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Choosing a coating that will deliver desired results requires consideration of the specifics of the setting where it will be applied. In this Q&A, TFM spoke with Joe Kujawski, director of marketing for the Sherwin-Williams Paint Stores Group in North America, about factors to consider in manufacturing plants. Based out of the company’s headquarters in Cleveland, OH, Kujawski holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Old Dominion University and an M.B.A. from Florida Atlantic University.
TFM: What do today’s coatings offer that they didn’t in the past?
Kujawski: In the past, there were only a few coating companies that designed with the environment in mind, but today there is a broad range of coatings available that meet the most stringent VOC regulations and are GREENGUARD GOLD certified. There are even innovative technologies available that you would not expect to find in paint. These include a technology that reduces ambient odors of organic origin and a technology that reduces airborne VOCs such as formaldehyde and other aldehydes. Coatings are also becoming more multifunctional, with the ability to solve numerous facility challenges while delivering long lasting aesthetics.
TFM: What key benefits and features should facility managers seek out when choosing a coating?
Kujawski: First, facility managers should identify and evaluate the type and condition of the surface that will be painted because this will help determine the primer and coating needed. Using the proper primer is key to the success of the project, as there are different primer formulations for steel, concrete, wood, aluminum, and previously painted surfaces.
Time is money in a manufacturing plant, so the second feature to consider is dry time. Choose a product with a dry time that is compatible with plant operations, keeping in mind that an area of the plant or piece of equipment may need to be shut down during the painting process.
The environment in which the paint will be applied should also be assessed in order to establish durability requirements. Select a coating that will withstand environmental conditions, whether the painted surface is a piece of equipment that is frequently handled, or walls that will be exposed to water or high temperatures.
Selecting a coating based only on price is a mistake, as it doesn’t save money in the long run. While the value seems apparent now, more money will likely be spent to repaint more often in the future. Additionally, when paint is chosen based on price alone, the needs and features of the coating are not included in the decision making process and the coating may not be appropriate for the surface. When an inappropriate paint is selected, paint performance may be jeopardized, and the finish could crack, bubble or peel. If this occurs, the incorrect paint will need to be removed and the surface will need to be repainted.
TFM: How do facility managers determine if a conventional or high-performance coating is needed?
Kujawski: The general rule of thumb is that a high-performance, industrial coating should be used if the environment is subject to extreme temperatures, abrasion, or exposure to moisture or chemicals. However, despite that guidance, selecting paint can be a complicated process because of the wide range of product options. Manufacturing facilities have advanced coating needs, and facility managers should consider soliciting insight from a manufacturer owned, specialty paint store to ensure the appropriate coating is chosen and properly applied. These resources have dedicated manufacturer representatives and product specialists who can provide technical assistance and advice on-site.
TFM: How have high-performance coatings evolved over the last decade?
Kujawski: The aesthetic appeal of high-performance coatings has greatly improved over the years. In the past, the coatings left a stippled or rough finish. Today, coatings provide a smooth, elegant finish, worthy of a highly visible setting and comparable to the best latex paints on the market. In addition, high-performance coatings are now available in the full range of sheens and colors, so aesthetics are not compromised for performance.
Application characteristics have also improved over time. In the past, high-performance coatings were thick and often sticky, making them difficult to apply. These coatings had a strong solvent odor and five to six hour dry times. Today’s coatings apply and roll on easily. Waterborne formulas have lower odor compared to previous generations, and dry times have been reduced to 30 to 60 minutes.
TFM: What coatings will help facility managers to reduce repaints?
Kujawski: The key to reducing repaints is to match the performance characteristics of the paint with the environmental conditions for the surface that will be painted. Facility managers will want to consult with a knowledgeable manufacturer representative or product specialist to determine the best coating for their environment.