powder by design

Welcome to issue three of 'powder by design'. Our short newsletter comes out only 4 times a year, but is packed full of useful info, tips and real life examples specific to powder coatings for architecture and design. This issue focuses on powders for exteriors.

In this issue we look at how powder coatings can contribute to LEED designs and allow you to get the same level of performance as a traditional liquid PVDF coating AND make the environmentally responsible choice. Find out exactly what we do to get a powder sample panel to you - and what you can do to make the process run smoothly, as well as the different types of metallic powders and the awesome new DFW renewal project and the part IFS powder is playing.

IFS powder LEEDs the way for smart, environmentally responsible design
IFS powder offers the environmentally responsible choice.
There are many reasons why IFS powder is the more environmentally responsible coating:
  • The same levelsof protection as liquid PVDF paint without the VOC's? Check.
  • Solid, metallic and even anodized effect colors? Check.
  • AAMA 2605 compliance and many environmental benefits? Check.
  • Years of experience protecting and decorating beautiful buildings? Check.
Aside from the fact that it's tough, chemical and corrosion resistant (in line with AAMA tests), and weathers well, which reduces the need for replacement products, it also looks great and allows you to make a great design choice, while adhering to good environmental design principles.
We all know powder has no VOC's or solvents; that it contains no toxic compounds; that over spray can be reclaimed, reused and recycled, which gives a superb utilization rate; that it does not require a chrome based primer, removing toxic chrome chemicals from the process; that there is a choice of pretreatment options - with, or without chrome - that will still give AAMA 2605 performance; that it is EPA recommended...the list goes on.
But with LEED standards leading the way as an industry benchmark, what we really want to know is how does it perform in LEED V4 Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) tests? We teamed up with Mike Rapport, owner of Frontier Aluminum, based in California, to check out exactly what a LEED EPD requires and how powder coating performs.
"Being more responsible manufacturers, more responsible designers, more responsible architects - it's important to us. Getting LEED EPD certified was one way we could really offer the US architectural market an honest, certified, high quality, expertly finished aluminum extrusion option. The EPD process took a lot of time and effort, but we knew the facts would speak for themselves" explained Mike.
Rapport continues, "We went through a full Life Cycle Analysis that included how we extrude our aluminum through to the various finishing options available. We were tested against all of the LEED EPD categories, which are acidification potential, eutrophication potential, global warming potential, smog potential and primary energy demand. When it came to finishing choice, we compared the 3 different ways of finishing our aluminum; painting, anodizing and powder coating. The results from our official LEED EPD are shown below. I don't need to say anything else."
For more information on how IFS powder can help you make the environmentally responsible choice please contact Fiona at flevin@ifscoatings.com.

Did you know?


Powder coating can be reclaimed and recycled or reused?


Make the environmentally responsible choice.

Choose IFS powder coatings.  

Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble...
What does it take to get a powder panel to you?
As design professionals, we know you want to see exactly what your finish will look like, and you have questions. What is that color powder going to look like on aluminum? Can you match the shade in this fabric swatch in powder? We like it but it's not quite right - can you warm it up a little? Can I get that tomorrow?
These are all valid questions, and yes, we will do our absolute best to get you those panels as quickly as possible. But is it just like mixing up paint in your local Home Depot, or is there a little more involved? Kreg Gardner, IFS Architectural Business Development Manager takes us through the process - and offers up tips and hints to help make the process run smoothly.
How is the powder made?
"It's actually a pretty simple process. We weigh out our raw materials (there are no solvents, which means no VOC's, in powder coatings) and shake and blend them together to start the mixing process. The mixture is put into an extruder, which uses controlled heat and pressure to completely homogenize the mix. The hot extradite is then forced out through chilled rollers, which cool it very quickly, making it cold, thin and brittle. It comes out onto the cooling rack in long sheets, and all we have to do at that point is break it down and grind it up into powder."
How does the powder get onto the panels we receive?
"It's a simple electrostatic process. The powder is put into a spray gun that has electrodes at the end of it. When the spray gun is fired, the powder is discharged and picks up the electrostatic charge from the electrodes. The panels are grounded, so the powder is attracted to them. Once the panels are coated, they go into an oven, where the powder cures, hardens and forms a whole new chemistry on the panel."
Are metallic shades made in the same way?
"Good question! The powder is made in the same way, but at IFS we bond all our metallics. This means that we put the powder and metallic flake through a process that makes the tiny metallic flakes stick to the powder particles. It ensures a much more even and professional finish. At IFS we do all our bonding in house, so we don't have to send it elsewhere for that process to happen."
So it can't be made on a job site?
"Correct, we can't make powder on a job site or even at a coating line. The good news is that this ensures good quality control and we can ensure that all of the required raw materials, including all the expensive ones, go into the formula in their correct quantities. Powder is a factory applied finish."
So how do you make adjustments, for example, to the color, if we don't like it or it's not quite right?
"Unfortunately it's not as easy as mixing up an interior house paint, where you can just add more and more color, until you get the right shade. We have to start the process all over again. Once the raw materials have been through the extruder, they are all melted together - we can't "unmelt" them! So if the color isn't quite right, then we start all over again, adjust the pigment quantities, and create a whole new powder. Having a color sample to match to makes things a lot quicker, because as you can imagine, your idea of "a bit warmer" and mine might be totally different!"
So what are the turnaround times that you can offer?
"We have thousands of customers, and everyone wants their powder yesterday! We understand this, but for obvious reasons we can't make everyone's powder for tomorrow! To give you an idea of timings on our end, it takes one technician about half a day to do the color matching, make the powder and prepare the sample panels. At IFS we're lucky. Our manufacturing footprint is designed to allow us to make large batches of powder (up to 1,000,000lbs) but also make small batches without affecting other types of production. For this reason we offer a powder industry leading turnaround time of 7 - 10 days from when we receive the panels. Metallics can take slightly longer due to the bonding process.
We can and do push this turnaround time and get powder and panels out the door much more quickly. If you were our only customer, we could get it to you really quickly! But we also wouldn't be in business. When your request comes in there are other requests ahead of yours. Of course we'll do our best to help you out if you're in a tight spot, but we also have to be realistic! "
So what slows the process down?
"I think we're pretty efficient, but there are some things we just can't change. As you can imagine, if we go from making a bright raspberry pink, to a soft white, there's some machine cleaning involved between batches. We also can't control the mail. People think the day it leaves their desk is day 1, when in reality, it's probably gone to someone else's desk, is sent the following day, and then we're in the hands of the postal service. Our lead time starts from when we receive it - we can't control what the various mail delivery services do, though believe me - I wish we could!"
Any other tips?
"Powder coatings really are the environmentally responsible choice, in so many different ways, and for this reason they are the coating of the future. You can see the process we go through to make the product and the quality and performance of the powder on a building is exceptional. Totally worth it! Starting your color choice in plenty of time, allows us the time to get your matches to you efficiently, and if it's not quite right the first time, we can still get a rematch done to you within your deadline. The more we work together, we'll figure out your needs and we can work together to make the process as smooth as possible!"
For more information contact flevin@ifscoatings.com or call 520.345.7513.
Can powder be touched up in the field?


Yes. The good news is powder doesn't scratch as much as liquid PVDF paint due to its thermosetting properties, however accidents do happen. Though you can't touch up powder with powder in the field (yet - watch this space!) you can touch up small scratches with an acrylic based aerosol paint. The color is simply matched to the powder and then sprayed on just like you would spray and blend a scratch in your car. Simple.

For more information contact Fiona on flevin@ifscoatings.com

How do we put metallic flake into powder?
Metallic or 'sparkly' look coatings are incredibly popular, and getting this look in a powder coating is no problem. There are two types of metallic or sparkle look powders - bonded and non bonded. So which is better and how do we get the metallic flake in there?   
Non-bonded sparkle look powders
With non bonded powders the powder base is manufactured, the metal flake is mixed into the powder, and the mixture is sprayed onto the substrate.
Bonded sparkle look powders 
With bonded powders the powder base is manufactured, then we heat the base coat using friction and then add the metallic flake. We continue to heat them and the two particles (the powder and the metallic flake) fuse together or "bond". The bonded material is cooled down and then sprayed onto the substrate in the normal way.
Bonding the metallic leads to a more equal distribution of metallic flake throughout the powder and a much improved visual appeal. At IFS we have a high tech in house bonding department so that we maintain control over all our metallic or sparkle look powders.
It's all in a name
New name for IFS architectural powder range
Making sure our architectural grade powders are easy to remember, easy to specify and easy to figure out how they comply with the AAMA specifications were all key factors in our decision to rename the IFS architectural range products.
The architectural range now looks like this
AAMA compliance
Product level
IFS product name
AAMA 2603 Standard Polyester
AAMA 2604
Super Durable
AAMA 2605
Each product type comes in a vast array of colors and effects, and custom color matching is available. Additional functionality, such as superior scratch and mar resistance, anti-microbial capability and anti-graffiti capability can also be added to some of these powders. The high quality, thoroughly tested recipe, that has been adding super protection to buildings for many, many years has not changed. Only the name is different.
For your copy of the IFS architectural brochure please contact Fiona at flevin@ifscoatings.com
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program (TRIP)
Gordon, Inc., a nationally recognized leader and manufacturer of sustainable specialty architectural metal products located in Bossier City, LA. Gordon's expertise in manufacturing includes products for interior and exterior applications that are designed to serve commercial, acoustical, educational, cleanroom, data center, healthcare, correctional, industrial, and institutional environments. Gordon, Inc. was selected to provide the interior specialty metal ceiling systems for the DFW Airport Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program (TRIP).
The architectural specifications required aesthetics rendering a glossy, textured and highly durable finish.   IFS Architectural was selected by Gordon, Inc. to provide a high quality powder finish and together both parties engaged in a joint product development process to accomplish the architectural design objectives in a high performance formulation.  IFS's challenge was to replicate a heavy structure surface appearance that provides coverage in a single coat high build/high transfer formulation. The resulting product was a 1-coat, heavy structured/textured effect, with a glossy white finish. 
Cody Peddicord, Technical Manager commented "We were really pleased to work together with Gordon Inc. on this project and successfully produce a product that in a single coat, requiring deposition of 3-5 mils, obtained the required appearance and architectural design objectives."  
This exciting new coating became the specified finish for all remodeled ceiling systems at DFW Airport terminals A, B, C, and E.
Choosing a high quality, AAMA compliant competitive finish is an important part of the design process IFS Architectural will continuously work in partnership with manufacturers, architects, designers, and consultants to ensure the right coating is specified every time.
For more information or to receive the IFS Retail Environment brochure for free, please contact flevin@ifscoatings.com

Questions to                                                                           IFS Coatings

Fiona Levin-Smith                                                                  3601 N Interstate 35

flevin@ifscoatings.com                                                          Gainesville, TX 76240

520.345.7513                                                                         www.ifscoatings.com