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National Coil Coating Association

6 Things You May Not Know About Prepainted Metal

CLEVELAND, OHIO – Many service centers are finding increasing numbers of prepainted metal coils arriving in their plants. While it’s widely known that prepainted metal requires different handling and processing than bare metal, the National Coil Coating Association finds there are some commonly held misperceptions about these coils. The NCCA offers these 6 facts about prepainted metal that not everyone may be aware of:


Fact 1: Precoated metal isn’t difficult to handle.


Prepainted coils can be shipped on flatbed trucks, moved using forklifts, stored as coils for long periods -- and still retain a more beautiful and flawless surface than post-painted metal. The coil coating supplier can provide proper packaging including wraps, bands and tape that protect the coils. Padded fork lifts are also used at service centers when moving coated coils. It may be hard for some to believe, but it's true that prepainted metal can be handled successfully, without harming the surface.


Fact 2: Coil coated metal is more durable than post-painted.


In the coil coating process, sheets are uniformly cleaned, pretreated and painted as a flat surface, so the edge-to-edge and side-to-side variability is virtually eliminated. In addition, the prepainted part often has two coats (primer and top coat), and each is tightly bonded to the metal as compared to a post-painted part, which generally has only one coat of paint. In most cases, the prepainted part has paint on the backside as compared to the post-painted part which at best has a minimal amount of overspray. Uniform pretreatment and paint on the backside of a part increases the corrosion resistance of the part, enhancing long-term durability.


Fact 3: Prepainted metal with cut-edge weathers better than post-painted surfaces.

Some manufacturers are concerned with exposed cut-edge on prepainted metal, but field research has shown that prepainted cut-edge actually holds up better over time than post-painted surfaces.

Fact 4: Using prepainted metal actually reduces costs for manufacturers.

Companies are often burdened with adapting their paint shop to changing environmental standards, strict health regulations, and skyrocketing overhead. Businesses are trying to lower costs and remain competitive. Outsourcing the metal treatment and coating operations can alleviate and even eliminate these costs.

Fact 5: Prepainted metal can be formed without any loss in surface quality or appearance.

With the coil coating process, the paint system can be designed to have greater flexibility than the metal and can be shaped with a finish that is actually superior to post-paint. This is because post-painted surfaces often suffer from dirt and oil residue, uneven application and other imperfections. After the metal has been precleaned, preprimed, pretreated, and prepainted with the coil coating process, the metal can then be formed. The paint layer is often more flexible than the underlying metal substrate.

Fact 6: Precoated metal can be joined easily.

Coil coated metal can be joined using either adhesives, a variety of mechanical assemblies with or without fasteners, or even welding -- and still retain a more beautiful and flawless surface than post-painted metal.

Prepainted metals offer many cost savings and quality benefits over in-house painting. Even when joined, formed, cut and handled, coil-coated metals offer superior quality over post-painted alternatives. Manufacturers can get help with analyzing if prepainted metals are right for their products, and can get a free cost comparison form by visiting or call the NCCA at 216-241-7333.




Leslie Schraff


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