How does a salt spray chamber help me sleep better? For years, we have been paranoid of a poor powder-coat job, which could result in an unhappy client and that would leave us with a poor reputation. Now, we have built a salt spray chamber, we can accelerate and monitor finish longevity and I can sleep better, knowing that we have the best chance at a finish that can withstand the elements for decades.
Over the years, I have seen it all. Rust stains on a beautiful terrace, chalky white substance on aluminum railings on an otherwise exquisite shore home. We have provided consultation to many, many projects where the client, builder, or architect had beautiful Iron or solid aluminum gates, fences or railings but were exasperated with the finish.
They want the classic and elegant look of Iron, the integrity, safety andrigidity it provides, yet do not want any of the maintenance, which, with the correct procedure or pretreatment and powder-coat is entirely possible. Plus, the process is eco-friendly, and sustainable as it releases no harmful VOC’s into the atmosphere and the waste is 99% reclaimable.
We had send various processes to a lab to have them tested to ASTM B-117 specifications. Our main pretreatment and powder-coat process passed with flying colors! We were thrilled! But, we wanted to take it a step further to continuously test every significant project that we did to make sure there was no human error involved. Also to be able to continuously develop better processes, but also to allow us to actually test different materials before creating a project to give us the assurance that what we are providing will make for a happy client.
We did a lot of research and replicated the ASTM b-117 platform and added further measures to make the test more stringent. We added temperature variation, and UV exposure, we utilized special atomizing nozzles to keep all parts covered with a fine mist, ocean water salinity is between 3.5% and 3.8% density by weight, we keep ours at a consistent 5% salinity by weight.
At this point we have over 20 different pieces undergoing this brutal testing. The primary focus being variations of the pretreatment and powder-coat process that we use for our solid aluminum gates, fences and railings. Then we are also testing different alloys of aluminum castings as well as the different weatherability of black Iron castings versus ductile iron castings. Another material is Cor-Ten or Weathering Steel.
Online sources equated 100 hrs of chamber to equate to 1 year of actual beach life. We feel that is too lenient and will equate 200 hrs to each year of actual beach life. So, at 200 hours we should have a great perspective of a projects resilience a year after installation. We are now at 1,000 hours, which on our stringent scale would mean 5 years after shore installation, and are thrilled with the results thus far. Some pieces with less intense processes are starting to show failure, but our main process is doing extremely well. This really reduces my anxiety, knowing we are providing a great finish that can provide decades of enjoyment and beauty which lets me get a better nights sleep!