When it comes to a structure’s long-term ability to remain vibrant and durable, architectural details play a major role. Once components such as railings, curtain walls, windows, and other aluminum extrusions are subjected to the forces of mother nature, high traffic, and the passage of time, they can show their vulnerability, ultimately detracting from the overall aesthetic of the building.
How can project managers make certain that their building shines well beyond the ribbon-cutting and initial fanfare? One sure-fire method is to ensure that quality architectural products receive a tested, reliable protective coating.
Contemporary powder coatings now tout greater durability, corrosion resistance, and even sustainability. Beyond their enhanced performance characteristics, these same powder coatings also offer versatility in terms of finish and color, options that can meet—and even exceed—the standard set by the most discerning eyes.
Up to Task; Up to Code
Aesthetic is a keystone of any design. So, too, is ensuring that any architectural component is structurally sound. The standards set by the Fenestration and Glazing Industrial Alliance and the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (FGIA/AAMA) aim to ensure vital metal parts are less likely to fall into disrepair.
AAMA 2603, 2604, and 2605–the industry standard performance specifications for residential, commercial, and high-end architectural and monumental applications respectively–ensure that the coating provides a certain level of durability and protection for a range of interior and exterior applications. These specifications apply to both liquid and powder metal coating formulations.
Unlike liquid coatings that are typically 70% polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), newer generations of architectural powders are often formulated with 100% fluoroethylene vinyl ether (FEVE). This makes them the ideal coating choice for high-value, high-visibility projects that require peak weathering performance.
This FEVE formulation ramps up powder’s durability, making it one of the premier coating options for aluminum extrusions. As a result, projects that employ such protective coatings typically exceed FGIA/AAMA requirements, ensuring that vital components of the structure can withstand the harshest environments.
There is plenty of momentum behind the advancements of new powder coating formulations for architectural applications. Powder coating manufacturers are continually improving on standard FEVE powders and are placing an even greater emphasis on efficiency, sustainability, and novel, on-trend aesthetics.
PPG Innovations for Lasting Protection
Already an established leader and industry pioneer in the formulation of high-performance metal coatings, PPG has continued to push the limits of protection for architectural extrusions and sheet aluminum. Their newest offering–PPG CORAFLON® PLATINUM powder–is a FEVE coating that pushes the boundaries on what is expected from a top-tier coating.
Boasting high transfer efficiency (HTE) rates 20% above standard FEVE powder coatings, Coraflon Platinum also offers better single coat corrosion resistance. It delivers a fast film build and produces very little waste, even in difficult-to-reach cavities. Because powder is an electrostatic process that applies charged particles to a grounded part, more paint ends up on the substrate. Plus, any powder overspray can be reclaimed, avoiding the spray-to-waste process that is characteristic of liquid paint.
Though typically applied as a single coat, Coraflon Platinum can be used as part of a two-layer system on steel, a notable point of differentiation. This significantly improves product longevity and structural integrity for metal materials, while ensuring that building components are protected from corrosion that can degrade the substrate. Coraflon Platinum is available globally and can be manufactured in any of PPG’s powder plants across the world.
Powders like Coraflon Platinum have a long and stable shelf life that, when stored properly, minimizes product loss, something that liquid paints simply cannot match. Powder also has superior batch-after-batch color consistency, which benefits additions to existing projects where color matching is a priority. Able to accommodate a broader range of on-trend finishes like bonded metallics, ultra-smooth surfaces, multi-color textures, and matte finishes, powder does so while delivering a durable finish that is free from abrasions, mars, and scratches.
Through a sustainability lens, Coraflon Platinum is a true game changer, showing a 72% improvement in product carbon footprint per kilogram of material than the original Coraflon® formula.
Compared to the competition, Coraflon Platinum emits 70% less e-caprolactam, a blocking agent that creates smoke. In fact, PPG specifically formulated the powder with fewer chemicals of concern. This is helpful to building owners and architects who are seeking green building designations for their projects, including LEED points.
Such sustainability aims match a global shift in volatile organic compound (VOC) regulations to reduce the amount of hazardous waste that goes to landfills. Unlike liquid coatings that can contain VOC-releasing solvents, powder coatings are generally made without solvents. That means powders like Coraflon Platinum give off little to no VOC emissions.
A one-coat application along with the improved first pass build rate equates to less waste in the application of today’s powder coatings. This ultimately contributes to greater sustainability, because less powder is needed for coverage and less is wasted during the process.
There is a common misconception that the sustainability advantages of powder coatings come at the expense of performance or appearance. Powder coatings such as PPG’s Coraflon Platinum provide plenty of versatility when it comes to aesthetics, including a wide range of colors and textures. These include popular anodized finishes, hammer tones, and finishes that mimic terracotta, cement, and even stone. Each provides standout corrosion resistance and long-term colorfastness not possible with the traditional anodizing process. Mica and metallic finishes can also be utilized to create dynamic, high-end looks without compromising on protection or longevity.
Coraflon Platinum is engineered to provide an unmatched gloss range, creating finishes that were previously unobtainable in a powder such as the ever-popular matte anodized colors. Extended gloss ranges from 5-85 are possible, compared to 25-70 for standard FEVE products.
These advances equate to sustainability gains, extended product lifespans, cost savings and new, creative ways to achieve on-trend looks that are often more affordable and lighter weight than the genuine materials. And they withstand the test of time. Coraflon Platinum’s optimum durability is backed by over a decade of third-party testing data and more than 4,000 hours of cyclic corrosion testing.
PPG coatings innovations are backed by one of the largest libraries of colors and special effect finishes in the industry. Each year, the company selects a single defining color and coordinating palette that helps products and manufacturers stand apart with on-trend looks.
This year’s PPG Color of the Year, Limitless, is a contemporary honey beige that is expected to inspire architectural design and styling for years to come as architects and builders are broadening their palette behind standard blacks, browns, greys, and whites. Such color options are available for details like extrusions, which can help projects break away from traditional looks.
A Global Shift in Protection
Taken together, the benefits of powder coatings such as Coraflon Platinum coatings from PPG–durability, versatile aesthetics, less waste, and sustainability advantages–are driving adoption of powder coatings for architectural extrusions across the globe. In fact, extrusions are one of the fastest-growing industries for powder coatings, demonstrating a shift away from traditional liquid protective formulations.
The rollout of powders that are high on sustainability and low on waste comes at an important time. More responsible engineering coupled with more efficient means of application equate to a smaller environmental impact without sacrificing performance or aesthetics. Advancements in powder for architectural metal is driving value for building product manufacturers, architects, designers, specifiers and building owners.
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