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International Facade Community

The Global Growth of Qualicoat

With its headquarters in Zurich, Qualicoat continues to expand its network across the globe. Qualicoat now welcomes a new association from India, QUALINDAL, based in Mumbai. Qualicoat is sealing its position as the number one architectural finishing association for company accreditation with a global quality label.

The new association in India will offer licences to other applicators, pretreatment suppliers and powder producers from this region. Further news on the global front during 2014 confirmed that a general licence is being agreed for RAEA (Russian Aluminium Extruders Alliance). Qualicoat Zurich also confirmed that there were more country general licences in the pipeline.

As a testament to the global nature of the Qualicoat standard; standing at 310m, the Shard is Western Europe's tallest building and certainly most iconic. Its extensive glazed aluminium framing, is coated with Class 2 Architectural Powder Coating, applied to the global Qualicoat Specification.

Using 11,000 aluminium framed Glass Panels, the area of the glazed facade is 56,000 square metres, which equals the area of eight football pitches. With restricted access, it is vital that the powder coating to the Aluminium Profiles is robust and stands the test of time.

For the majority of uses today, Polyester Powder Coating to Class 1 is adequate in the UK’s normal temperate zone and, with appropriate maintenance, will offer a long and useful life. For more exposed conditions, such as the Shard, changing the formulation to an IPA Polyester, combined with higher quality pigments, both gloss retention and colour retention can be substantially improved for an even longer life. Known as Class 2, or ‘Super Durable’ Powders, these materials are often twice as expensive as Class 1. The increase in cost is more than outweighed by the excellent weathering capabilities of Class 2 powders and there has been a significant increase in the specification of these finishes over the last few years for high specification buildings and structures.

The Qualicoat Standard, now in its 13th edition, can be freely downloaded from the European website www.qualicoat.net. 

The standard offers an in-depth specification of a powder coating process. It encompasses other powder coating standards e.g. BS EN 12206-1:2004 in its entirety. Only APPROVED APPLICATORS who have been independently inspected and have been proven to adhere to the stringent levels laid down in the standard can they use the Qualicoat logo and seal of approval. For example, in the UK all members are regularly visited, without prior notice by an independent assessor, Exova. If, during inspection, quality standards laid down by Qualicoat are not being met then the powder coating company may lose its licence.

In addition to ‘Application’ Qualicoat also set standards for the ‘Powders’ used and the ‘chemical pretreatment’ in the process. Therefore, Qualicoat  membership comprises – Applicators, Powder manufacturers and Chemical Supply companies. QUALICOAT is uniquely, a vertically integrated Quality Label.

As the Qualicoat standard is constantly being reviewed and improved by its independent membership, there is no need to quote a descriptive specification. The use of ‘Qualicoat approved supply’ within a coating specification is sufficient to ensure material is provided by a Qualicoat Approved supplier in the UK, or overseas, in accordance with the most up to date Qualicoat standards.

As the quality of powder formulations improve and become more competitive, the association has seen an increase in the specification of more resilient powders. Class 2 powders are now becoming more widely specified, as on the Shard, they can also offer extended warranties on both gloss levels and UV stabilisation and it is here that the association is seeing growth in specification in both the high rise commercial and residential sector.

Qualicoat UK and Ireland have recently successfully obtained RIBA approved status for their CPD entitled ‘Setting the Standard for Architectural Powder Coating’. The CPD material aims to inform architects about this global voluntary quality label known as Qualicoat and to explain the benefits of the R&D that is undertaken by its members on behalf of the wider industry. The powder coat process is explained, as well as the growth of the premium powder formulations which are now being specified on our high rise and prestigious projects across the UK and Ireland.

Alan Maginnis, Qualicoat UK & Ireland’s President commented, “We are delighted to be able to offer this CPD to any architect practice through our wide network of Qualicoat members. I hope it will demonstrate our commitment to providing not only high quality finishes for any building project but the ability to work with specifiers at early design stages to select the most appropriate classes of powder and pretreatment systems.”

Demonstrating a commitment to upholding quality in the UK’s industry and abroad, a  further two specialists in the industry have recently joined the Qualicoat UK & Ireland association:

Glazing Vision are a bespoke roof light manufacturer based in Norfolk. Capitalising on the ethos ‘minimise framework – maximise daylight’ the company offers high quality solutions for all types of projects and have shipped and installed product around the globe. The importance of becoming a Qualicoat Applicator licence holder ensures their powder coating finishes meets an internationally recognised standard.

Alufinish, based in Germany, have begun supplying their pretreatment systems to the UK and Ireland. Their products have been rigorously tested through Qualicoat for use in Europe and the company wish to support the work of Qualicoat UK & Ireland. Alufinish offer a wide range of pretreatment systems for use on various metallic substrates.

In the UK, Qualicoat UK & Ireland represent the interests of the majority of best powder coaters in the UK. Regular meetings are held for members and presentations of specific items of interest help members keep up with legislation and technology. Working together on research projects, the UK’s technical groups work hand in hand with the wider Qualicoat global community which in turn feeds into frequent reviews of the Qualicoat standard applicable to all members.

A copy of Qualicoat’s Annual Report is available on the Qualicoat UK & Ireland website as a PDF download and outlines the global organisations activities during 2013.

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