Greco's Powder Coating

Greco is certified with the industry's top powder coat manufacturers: PPG, Tiger, TCI and Protech Group. Greco has been providing its own powder coated finishes on its aluminum railing products for over 20 years, providing tough, durable, weather and face resistant finishes.

As a Certified Applicator for the major powder paint manufacturers, Greco participates in an on-going auditing, training, and development programs that encompasses all aspects of the coatings process. Greco controls all processes in house with its own state-of-the-art powder coat facility. Powder inventories are maintained in environmentally controlled storage areas and meticulous records are kept on each batch consisting of chemical levels in the pretreatment, to oven temperatures, final coating thickness measurements and adhesion tests.

The explosion of green construction practices and globalization have increased the demand for powder coatings as a viable metal coatings option. Greco is certified with the industry's top powder coat manufacturers: PPG, Tiger, TCI and Protect Group. Greco's powder coated finishes also provide a highly decorative and functional finishes for almost any application, offering the highest performance characteristics and project suitability.

One of the typical frustrations associated with architectural coatings is color consistency. This problem, common enough in the past, is even more prevalent now, with the boon in metallic and mica finishes used to contemporary structures even more unique and aesthetically appealing.

Greco’s Color Management Program is designed to address color consistency problems in two ways.
1) Greco ensures that that the colors, glasses and sheens applied to architectural railings match the colors specified
2) Greco coordinates the coating colors, glasses and sheens of different building components with those of the railing system to insure that they are aesthetically pleasing when they are installed on the building. Greco uses nothing less than powder coat materials that meet or exceed AAMA 2604 performance specifications.

For architects, specifiers, consultants and building owners, the only protection from potential liabilities is a strong, enforceable warranty backed by a world-class coatings manufacturer and delivered through a trusted (“Certified”) applicator. Coating architectural components made of aluminum requires not just an excellent coating, but expert application in a certified factory and proper handling during the installation on the job site. At any point, from the time the metal is pretreated and coated to the time it is actually installed on a building, there are numerous variables that must be carefully prepared for and controlled to ensure the coating will achieve its expected service life.

Coating warranties are designed to protect building owners, architects and specifiers from failures, which can cost millions of dollars. Because there are many companies involved in the coatings supply chain, conflicts or confusion can arise about which supplier is backing a warranty, what constitutes a coatings failure and who ultimately is responsible, especially if the failure occurs five, seven, or ten years after a building is complete. For this reason, understanding and selecting the right supplier, applicator and warranty is critical to a project’s success.
1) Pretreatment: Select a coating system that incorporates traditional, field-proven, pretreatments that have demonstrated superior performance for long-term exposure to salt air and humidity.

2) Film Integrity: The powder coat process must resist cracking and peeling which is the function of selecting the proper pretreatment process. Hardness of the powder finish is the utmost importance when specifying an AAMA performace criteria. That is why Greco strongly suggests an AAMA 2604 powder finish as it provides superior surface hardness to the endurance and longevity of the railing final finish.

3) Weathering: The warranty should address three major weathering performance variables that are key indicators for long-term performance: color fade, chalk, and gloss retention. Comparative testing and measurement standards for fade, chalk and glass retention are published in the AAMA 2604-05 and 2605-05 voluntary specifications.

4) Corrosion Resistance: The two main components to corrosion resistance are resistance to humidity and salt spray. For the best protection, specifiers should work with a coatings supplier that offers corrosion resistance in seacoast environments as part of its long term warranty. Please note that in addition to seacoast environments, warranties for corrosion resistance may also be limited by a coating’s proximity to steel plants, power stations, oil refineries, chemical plants, paper mills and other industrial environments where potential for exposure to environmental hazards is high. Corrosion resistance warranties should maintain coverage in these situations as well.

5) Other Miscellaneous Issues: Additional warranty items may relate to cleaning or maintenance requirements, exposure, temperatures, and others. Parameters should define the building owner’s maintenance obligations and other potential exclusions. A specification qualification with detailed weather exposure data from the warranty issuer is recommended.
Metal coatings have come a long way. Not only have their protective and environmental qualities improved in recent years, so have the range of colors and effects. These new innovations and technologies provide architects an extraordinary palate of decorative colors, glosses and sheens for commercial applications. These developments on a whole are very positive, however they have increased the need for more vigilant color matching and quality control measures on the part of the coating applicator and their customers. As the number of coatings, glosses and sheens have expanded, so have the opportunities for color variation.

The new generation of powder coatings, incorporating natural materials, such as metallic and micas, have helped contemporary architects create some truly extraordinary buildings. Unfortunately, coordinating coatings across numerous building components can present difficulties that prevent architects from achieving their intended vision.
In most instances, the differences between the architect’s original vision and the finished coatings in a building are minimal. In extreme cases however, a number of small variations throughout the coatings process…from concept to finished product…can accumulate. This produces noticeable and unacceptable color differences among coated building components. These problems can often be traced directly to the original color specification. To minimize color-matching problems at the specification stage, architects should remember the following:

1) Color chosen for a particular project are usually selected from a collection of printed chips or small samples; then viewed in lighting conditions different from those in the field. To achieve the truest match, color samples should be viewed in the environment of the coating’s finished setting.

2) Time of day and time of year can also affect the appearance of individual colors. Natural light is neither uniform nor constant, and its characteristics will also vary according to atmospheric conditions.

3) The height, angle or distance from a light source can also alter the appearance of a color. So can its surrounding environment. The color on a building surrounded by trees will look different next to an open landscape, an interstate highway or another collection of buildings.

4) This is also true of certain solid colors, micas and metallic, which can reflect different appearances according to the surrounding light and the orientation of individual flakes.

5) Finally, consider the glass and the surface character of the sample chip itself. One coating manufacturer may provide coating samples on different substrate materials. To ensure the truest color representation, insist that the color samples be coated on the actual substrate from which the extrusions will be manufactured.
Profiles are extruded metal components used to frame the railing system. They contain intricate details, including angles, edges, grooves, recessed areas and other contours that make paint coverage difficult. Since paint thicknesses vary on the components, color consistency will, too. Metal thickness on profiles presents another challenge for coating applicators. For a coating to cure properly, the metal underneath it must reach a minimum temperature. In places where the metal is thicker, it takes longer for the metal to reach the prescribed temperature. When that happens, pigments are exposed to heat linger. This can cause the coatings, to “burn” or “discolor”, a problem more commonly found with white or light colored coatings.
Coatings are formulated using a variety of base resins and pigments. When coatings are mixed, subtle differences in color can be exposed as different light sources are introduced. Additionally, paint chemistries can also change according to the performance specifications required for the coatings. The same pigment deposited in a Kynar formulation will usually produce a color that looks different from the pigment in an acrylic coating.

For this reason, it is essential that architects and contractors communicate to their coating manufacturer(s) all performance specifications related to the project. If more than one performance specification is required, colors must be matched in each resin chemistry prior to application.

In most instances, the primary failure to get a compatible color match is primarily “directionality.” This effect can be greatly exaggerated in panels and extrusion profiles coated with micas and metallicas. The pigments and the flakes on a given panel (or collection of panels) will lay in different directions. If these panels are laid “opposite to the grain,” the color will always appear incongruent between various panels, and extrusion profiles.