Coloured foils and finishes are now a standard offering to end users who are looking beyond the classic white of PVCu. An increasing range of options are available, combining colour and texture for the ultimate in personalisation and style. Or is it?
Specifying colours and textures brings extra complexity to procurement, material handling, production and fulfilment. Inventories and lead-times increase to accommodate extra processes and transit time, whilst order control becomes ever more difficult. There are further risks of damage or processing errors to complicate matters and increase costs. And all the while, the range of colours available is expanding but finite, limited by the practicalities and economics of demand and supply, not truly matching customer needs for colour choice and product quality with fast delivery times.
Some fabricators have found ways to offer more colour options and production flexibility, using spray painting processes that can batch produce different colours, relatively quickly and easily. But spraying can create finish problems like running and bubbling, inconsistent coverage, across a panel or length of profile, and overspray onto gaskets and other components that don’t need painting. The look and feel of the final finish may not be ideal.
Innovators Whiteline have now adopted a brand new precision colour coating process that offers a complete spectrum of durable, consistent colours and metallic finishes for their full PVCu product range. Customers can specify any colour they choose, by a RAL number or pantone or an exact match to their own sample, perhaps to a piece of metal, ceramic, leather or fabric. Colour choices are infinite, unrestricted by stock ranges, whilst the system coats plain PVCu and foiled textures alike, to offer further tailored options for the ultimate bespoke windows. The colour coating, with a hard topcoat applied as standard, is consistent in coverage and thickness, molecularly bonding to the substrate for the ultimate in protection, durability and longevity. The resultant finish shows its true colour in all lights, with a rich, smooth look and the feel of real quality.
This coating technology is delivered by a unique, laser-aligned machine. A Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) drives servo controllers that synchronise the accurate positioning and movement of the item being coated and six independent coating heads, all at a constant 70mm from the surface. They deliver the single coat in one pass, with minimum variability (to an accuracy of +/- 0.1%), achieving the ultimate in machine consistency, replicability and quality of the finish.
The results are spectacular. Two premium new home developments in the Home Counties were the first properties able to specify the new coating system for their full suites of windows and doors. The standard components were available straight off the shelf. The colours chosen were previously unavailable on the market, but bespoke matching to a colour reference was achieved and applied, accurately and effectively, without extra lead time and delay, before transport to the sites. The fitted windows have the great look and feel of high quality painted joinery, achieved quickly and affordably, much to the delight of the end-consumer. For Whiteline and its customers the coating solution delivers simplicity and bespoke choice, to replace complexity and limited options as a consequence the future is looking very colourful.