Bracket with zinc flake coating

Zinc-Flake Coating

Over 80% of the requests we receive from current or potential customers deal with the application of coatings to combat corrosion, be it environmental, chemical or temperature related. However, of these requests, the majority are environmental and can be solved with a zinc-flake coating solution. We will delve into ways to combat the other types of corrosion in another post.

An Explanation of Zinc-Flake Coating Systems

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Bracket coated with Magni

What is Cyclic Corrosion Testing?

Cyclic Corrosion Testing 101

In the past several years, Cyclic Corrosion Testing, or CCT, has become a common practice in the automotive industry.

Designed to accelerate corrosion in a laboratory environment, CCT tests how materials used in the auto sector will react to the weather, stimuli, and conditions encountered on the road.This, in turn, allows manufacturers to prepare their materials accordingly, contributing to the longevity and durability of modern automobiles.

What is Cyclic Corrosion Testing?

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Electrostatic Spray

HVLP Spray vs Electrostatic Spray

As an exclusively rack-spray applicator, DECC utilizes two types of spray guns to apply coating to our customer’s parts. Due to EPA regulations, we are not allowed to use conventional spray guns so we use HVLP and electrostatic spray guns. Both have their pros and cons but are extremely effective in providing complete coating coverage, with limited waste, when used on the proper part geometries.

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Fischerscope used for measuring coating thickness

The Three C’s: Coverage, Cure & Cross Hatch

Customers often ask us technical performance questions about the coatings DECC applies. Will the coating pass this test or that? Will it reach this many hours in salt spray? Can it withstand this temperature? Depending on the coating, our answer is usually some variation of “it should…”

This may seem like a cop out. Why won’t we stand behind or guarantee a coating’s performance? As DECC is only a coating applicator, we do not manufacture the coating. Magni, Doerken, Dow, Henkel, etc, design and produce their coatings to meet certain performance characteristics. They tell us what their coatings will do. As long as DECC applies the coatings per the manufacturer’s process recipe, they should exhibit all the performance attributes of which they were designed.

So how do we ensure that the coatings are applied correctly? With the three C’s: coverage, cure and cross hatch.

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Gas filler tubes with corrosion resistant coating

The Importance of Fixture Design

Probably one of the most overlooked, or misunderstood, aspects of applying coating via a rack-spray method is the importance of fixture design. In the shortest explanation possible: you can’t just hang a part on a hook and throw coating at it. There are many fixture related contributions that help ensure a component has an adequate, consistent, and high quality film build on the entire part.

Limiting the Faraday cage effect

Because DECC utilizes an electrostatic spray process, we constantly battle the Faraday cage effect. The Faraday cage effect is the repulsion of charged coating particles from recessed and concave areas of a component, preventing the penetration of coating into said area. There are a couple of design features with our fixture DECC considers to help limit this.

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DECC's Quality Inspection Area

Dyne Testing for Surface Cleanliness

What is Dyne testing?

Our last blog detailed the various methods of which to prep a part substrate prior to the application of coating to ensure performance. When the prep method is mechanical, a visual inspection can verify that the prep was done adequately (a blasted surface should exhibit a “frosty” appearance).

However, we are often asked by customers how we verify a clean surface after our chemical prep process. As a quick and easy measurement for part cleanliness and surface tension, DECC utilizes Dyne test inks.

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Tumble blast machine and Pangborn

Common Surface Prep Types

A coating only performs to the level of the surface of which it is applied. In other words, if the surface of a component is not adequately prepped before the application of coating, that coating will not perform. This goes for not only the high-performance, functional coatings that DECC applies, but all coatings.

There are three main types of surface preparation that can be performed prior to applying coating.

Thermal prep

  • Placing parts into an oven at a predetermined temperature
  • Temperature is determined based on the final coating used and substrate being baked. Prebake temp must be above the final cure temperature of the coating by at least 50°F. However, the substrate must be able to withstand the prebake temperature.
  • Prebaking will remove oils and grease, but the dirt particulate embedded in the oil may still be present. That is where a mechanical removal may have to be introduced to remove contaminates completely.

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A palnut coated with a dry-film lubricant

Full Film Properties & Cure

In our last blog we discussed the criteria of what makes a coating functional, which is when a coating has performance characteristics that go above and beyond being just decorative or protective. In order for a coating to perform at is highest intended level, it must be processed to ensure it exhibits full film properties.

Coating manufacturers design coatings to do some pretty amazing things when you consider how thin they are applied (typically a mil or less for the coatings DECC sprays). However, if they are not applied and processed in accordance to the PDS (Product Data Sheet), the manufacturer will not guarantee performance. Probably the most important step to guarantee a coating’s performance is to ensure the proper bake time and temperatures have been achieved during cure.

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Armatures coated with functional coating Bonderite S-FN 333

What is a Functional Coating?

What is a Functional Coating?

The tagline under our name on the homepage of our web site says that The DECC Company is “Your Functional Coating Application Specialist.” But what does it mean to say certain coatings are “functional” – aren’t all coatings designed to perform a specific function? Well…yes. However, there are certain attributes that set the coatings DECC applies apart from others.

Not Powder Coat, E-Coat or Plating

Powder coating, E-Coat (or electrodeposition coating) and plating all have different advantages and disadvantages dependent on their individual applications, but they all provide essentially the same one to two functions – cosmetic appearance and corrosion protection. Powder coat and E-coat look appealing and can provide 250 to 960hrs of corrosion protection, while standalone plating can achieve 240 to 720hrs…give or take depending on the type of plating.

However, the coatings DECC applies can have a variety of functions and, due to our spray method of application, are also cosmetically appealing. For instance:

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Jukebox

The Beginning

It’s 1964. Gas is $.30 per gallon. Average annual income is $6,000. Average cost of a new house is $13,000. A new car is $3,500. Mail is 5 cents. Beatlemania is sweeping the nation. The Beatles number one hit, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, is blaring on the jukebox. Kids are dancing to the music like parents have never seen before. The care free days of teenagers enjoying this rock and roll music is rampant. The dance hall floors are bouncing. Dust and dirt is clouding the air…flowing through the jukeboxes…accumulating inside…making the mechanisms skip, missing selections, preventing kids from trying to dance to their favorite tunes. This must be a parental conspiracy! If the jukeboxes break down, the kids can’t dance anymore! Continue reading The Beginning