A Partnership That Paid Off

Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2016

When a leading fabricator of steel hydraulic lines and powder coater was faced with a new demand from their biggest customer, they knew they could turn to the technical team of their surface finishing supplier, Hubbard-Hall.

1st Demand: Increase Salt Spray Protection

Faced with the inability to meet corrosion and salt spray testing requirements, they needed some answers quickly. Their customer, a large OEM, required 96 hours of ASTM B-117 salt spray protection on bare steel tubing. One of Hubbard-Hall’s corrosion experts, Larry Ensley, Technical Director, came on site to evaluate the situation. After analyzing their process and running some tests, Larry came up with a solution. By applying Metal Guard 510, a water displacing rust preventative, over Hubfos 150, an iron phosphate, over the bare steel tubing they were able to meet the required 96 hours of ASTM B-117 salt spray protection.

2nd Demand: Increase Paint Adhesion by 52%

Because of their success in solving the bare steel salt spray problem, the powder coater was presented a tougher challenge by the same large account; increase their ASTM D-1654 paint adhesion results from 240 hours to 500 hours.

When Larry was presented with this new demand he rubbed his hands and said, “I love a good challenge.”

Larry knew that he could achieve the 500 hours of paint adhesion if he got them to switch to Hubbard-Hall’s zirconium conversion coating, Emerald Paint Prep 390 LT. In addition to meeting the paint adhesion requirement, this phosphate-free conversion coating does not add any heavy metals into the waste stream. The lower operating temperature also reduces energy costs and can be applied with only 30 seconds of contact time.

The only issue with switching to the zirconium conversion coating was that they would have to make some capital investment and that simply wasn’t an option at the time.

Larry was happy, his challenge was still at play.

After extensive testing Larry not only achieved the of 500 hours paint adhesion he exceeded it by 100% How did he do this? He used Hubbard-Hall’s iron phosphate, Hubfos 150 and their zirconium sealer, Emerald Seal 308. By choosing this new process the customer was able to use their existing equipment and process parameters. The only change necessary was the replacement of the existing non-chrome sealer with Emerald Seal 308. The use of Hubfos 150 with the Emerald Seal 308 allowed them achieve 750 to 1000 hours of ASTM D-1654 paint adhesion, thus surpassing the 500 hour requirement without any capital expenditure.


This is a prefect example of how having a close partnership with your supplier pays off. They were able to fine tune the process to achieve results that were far beyond what they thought were possible. The knowledge and ability displayed by Hubbard-Hall’s technical team provided the customer with realistic solutions that were readily adopted. Below is the customer’s new process that meets their OEM’s current requirements…until the next challenge arrives of course.