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National Coil Coating Association

Advancements in Prepainted Aluminum Offer Manufacturers High-Performance Options

Published: Trailer Body Builders Magazine
September 24, 2014


Everybody wants options today. According to the National Coil Coating Association (NCCA), new advancements in prepainted aluminum are providing truck and trailer body builders with more colors, specialty finishes, and visual effects than ever.


While historical black and white colors are still the most common because of their cost- effectiveness, a whole new array of color choices are gaining ground. “We’re getting requests for lots of bright vivid colors like yellows, oranges and even metallic coatings” said Keith Terry, Dura Coat Coil Development Manager.


Polyesters are gaining interest and Polyester Metallic colors are as well because of their new brilliance and dramatic cosmetic appeal coinciding with the growing business of freight companies marketing their trailers for advertisement. “Metallic finishes are better than ever”; with an enhanced two-coat technology batch to batch consistency and color control, head to tail and coil to coil, is greatly improved. “The two-coat metallic technology truly provides an unlimited color palette,” says Terry.


Color is just one area where choices are expanding in prepainted aluminum. New texture and “texture-like” finishes are offering superior scuff resistance which is required within the trailer market. These finishes actually got their start in public restrooms where they were used on wall panels providing superior abrasion resistance and better clean up. “The texture particles create a distorted surface pattern that disrupts the aluminum from marring, scratching and scuffing,” says Terry.


Lenny Greenhall, Dura Coat Vice President of Sales and Corporate Officer has seen another big change in prepainted aluminum. “Acrylic finishes have dominated the truck/trailer market. They offered a more appealing lay down in the past. But advancements in polyester resins provide enhanced Distinction of Image (DOI), stain resistance and surface tension. Polyesters and acrylics are now used in unison and offer the end customer a wider range of options.”


Prepainted aluminum has many other positive attributes according to Greenhall. “Prepainted aluminum offers better machinability within the fabrication process. It eliminates the historical red rust issues derived from cut and exposed edges. That means better cosmetic longevity throughout the life of the product. Plus with the implementation of a two-coat system using a primer and a top coat, corrosion resistance is better than ever. Corrosion resistance is critical especially in northern regions where snowfall and icing are prominent calling for salt and deicing agents which are “primary contributors” for corrosion.” Longer corrosion-resistance is critical within the market.”


With all these color and finish choices for truck and trailer body manufacturers, it also means coil coaters now have more formulations to track. Coil coaters are capturing ‘product specific’ recipes upon running the interim trials, providing precise parameters on future productions eliminating non-conforming material while also reducing set up times. “When we provide coaters with a new product, “First Production” the first order is considered a trial. They reference historical parameters when setting up the line that accounts for things like substrate, insert gauge, treatment, treatment coating weights, line speed, oven settings, etc. ”Upon achieving the required product specifications listed within the Product Data Sheet and Customer Protocol the process parameters are captured creating a “recipe” , the product recipe is then entered into the system becoming the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for future orders,” says Terry.


Not only is having more precise and repeatable recipes assuring superior color control and consistency, so is today’s advanced clean oven technology. More and more coil coaters are upgrading their processes by including clean oven technology. “This technology reduces foreign contamination and oven fouling. This further protects the integrity of the color. It also helps lessen pollutants,” says Greenhall.


More color options. New advanced finishes. Better performance and application outcomes. Today’s prepainted aluminum is offering truck and trailer body builders a whole new world of high-performance choices. For more ideas on why prepainted aluminum is an excellent option, be sure to visit



Leslie Schraff


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