powder by design

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

Powder coatings are a growing architectural trend. Of course they boast great attributes - superior color and gloss retention over time, a vast array of colors and effects available and AAMA compliance to name but a few. But what the industry now sees is architects and designers beginning to walk the walk (and not just talk the talk) when it comes to sustainability in design. Powder coatings offer a more sustainable coating choice without compromising on performance or aesthetics. Fact. As more and more design professionals make this simple sustainable switch, we are bringing you the latest in architectural powder coating information, technology, news and successes.


  Back to basics

 Your simple guide to architectural powder


With so many choices available for a building design, you can be forgiven for not remembering the ins and outs of all of them. Here's a gentle reminder on the 3 basic types of architectural powder and what they'll do for you.

Powder coatings for architectural applications are designed and manufactured with the AAMA specifications in mind. AAMA (American Architectural Manufacturers Association) has three specifications, that any architectural grade coating - be it liquid or powder applied to aluminum, can be tested against. These tests include weathering, color and gloss retention, salt and humidity resistance, chemical resistance and mechanical performance, to name but a few. If the coating passes the tests outlined in each specification, then it is AAMA compliant.

There are 3 key specifications, AAMA 2603, 2604 and 2605. These specs keep it simple. They ensure that you know exactly what to expect of the coating over a set number of years.

The base, entry level architectural powder coating complies with the base level AAMA specification, AAMA 2603. These powders are usually standard polyester powders and can be used on both interior and lower end exterior applications (windows, doors, fencing, fixtures, handrails, interiors etc.). These coatings have to pass a 1 year Florida test (see below for a simple guide to what Florida testing really means).

The mid-range architectural powder coating is a Super Durable Polyester, commonly called a Super Durable. These coatings comply with AAMA 2604 (5 years Florida testing) and are generally used on exterior applications including windows, doors and commercial storefront. Super Durables can be used for interior applications, but unless the surface will experience a lot of UV exposure, this level of coating is not really needed - a standard polyester powder will suffice.

The top performing powder coating is a Fluoropolymer powder coating. These powders comply with AAMA 2605 and are often referred to as a 70% Kynar equivalent. Fluoropolymer powders are perfect for exterior use as they are designed to pass 10 years Florida testing and are used on high end windows, doors, louvers, storefront and curtain wall, for residential, commercial and monumental buildings.

The 3 types of architectural powder coating and the IFS architectural product are outlined below.

AAMA specification Powder Type IFS product
AAMA 2603 Standard Polyester Ecuracote
AAMA 2604 Super Durable Polyester Ecoset
AAMA 2605 Fluoropolymer Fluoroset


Specifying one of these product types ensures you know exactly what that coating will do when it's on the building. For your own simple guide to specifying and using powder coatings, which covers this information and much more, please contact Fiona at IFS on flevin@ifscoatings.com and we will be happy to send you your own simple powder guide.

For more information on IFS architectural coatings, talk to your representative or call 520.345.7513



Did you know?


There are no VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) or solvents in powder coatings.


Make the environmentally responsible choice.

Choose IFS powder coatings



Keeping it clean - protecting the Department of New York Sanitation


Due for completion this year, the Manhattan District's 1/2/5 Garage, at the corner of Spring and West Street in New York City will be the new home of three district garages for the NYC Department of Sanitation. Construction Specialties supplied the custom made, perforated metal sunshade blades, coated with Fluoroset Powder Coating, which protect the exterior of the building. These technically excellent blades will bring the building together visually while simultaneously mitigating sun exposure.

Coating choice for the blades was crucial, ensuring they look great without impinging on performance and offering excellent weatherability. Fluoroset, IFS's AAMA 2605 compliant Fluoropolymer powder coating, was the number one choice for the job.

Fluoroset is designed to offer the ultimate in exterior protection from high performance weatherability to excellent mechanical and chemical resistance. The performance capability of Fluoropolymer powder coatings has been consistently proven time and time again on the many thousands of projects that feature them, and on top of that, Fluoroset offers outstanding weatherability and excellent warranties.

The NYC Department of Sanitation building is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, so using Fluoroset powder coatings adds to the sustainable footprint of the 45,000 square foot building. Fluoroset truly proved to be the environmentally responsible choice, offering many advantages including, no VOCs, no toxic compounds, the ability to reclaim, recycle and reuse of overspray, and single coat superior performance, which meant less product was required and no chrome-based primer was needed for the top coat to perform.

Florida testing - your explanation.

When you hear the term "Florida testing" being bandied around, what does it really mean?


Coatings, both powder and liquid, are sent to Florida for outdoor testing for the number of years that the specification requires.

Florida is held up as the gold standard for testing coatings, due to its year round sunshine, which provides year round UV resistance, salt air and humidity.


All of these conditions place a stress on the coating and fade both the color an gloss retention of the paint.


At the end of the testing period the coatings are examined and the color and gloss are measured. They must maintain the color and gloss levels within the levels outlined in the specifications.


Your design becomes reality

The ABC on how architectural extrusions are powder coated 



As the IFS specification team is fond of saying, "we can make the best powder in the world, but if it's not applied properly, it won't perform on the building". Never a truer word has been said.


So how do we ensure that the aluminum extrusions that make up your curtain wall and commercial storefront are coated to world class standards?

ABC Aluminum Solutions, an AAMA 2605 and Qualicoat compliant, award winning aluminum extruder and finisher, headquartered in San Diego, California, welcomed us into their plant just across the Border, just south of Tijuana, Mexico, to check out exactly what happens...


A coating line is made up of several processes: pretreatment, where the aluminum surface is prepared with either a chrome or chrome-free treatment; the powder booth, where the powder is electrostatically sprayed onto the parts; and the ovens, where the powder cures and is hardened onto the part.


There are two types of coating lines - horizontal, where the parts are hung horizontally and vertical, where the parts are hung vertically. Both types of lines offer excellent coating opportunities, with horizontal lines more suited to coating smaller extrusions and parts and vertical lines particularly suited to the larger aluminum parts the curtain wall and storefront markets demand.


ABC Aluminum, as part of a $20million investment plan, recently added a green-field multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art vertical powder coating line, which provides many advantages, including beautifully coated, longer aluminum parts (up to 24 feet in length).  Walking around the plant with Wadih Kuri, President and CEO of ABC Aluminum, it was great to see not only a first class coating line, but also the many advantages they and their clients are receiving from it.


Kuri highlighted a number of informative benefits and advantages during the tour. He explained; "Powder coatings are well documented as a more sustainable coating option, and our commitment to a more sustainable product was at the forefront of our decision to implement the vertical line. What's more, we also benefit from improvements in time and energy efficiency, an added bonus."


ABC's vertical system also takes advantage of modern line design technology, which has created a more efficient pretreatment tunnel, reducing the amount of chemicals required along with energy consumption.


Kuri continues, "We are also benefitting from a fast-cleaning booth, so our employees really reap the advantages in the form of a healthier, safer and more ergonomic working environment. Our customers benefit too as we're able to offer improved cost effectiveness and therefore more competitive pricing, and finer quality of the final product. A definite win-win."


At the end of the process, the new oven system no longer allows parts to swing and touch each other, so powder is not lost from the part, and the number of polluting airborne dust particles that can enter the curing oven and deposit on the profile surface, are significantly reduced. And again, this part of the new system also leads to a significant reduction in energy consumption.


As our visit concluded, Kuri summed up by saying "as we watch the final parts flow through the line, we can't help but feel a real sense of pride in our powder line; and as a partner with IFS Coatings we are providing high quality coated aluminum for projects all across North America. It has also placed us in an ideal position to offer unique, world class extrusion and powder coating services as part of our new architectural business. It's an exciting place to be!"


ABC Aluminum is privately held and has been under present ownership for over 15 years, has in excess of 720 employees, and revenues approaching $100million. The company is a member of the AIA, San Diego Chapter, and the AGC, and has membership pending for AAMA, CSI and GANA. This is in addition to active membership of the Aluminum Extruders Council and the Aluminum Association.



Questions to                                                                           IFS Coatings

Fiona Levin-Smith                                                                  3601 N Interstate 35

flevin@ifscoatings.com                                                          Gainesville, TX 76240

520.345.7513                                                                         www.ifscoatings.com