Will your products stand the test of Extreme Weather Conditions?

Extreme Weather

With global warming on the rise, extreme weather conditions are becoming more frequent. Just this week, a deadly heatwave struck Europe and the temperature was as high as 45 degree Celsius in some regions. We all know this is going to be damaging to your outdoor applications, but what more can you do?

When it comes to assessing product durability, extreme weathering tests are essential as a tool for evaluation. Particularly for outdoor applications, extreme weather conditions have detrimental impact on the mechanical properties of the coatings. As such, to be identified as a high-performance coating, it has to go through harsh weather conditions. However, there are often challenges faced while trying to mimic the same aggressive outdoor conditions for weathering tests.

Decoral America

Decoral America is the Florida-based subsidiary of Decoral, an Italian company that manufactures “decorative coating systems”.  Their technology is based on a sublimation process to deposit decorative finishes on a wide variety of materials. They sell “turn-key” systems that perform the complete process and also supply the full line of consumables. Their customers are OEM’s, fabricators, designers and architects who want a cost-effective ways to provide the appearance of wood, marble, and stone. Decoral technologies are used to create finishes for both indoor and outdoor applications. Their outdoor applications include both horizontal and vertical surfaces, in all climates and levels of sun exposure.

Decoral had an interest in having its product classified as a “High Performance Material” from the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), in order to open up new business opportunities. To do so, they performed a number of tests, which included an aggressive outdoor weathering test. They chose Q-Lab’s Florida outdoor testing services to evaluate the performance of their coatings in the bright, hot, humid South Florida conditions.

Why Q-Lab?

Q-Lab Corporation is a global provider of material durability testing products since 1956. They design and manufacture standard test substrates as well as weathering, light stability, and corrosion testers. Contract test services which include accelerated laboratory testing are available at Q-Lab Florida, Q-Lab Arizona, and Q-Lab Deutschland. Outdoor exposure testing for weathering, lightfastness, and corrosion are available at Q-Lab Florida and Q-Lab Arizona.

Decoral has been running the Qualicoat test standard in their Q-SUN xenon arc tester, so they were familiar with the quality of Q-Lab products.  They believed that they would get the same level of quality from Q-Lab testing services.

Testing Description and Results

Decoral commissioned a five-year outdoor study, direct inland in Q-Lab’s Homestead, FL facility.  The study used a south-facing 45° exposure to meet the requirements of AAMA 2604. They exposed 12 metal panels that they had coated with their wood-grain finish – their number-one product. Q-Lab performed color, gloss, and visual evaluations (dirt, mildew, chalk, erosion) in accordance with the test.  Zero failures were observed during the test period and very little fading, discoloration, and gloss loss were experienced. Decoral is touting these as “outstanding long-term results”.

Time and wood texture

Benefits of Testing

By meeting the requirements of AAMA 2604, Decoral’s coatings are now considered “High Performance Organic Coatings for Aluminum Extrusions or Panels” by AAMA. Decoral sent out an e-mail blast highlighting their testing work (with a link to Q-Lab’s test report) to inform their customers. Enrico Piva, President of Decoral System USA, explained that projects requiring this kind of coatings from AAMA can now utilize Decoral products, opening up significant opportunities to sell their coatings. He added that “We had a great experience with Q-Lab and we value their professionalism and technical expertise. We are currently working with them to obtain our 10-year test standard, which will further increase our business”.

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