Metal coating – The protective industrial guardian
Metal is a tough, strong, durable material used for countless purposes across every industry. From the medical sector to pipelines, construction to the automotive industry, metal coatings enhance, protect, and modify the metals we use to improve and perfect them for their particular applications. Metal coatings provide a layer between the metal substrate and its environment, and this layer can either protect the metal or provide a finish with a specific purpose. Across the US, metal coating protects everything from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans to Seattle’s Space Needle, and all metal coating types and manufacturers are represented across the country. Our infrastructure and transportation industries rely on metal coating – just look at aerospace, automotive, marine, and rail.
Choosing the right coating is a matter of understanding your substrate, its intended usage, its environment, and the kind of finish you hope to achieve. In this article we look at the range of metal coatings and how they protect or modify their substrate, as well as the metal coating manufacturers and suppliers in America.
The benefits of metal coatings
Metal coatings protect and modify (and decorate) their metal substrates. The reasons for applying a polymer coating to a metal include:
- Durability – Polymer coatings give metal extra impact and abrasion resistance, as well as sealing them off from the elements. This extends the lifespan of the metal substrate through extra durability and strength.
- Corrosion resistance – Corrosion is one of the greatest threats to metal. By protecting a metal from the atmosphere, water, chemicals, weather exposure, and moisture, coatings also protect it from the substances that cause corrosion.
- Chemical resistance – Chemical exposure also causes corrosion in metal substrates – chemicals will eat away at a metal, including exposure to acid rain and salt-laden air and water. Chemical resistant coatings protect against this.
- Lubrication/friction reduction – Metals are tough but they also wear and cause friction between moving parts. A coating used as a dry lubricant reduces galling and keeps these surfaces low friction.
The most powerful protective metal coating is what is known as a Duplex System, where a metal coating is applied on top of a metallic coating. There is a distinction between coatings applied to metal, and coatings made of metal – metal coatings vs metallic coatings. A metallic coating is applied in such a way that it can become part of the substrate – galvanizing, anodizing, plating, and other metal-based coating types are all examples of this coating type. When applied together, they form an impenetrable barrier.
More than just anti corrosion – the other metal coating properties
Though the biggest sector in metal coating is corrosion protection, there are polymer coatings used for other purposes too. These include:
- Fire protection – Metals may not burn easily, but fire does cause them to lose strength. Intumescent fire protection coatings insulate and protect infrastructure from this.
- Anti slip – Metal is a slippery surface material, and in areas where a slip could cause serious damage, such as stairs, boat decks, or warehouses, metal coatings are used to give the metal non slip properties.
- High temperature protection – Some metal coatings (like industrial ceramic coating) protect the metal from heat as well as being low friction.
Protective metal coating types and their applications
Metal coating is a broad umbrella covering a wide range of coating types. Each coating type has its own strengths and weaknesses which affect which area they are used for – for example, polyurethanes are particularly UV stable and so many exterior coating applications use polyurethane as a topcoat. Below is a list of the most common metal coating types and their applications:
|Metal Coating Type||Description||Applications|
|Acrylic/alkyd||Usually single-component, corrosion resistant coatings with good gloss and colour retention||Direct to metal finish for farm equipment, corrosion protection, handrails, steels tanks, OEM coatings|
|Ceramic||Extreme temperature resistant and low friction coating with abrasion and chemical resistance||Corrosion and thermal protection coating for pipelines and machinery, coatings for bearing surfaces and mechanical parts|
|Epoxy||A durable, chemical and water resistant, abrasion resistant coating. Commonly used as primers.||Tank and pipeline protection, anti-corrosion protection, automotive paint, architectural hygiene coatings, marine coatings|
|Fluoropolymer||The non-stick coating, low friction and temperature, chemical, and water resistant||Coatings for cookware and food processing machinery, medical devices, electronics and corrosion protection|
|Polyurethane||A durable, UV stable, chemical and water resistant coating with an attractive high-gloss finish||Tank protection, anti-corrosion protection, automotive clear coats, architectural coating|
|Powder||Abrasion, chemical, water resistant coating with an attractive range of finishes||Corrosion protection, appliance coating, architectural coating, pipeline protection, automotive coating|
Find the right industrial metal coating company in the US
America has an array of protective metal coating manufacturers and suppliers with products available nation-wide. International companies like AkzoNobel have their Interpon powder coating range available for steel, aluminium, and other metals, while homegrown companies like PPG Industrial Coatings has a wide range that covers everything from their powder coating range to an extensive liquid paints portfolio. The right metal coating company is the one that provides the services and products that match your needs. Metal Coatings Corp, Rust-Oleum, Sherwin-Williams, Hempel, Axalta, and Sika are just a few of the other big names in the industrial metal coating sector.
If you have a project that requires protective metal coating and would like to be connected with our coating partners, get in touch! Simply use the “Request a Quote” button beneath this article and use our contact form to tell us about your project. Our experts are here to help. We collaborate with our coating partners to connect you to the best metal coating company and products for your needs.