We've Got You Covered

Leave a comment

What is a Coil Coating Print?

Coil-coated prints are the buzzworthy shortcuts of sophisticated metal product design. From delicate veining to enchanting shimmer, this coating technique takes color and effects to new heights and depths.

We live in a colorful world filled with pattern, texture, sheen, and shimmer; with architecture and design at the forefront of social media, television, and magazines, visual inspiration is everywhere. Innovations in coil coatings have made it possible to attain almost any aesthetic on prepainted metal. Woodgrain? No problem. Brick? It’s been done. Marble? Yep, it’s viable too! Thanks to the process of coil-coated printing, all of these designs are possible.

The Look

Coil-coated printing involves layered inking to create a distinctive pattern or design, such as stone, patina, brushed metal — the list goes on. Commonly used for wall panels, roofing, and garage doors, coil-coated prints are most famously known for their building and architectural applications, but they’re also used for appliances and specialty applications like entry doors, pool liners, and metal storage shacks. As a popular alternative to substrates such as wood, stone, and natural metals, they can achieve a combination of desired aesthetics and exceptional durability.

Let’s dive into some of the most popular looks:

  • Wood: Woodgrain finishes have seen increasing demand for some time, and you will find them on any number of building components and office products, such as wall panels, soffit panels, entry doors, file cabinets, and more.
  • Rusted Metal: What if a barn was made out of high-performance metal roofing and siding products printed to appear rusty and old but actually weren’t? Get the charm of a weathered finish on your installation; available from a number of manufacturers.
  • Custom Patterns: Brushed metal, accent stripes, and other “wallpaper” patterns are available if you’re looking for a unique print. These can be custom-engineered to fit the exceptional profiles of the many custom metal cladding products serving the architectural community.

The coatings (or “ink”) used to produce the patterns are engineered for weathering and longevity, enabling coil-coated prints to maintain their visual appeal and structural integrity for years. Additionally, prepainted metal, depending on the substrate and gauge, can be lightweight, easy to handle, and can be roll-formed into a variety of shapes and sizes, which makes it an ideal construction material in situations where stone or brick may not be suitable. These are a few of the reasons why product manufacturers and specifiers may prefer the use of metal products over real wood or stone.

Another reason is cost, as metal can often be a more affordable option than other substrates.

The Process

The first steps of the coating process involve applying a base coat followed by subsequent ink coats that stamp or engrave the chosen design. There are two primary methods of coil-coated print application: rotogravure and flexographic. Rotogravure (or gravure for short) printing uses a rotary printing press, applying ink directly to the coil using a metal plate and printing cylinder that rotates in an ink pan. Flexographic printing uses an engraved elastomer image carrier to transfer ink from a printing plate onto a substrate. Both methods use various combinations of a base coat, ink(s), and top or clear coats. While these techniques are engineered to achieve coil-coated prints, choosing the right application method largely depends on the individual project, substrate, end use, weatherability, and a variety of other factors.

The process of developing a specific pattern or design for coil-coated prints varies. In some cases, product manufacturers design the pattern or scheme internally and then work with a stamping or rolling company to create the actual printed roller for the inking process. In other instances, manufacturers can be inspired by coil coating suppliers or product manufacturers who often work directly with the coater to create their own designs.

On the Rise

The benefits of prepainted metal span from environmental advantages to economic efficiencies, making it the substrate of choice for numerous applications and products. While manufacturers seek its performance, durability, and affordability; architects, engineers, and consumers — the parties who create the demand for prepainted products — find its aesthetic benefits to be undeniable.

As demand for coil-coated prints rises, we can expect the arrival of more exciting and unique print technologies to provide aesthetic solutions for all markets. With endless color and print combinations available, there are seemingly limitless creative solutions for any project.

For applications where a solid color just won’t do, consider using a coil-coated print. To learn more about coil-coated prints, contact your coil coater or coil coatings supplier.

Leave a comment

Pine straw build-up on prepainted metal roofing

Pine trees are ubiquitous in the U.S. They are fast-growing, adaptable to many climates, and mark the Christmas season with their beauty and the smell of pine. But there is an aggressive streak that lies within!

An issue, prevalent in but not limited to the U.S. Pacific Northwest, is the accumulation of pine needles (also called “pine straw”) on prepainted metal roofing. Although metal roofing is better than asphalt shingles when it comes to shedding leaves, twigs, pine straw, and other debris, there will be occasions when build-up occurs. See an example below:

Source: Steelscape
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Prepainted Metal Coatings: Aesthetic and Functional Properties

Prepainted metal not only offers an impeccable finish and endless color and design options, but it also offers an abundance of functional properties. Coil coated metal can be made weatherproof, corrosion resistant, UV resistant, antibacterial, and even smog-eating. It’s more than just steel or aluminum coated with paint. It is the result of multiple layers of state-of-the-art coatings chemistry plus an application process that provides durability and unique properties not possible with traditional coating methods. The following are some of the key properties of prepainted metal:

Continue reading

Leave a comment

My Plant Has a Paint Line. Is There a Better Solution?

Telltale Signs You Need to Consider Prepainted Metal

If you are a manufacturer who post-paints articles in-house, you may be wondering if there’s a better way to get the painting job done. If you are reading this as a member of the coil coating industry, and you will surely encounter manufacturers that are post-painting, for whom you wish to introduce the concept of prepainted metal, this article is also for you. Read on to learn why.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Three Reasons Why Coil Lines Are Not Just for Painting

Manufacturers have long benefitted from the speed, precision, and non-polluting aspects of using coil coating lines to make prepainted metal panels. Some manufacturers, however, utilize a coil coater’s capability beyond the painting process. Here are three ways manufacturers benefit from using coil lines as an effective first-step operation beyond prepainting.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Color Evaluation in the Coil Coating Industry

Quantifying the color of an object, and then measuring color difference between the object’s color and a color standard, is an important factor in assuring color consistency and acceptance. Assembling parts from various lots and production runs requires that parts have minimal—or no—color difference, so a typical observer sees nothing objectionable.

Typically, a color instrument will deliver color values represented by three color coordinates:

  • “L” value, which describes the lightness or darkness of a sample
  • “a” value, which describes the redness or greenness of a sample
  • “b” value, which describes the yellowness or blueness of a sample
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Prepainted Metal: Today’s Innovations Bring Beautiful Advantages

The old saying, “As exciting as watching paint dry” could not be further from the truth when it comes to coil coatings. First, the paint that is applied to a metal coil during the coil coating process dries (bakes, really) in just 15 to 30 seconds. A lot takes place in that short period of time: 1) the solvents evaporate (they are captured and destroyed in this environmentally friendly process), 2) the coating flows to produce a smooth surface, and 3) a chemical reaction takes place to create a cured, hard, scratch-resistant yet flexible coating. To the chemists who create this magic, it’s exciting stuff, but it’s difficult for the consumer to appreciate since the process takes place in a factory setting. What consumers can appreciate is what they see when the product reaches the marketplace. So … let’s see what’s innovative these days!

First, let’s talk about beetles. Yes, beetles. Especially the ones that have that cool iridescence. They create that effect by … well, it’s complicated!

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Can’t Take the Heat? “Cool Walls” Can Reduce Energy Costs, Pollution

A nationwide study by Berkeley Lab details benefits of lighter-colored, solar-reflective walls

As you likely know, NCCA members and their customers along the prepainted metal value chain have been supporters of “cool roofs” for 20 years. Without question, this technology effectively reduces energy consumption during the hot months of the year. So, what’s next?

“Cool walls”! Wait, what? Cool walls? Cool-roof technology is intuitive; roofs face the sun, but walls are vertical structures. How much solar energy can they possibly be exposed to? Well, you’ve come to the right place to find the answer.[i]

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Busting Coil Coating Myths: The Five Misconceptions About Prepainted Metals

If you are a manufacturer or designer, there are five common myths about coil coating or prepainted metal you might have heard. We’re going to bust those myths one by one and show you why prepainted metals are your best choice. Here are the facts.

Myth 1: Prepainted metal is expensive.

The truth is, utilizing prepainted metal saves you money by eliminating the costs associated with an in-house paint shop. When you post-paint, you have the added expense of labor, materials, scrap, and inventory. Plus, there are numerous costs (and headaches) when you’re dealing with EPA and OSHA compliance. It can cost big bucks to make sure you’re properly handling waste, emissions, and cleanups. In addition, storing paint in your facility can cost you in higher insurance premiums. To determine whether prepaint is for you, download the cost analysis form under Education on the NCCA website.

Continue reading