Coatings: There are many options

by John G. Smith

TAMPA, Fla. – Manufacturers have an array of coatings to consider when they’re looking to protect components from corrosion.

The following are among those that were highlighted during the Technology and Maintenance Council’s focus on corrosion control:

VSE COATING – The U.S. Army has spent US$2 million to test and validate 20 corrosion prevention and control systems, says Lou Lawrence, assistance vice-president with VSE Corporation. (The focus isn’t surprising when you consider that the U.S. Reserves are running vehicles in Iraq that are more than 30 years old.)

VSE’s rust-inhibiting coating now used by the military is available through 240 corrosion service centres in the U.S. and Canada, and can be applied over paint at a cost of a few hundred dollars per tractor.

POWDER COATING – “Powder coat paint systems really raise the industry standard,” says Dave Hammes, senior manager of sales and marketing of Waltco Liftgates.

The process involves removing surface contaminants – usually through shot blasting steel with shot measuring 19 to 22 thousandths of an inch wide – and applying a paint as an electrostatic mist. (The paint is negative, the steel is positive.)

That’s then baked in a 400-degree oven.

“The films are far less porous than traditional paint,” he says. “And it’s extremely environmentally friendly.”

BLACK ARMOUR METAL TREATMENT – The Holland Group’s focus on chip resistance led it to use Black Armour Metal Treatment for everything from lift gates to landing gear.

Traditional paints absorb water, and the freeze/thaw cycle rips the coating apart, explains Steve DuPay, director of research and development, describing the new approach as a process that allows a steel part to “grow an impervious protective skin.”

The treatment forms a mechanical bond that’s 10 times more impermeable than a swimming pool liner, he says.

“It’s not sacrificial. It is not a paint.” And corrosion won’t creep if the surface is damaged.

CERAMICS – Developed by NASA in the 1970s ceramics have new commercial applications, says Todd Beiswenger, a technical and engineering representative with Jethot Coatings.

It can be used to create a bond between an aluminum coating and steel – hit it and it will dent before it comes off.

It keeps the coating flexible, and can withstand hot exhaust components up to 1,300 F.

“What’s holding it all together is a chemical binder. This is the magic of the coating,” he says. Initial uses could include vocational trucks, where hot exhaust systems can’t be cooled by fast-flowing air, he adds.

Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.