The Auckland Harbour Bridge is protected by metal coating.

Protection and problem solving with metal coating

Metal is the backbone of many of the industries of New Zealand. From construction and manufacturing to farming, from public infrastructure to skyscrapers, metal builds the world around us and we rely on it every day. Metal is a strong, durable, tough material and metal coatings enhance, protect, and modify the metals we use to improve and perfect them for their particular applications. Everything from the enamel gloss artwork in The Beehive to the protective industrial metal coating that covers the Auckland Harbour Bridge is counted under the category ‘metal coating’. A wide range of coatings and coatings manufacturers are represented across the country.

There is a difference between what are called metal coatings, and what are called metallic coatings. Metal coatings are polymer-based, while metallic coatings are metals applied to metals through methods such as galvanisation, anodising, and plating. In this article we look at the range of metal coatings and how they protect or modify their substrate, as well as the metal coating manufacturers and suppliers in New Zealand.


The advantages provided by metal coatings

As mentioned above, metal coatings protect and modify (and decorate) their metal substrates. The reasons for applying a polymeric coating to a metal include:

  1. Corrosion resistance – Corrosion is one of the greatest threats to metal. By protecting a metal from the atmosphere, water, chemicals, weather exposure, and moisture, coatings also protect it from the substances that cause corrosion.
  2. Chemical resistance – Chemical exposure also causes corrosion in metal substrates. These coatings are chemical resistant, meaning that the metal is completely protected from corrosive elements.
  3. Lubrication/friction reduction – Metals are tough but they also wear and cause friction between moving parts. A coating used as a dry lubricant reduces galling and keeps these surfaces low friction.
  4. Durability – Polymeric coatings give metal extra impact and abrasion resistance, as well as sealing them off from the elements. This provides the metal substrate with extra durability and strength, extending its lifespan.

Protective metal coating types and their applications

Each metal coating type has its own strengths and weaknesses which affect which area they are used for – for example, polyurethanes are particularly UV stable and so many exterior coating applications use polyurethane as a topcoat. Below is a list of the most common metal coating types and their applications:

  • ACRYLIC/ALKYD
    Description: Usually single-component, corrosion resistant coatings with good gloss and colour retention.
    Applications: Direct to metal finish for farm equipment, corrosion protection, handrails, steels tanks, OEM coatings.
  • CERAMIC
    Description: Extreme temperature resistant and low friction coating with abrasion and chemical resistance
    Applications: Corrosion and thermal protection coating for pipelines and machinery, coatings for bearing surfaces and mechanical parts
  • EPOXY
    Description: A durable, chemical and water resistant, abrasion resistant coating. Commonly used as primers.
    Applications: Tank and pipeline protection, anti-corrosion protection, automotive paint, architectural hygiene coatings, marine coatings
  • FLUOROPOLYMER
    Description: The non-stick coating, low friction and temperature, chemical, and water resistant
    Applications: Coatings for cookware and food processing machinery, medical devices, electronics and corrosion protection
  • POLYURETHANE
    Description: A durable, UV stable, chemical and water resistant coating with an attractive high-gloss finish
    Applications: Tank protection, anti-corrosion protection, automotive clear coats, architectural coating
  • POWDER
    Description: Abrasion, chemical, water resistant coating with an attractive range of finishes
    Applications: Corrosion protection, appliance coating, architectural coating, pipeline protection, automotive coating

Industrial metal coating manufacturers and suppliers in New Zealand

When it comes to metal coating, New Zealand has a wide range of protective metal coating manufacturers and suppliers who sell their products on our shores. International companies like AkzoNobel have their Interpon powder coating range available for steel, aluminium, and other metals, while companies like Dulux have a vast Protective ad Industrial Coatings range (including the Crystal Clear, Fluoroset, and Duratec powder coating) that covers everything from Auckland’s Eden Park to the Queenstown Skyline Gondola. Resene and Altex also produce industrial and protective paint lines.

If you have a project that requires protective metal coating and would like to be connected with our coating partners, get in touch! Our experts are here to help. Simply use the “Request a Quote” button beneath this article and use our contact form to tell us about your project. We then collaborate with our coating partners to connect you to the best coating and company for your needs.

Beyond corrosion – the other metal coating properties

Though the biggest sector in metal coating is corrosion protection, there are polymer coatings used for other purposes too. These include:

  • Fire protection – Metals may not burn easily, but fire does cause them to lose strength. Intumescent fire protection coatings insulate and protect infrastructure from this.
  • Anti slip – Metal is a slippery surface material, and in areas where a slip could cause serious damage, such as stairs, boat decks, or warehouses, metal coatings are used to give the metal non slip properties.
  • High temperature protection – Some metal coatings (like industrial ceramic coating) protect the metal from heat as well as being low friction.

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