Repeatedly, high performance paints and coatings come under the spotlight in this context, particularly where the use of new materials is a key factor.
“The greater take-up of composites is a prime example and one where we have worked closely with a number of customers to address the issues that arise,” says Brian Norton, managing director of Birmingham-based Indestructible Paint who specialise in the performance coating field. “Such material is continually developing, and being used evermore widely, so it is a constant challenge to ensure coatings not only contribute to component performance but also, importantly, help to address vital factors such as safety.”
By way of illustration, Norton draws attention to the aerospace sector as a major field in which the company works with many of the industry’s leading international names. Here, the use of composite materials can be widely noted – from operational components to aircraft structures and interiors.
“Clearly safety is paramount in this field, not least the need to minimise risks from fire, so our development of intumescent and thermal barrier coatings for composite material is highly relevant,” continues Norton.
Perhaps, more recently, the emergence of hybrid and electric vehicles brings these same principles to the fore.
“The choice of materials within which batteries are located in a vehicle is an important consideration with, once again, composites being a widespread solution,” adds Norton. “Similar risks need to be addressed, particularly as such material fires can often create toxic smoke and fumes – which in an enclosed environment such as a car is of particular concern. It is particularly crucial, therefore, that the material benefits from a retardant coating.”
As a result, Indestructible Paint has developed a range of products – from thermal barrier and intumescent coatings to non-burn and no-smoke release top coats – that meet this crucial need. The company’s IP2430 and IP9189, for example, are able to meet a range of performance tests such as the ability to withstand temperatures of 180°C for 100 hours. The two-pack, low VOC brush or spray applied coatings are air drying and, importantly, can resist high velocity air movement. In all cases, these key products have been developed as a direct result of Indestructible Paint’s operational methods.
“Close working relationships with customers and the maintenance of a highly innovative research and development capability are at the heart of this,” concludes Norton. “As a result, not only are we confident of keeping pace with the growing use of composites in engineering and manufacturing, but also of being able to respond rapidly to new material needs when they arise.”